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Bird flu ram­pages through Africa

Africa alert for bird flu

With Cameroon the lat­est coun­try to de­tect the highly path­o­genic H5N1 strain of bird flu, other states in west and cen­tral Africa are on high alert as the virus con­tin­ues to spread across the re­gion.

With Nige­ria, Niger, Burk­ina Faso, Ghana and the Ivory Coast re­ported to have de­tected the deadly strain, the Cen­tral African Repub­lic, Equa­to­rial Guinea, the Repub­lic of Congo and Chad have all ex­pressed con­cern over the wel­fare of their flocks.

"H5N1 causes ma­jor losses of nu­tri­tious food and threat­ens farm­ers' liveli­hoods, par­tic­u­larly in re­source-poor en­vi­ron­ments where gov­ern­ments have dif­fi­culty pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion for losses," said Abebe Haile Gabriel of the FAO. "Trade re­stric­tions of­ten pose an ad­di­tional hard­ship on al­ready strug­gling economies."

MHP eyes in­ter­na­tional mar­ket

MHP has part­nered with com­pa­nies in the Nether­lands and abroad in or­der to bet­ter sup­ply its in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers. The Ukrainian com­pany, which is the equiv­a­lent of 70% of the en­tire Dutch poultry meat in­dus­try’s turnover last year, is co-fi­nanced by Dutch and Euro­pean banks.→

MHP, which pro­duces well be­low Western Euro­pean cost prices, is the Ukraine’s largest poultry meat pro­ducer. Its poultry meat pro­duc­tion is al­most fully in­te­grated, with grain pro­duced on agri­cul­tural land the com­pany has ac­quired over the years. The poultry farm branch of the com­pany con­sists of hatch­eries, par­ent stock and poultry grow­ing farms, abat­toirs and pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

The lat­est op­er­a­tion is the largest poultry farm in Europe with 12 zones of 32 poultry houses, each of which can hold at least 50,000 broil­ers.

Bird flu threat­ens neigh­bours

Iraq's in­abil­ity to deal with cause of the H5 bird flu strain spread­ing through the coun­try's poultry flocks poses a se­ri­ous threat to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. Eleven farms were ear­lier re­ported as be­ing hit with an out­break that killed more than 500,000 birds, with more than 2,3-mil­lion culled to try pre­vent the dis­ease from spread­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Hi­lal Mo­hammed of the UN'S Food and Agri­cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (FAO), Iraq's fail­ure to im­ple­ment biose­cu­rity mea­sures, to­gether with a lack of con­trols at the coun­try's bor­ders, in­di­cates a "chronic prob­lem" that is likely to pro­lif­er­ate.

"Steps taken by the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture af­ter the de­tec­tion of H5 is culling the birds and the clo­sure of poultry farms with­out ad­dress­ing the real cause of the dis­ease," he said.

New pro­cess­ing plant for Poland

As part of a long term strat­egy to in­crease its poultry meat pro­cess­ing, Poland's Wi­pasz plans to build a new meat pro­cess­ing plant which will ex­pand its pro­cess­ing ca­pac­ity to around 440 tonnes a day. The cost of the ex­pan­sion is es­ti­mated to be more than Euro 45 mil­lion.

"Given our cus­tomers' de­mands for poultry meat and the of­fers we have been re­ceiv­ing, we de­cided to in­vest in set­ting up an­other fa­cil­ity to dou­ble the plant's pro­cess­ing ca­pac­ity," said Sla­womir Kawalec, Wi­pasz deputy pres­i­dent. "The new fa­cil­ity will process poultry meat sup­plied by breed­ers from Poland’s south­ern part."

Meat prices rise

The UN Food and Agri­cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion's Meat In­dex has recorded a third con­sec­u­tive month of ris­ing prices, con­tin­u­ing a trend that be­gan in April this year. Strong sales of poultry from Brazil to Ja­pan and Saudi Ara­bia have been ac­com­pa­nied by lim­ited ex­pan­sion in pro­duc­tion due to drought in some places in the world and dis­ease out­breaks in oth­ers.

"For 2016, meat pro­duc­tion is ex­pected to stag­nate, ris­ing by only 0.3% to reach 320.7 mil­lion tonnes," said Michael Griffin, FAO meat and live­stock ad­vi­sor.

Less corn for Brazil­ian poultry

Alim­ited sup­ply of corn is push­ing up do­mes­tic prices of poultry in Brazil as lo­cal grow­ers cap­i­talise on a de­val­ued Real to ex­port pro­duc­tion. As a re­sult, this sig­nif­i­cantly lower than an­tic­i­pated sup­ply of corn con­tin­ues to drive up do­mes­tic corn prices, prompt­ing buy­ers to turn to for­eign im­ports with poultry pro­duc­ers bat­tling to main­tain oper­a­tions.

This rep­re­sents a mas­sive hur­dle for lo­cal poultry pro­duc­ers given that feed ac­counts for ap­prox­i­mately 70% of in­put costs. De­spite an ini­tial in­crease in poultry pro­duc­tion at the be­gin­ning of the year, to­tal chicken out­put in Brazil has fallen by 10% over the last 3 months.¡

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