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Egg supply tightens in Poland as EU bird flu crisis hits industry By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A employee types eggs at a rooster farm in Brudnice

By Sybille de La Hamaide and Agnieszka Barteczko

PARIS (Reuters) – Avian influenza in Europe is now approaching ranges final seen in 2016 with egg supply shrinking in Poland, one of many hardest hit international locations as a result of lack of laying hens, in an indication that the virus is beginning to pressure the poultry industry.

The illness, generally known as bird flu, has been discovered in a number of European international locations, decimating flocks with bruising losses for farmers already hit onerous by Covid-19.

Asia can also be experiencing outbreaks of the identical extremely pathogenic H5N8 pressure as the livestock sector additionally reels from the lethal African Swine Fever epidemic.

Russia mentioned over the weekend it has registered the primary case of A(H5N8) bird flu being handed to people from birds in seven staff at a poultry plant, elevating concern that the virus may mutate right into a human-to-human illness.

The illness tends to begin in autumn, carried by migrating wild birds on their means from Asia to Europe.

“The number of outbreaks has surged even more than in difficult years,” Monique Eloit, head of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), advised Reuters.

Around 5 million birds have already been culled in Poland, the European Union’s largest poultry producer, knowledge from the native chief veterinary inspectorate confirmed.

The whole represents a small fraction of the EU’s poultry flock and there’s no signal but of any scarcity of rooster.

There have been 6.4 billion chickens slaughtered for meat in the EU-27 in 2019, in line with statistics issued by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The lack of laying hens has, nevertheless, diminished the supply of eggs and put some upward strain on costs.

Prices for eggs on the wholesale market in Poland jumped by about 18% to twenty% on the finish of January, mentioned Katarzyna Gawronska, the director of the National Chamber of Poultry and Feed Producers.

    Data issued by the European Commission present egg costs are additionally rising in a number of different EU international locations, together with France and Germany, though they continue to be weak in one other main producing nation, Spain.

    “Taking into account the losses in poultry in Poland and throughout Europe, the egg market has recently experienced a sharp price spike – these prices were dormant earlier,” Gawronska mentioned.

Poland produced 648,000 tonnes of eggs in 2019, making it the European Union’s sixth largest egg producer, EU knowledge confirmed.

German farmers have been frightened of export bans on their eggs.

Florian Anthes, spokesman for German poultry farming and industry affiliation ZDG, mentioned there was concern concerning the prospect of export curbs as conserving hens indoors for lengthy intervals to keep away from the illness would hit marketability of free-range eggs.

In 2019, previous to the COVID-19 epidemic, Germany exported about 1.7 billion eggs value about 300 million euros principally to the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Austria, figures from German agricultural company BLE confirmed.

In France, bird flu had primarily hit duck farms in the southwest that supply the foie gras industry.

But the bird flu crisis there has slowed in the previous weeks after 3 million birds have been culled as a result of illness, the farm ministry mentioned. That represents about 3.5% of the full variety of geese slaughtered annually in France.

Other international locations together with Sweden and Germany have needed to destroy giant flocks to forestall the virus spreading.Bird flu outbreaks, like different animal ailments, typically set off commerce restrictions.

That prospect pressured some producers, together with France’s largest poultry group LDC, to recall exports which have been already on their technique to China.

However, importing international locations’ growing method to restrict restrictions to these areas affected by the virus have been seen softening the affect.

To fight the illness farmers are ordered to make sure that nets to maintain out wild birds are put in correctly, to disinfect amenities and examine hygiene regimes.

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Updated on February 26, 2021 8:48 pm

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