Agri­cul­ture dep’t says strict bird flu quar­an­tine hurt poul­try in­dus­try

Business World - - AGRIBUSINESS - Jan­ina C. Lim

THE Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) said it will re­lax its avian in­fluenza quar­an­tine rules, not­ing that the pro­to­cols it ad­min­is­tered dur­ing the Au­gust out­break pulled down the poul­try in­dus­try.

“The cull within a onek­ilo­me­ter ra­dius and the sev­enkilo­me­ter ra­dius on re­stricted move­ment of birds had an ad­verse ef­fect on the farm­ers in the af­fected ar­eas,” Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel F. Piñol told re­porters on Wed­nes­day.

Ear­lier this month the DA eased trans­port re­stric­tions by lift­ing the ban on move­ment within the seven-kilo­me­ter con­trol zone.

Mean­while, the in­dus­try may have to wait for two more months for the lift­ing of the one-kilo­me­ter quar­an­tine zone and re­store the mar­ket to pre-out­break con­di­tions.

Mr. Piñol said the DA will ob­serve to its stan­dard pro­ce­dure of wait­ing 90 days in the case of avian in­fluenza out­breaks be­fore lift­ing all re­stric­tions.

Mr. Piñol has said he now ex­pects out­put of the poul­try sub­sec­tor, which rose in the sec­ond quar­ter, to con­tract in the third quar­ter as news of the out­break dis­cour­aged con­sumers from pur­chas­ing poul­try prod­ucts.

The for­mal amend­ment of the avian in­fluenza pro­to­cols is ex­pected to be fi­nal­ized af­ter a work­shop to be held also this month.

The work­shop will in­volve stake­hold­ers and other agen­cies such as the De­part­ments of In­te­rior and Lo­cal Govern­ment, Health and Trade and In­dus­try, among oth­ers.

“I will have to de­fer to de­ci­sion of stake­hold­ers and biose­cu­rity ex­perts hin­tayin re­sulta. My role is to be the im­pele­men­tor of the biose­cu­rity mea­sures,” Mr. Piñol added.

The of­fi­cial said the agency is look­ing at Euro­pean mod­els, which call for the culling of birds only in the af­fected farm.

The South Korean prac­tice of a 500-me­ter quar­an­tine zone is also be­ing stud­ied.—

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