Thursday, August 28, 2008

August 27, 2008, Rat Meat In Demand

PHNOM PENH - The price of rat meat has increased in Cambodia this year as increased costs has put other meat beyond the reach of poor people.

With consumer price inflation at 37 percent according to the latest central bank estimate, demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat up to around $1.28.

Spicy field rat dishes with garlic thrown in have become particularly popular at a time when beef costs are high.

Officials said rats were fleeing to higher ground from flooded areas of the lower Mekong Delta, making it easier for villagers to catch them.

"Many children are happy making some money from selling the animals to the markets, but they keep some for their family," Ly Marong, an agriculture official said.

"Not only are our poor eating it, but there is also demand from Vietnamese living on the border with us."

He estimated that Cambodia supplied more than a tonne of live rats a day to Vietnam.

Rats are also eaten in Thailand, while a state government in eastern India this month encouraged its people to eat rats in an effort to battle soaring food prices and save grain stocks.

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