Poultry and fish price hikes follow foot-and-mouth disease epidemic

The current rise in poultry prices is due to the prevalence of infectious bronchitis (IB) in birds, which is killing over 750,000 a day, say government officials.

Mohamed al-Shafei, the vice chairman of the Federation of Poultry Producers, said the slight rise in poultry prices can be blamed on “increased demand for poultry after the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in various governorates, increased costs of poultry feed, and over LE8 million in losses incurred by the poultry sector after it failed to bring the bird flu and IB virus under control.

The General Authority for Veterinary Services has “failed” to produce anti-IB vaccines despite repeated promises to do so since the new viral strain was diagnosed in March 2011, he said.

Shafei called on authorities to immediately import — at producers’ expense — the vaccines necessary to protect Egypt’s poultry population under the supervision of the veterinary authority.

Mohamed Fathy Osman, chairman of the General Authority for Fish Resources Development, said the current fish production rates have helped temper the increase in meat prices, a result of the foot-in-mouth outbreak. He added that increased market supplies of fish have helped keep per kilo tilapia prices at LE12, although traders have unjustifiably tried to raise fish prices.

He told Al-Masry Al-Youm that while fish prices have gone up slightly, fish production has increased as well. He explained that Egypt's total production of fish in 2012 has so far amounted to 1.3 million tons, up 100,000 tons from last year.

Official sources at the Agriculture Ministry said the fasting period currently being observed by Copts, which is expected to continue until 14 April, has helped keep meat prices down.

Dr. Suhair Hassan, head of the Central Department for Preventive Medicine, said the number of cattle infected with foot-and-mouth disease from 26 February to 20 March has now reached 46,000.

She told Al-Masry Al-Youm that 6,071 animals have died from the disease and Gharbiya Governorate was hit the hardest, followed by Daqahlia Governorate.

Meanwhile, the government has instructed all concerned ministries and governorates to prevent the transfer of animals between governorates to help curb the spread of foot-and-mouth.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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