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Live Birds: A Dying Industry?

by 5m Editor
9 January 2007, at 10:52am

EGYPT - While major companies, including a perennial bt100 all-star, capitalized on last year’s outbreak of avian flu, small retailers, butchers and consumers are still reeling.

Had you stopped by Amm Lamaie’s shop in Nasr City a year ago, you would have immediately pegged him as the friendly neighborhood poultry butcher: The feather-strewn floor and cacophony of clucks from the cages along the walls were a dead giveaway. Step inside today and his store’s gleaming floor, multiple freezer units and uncharacteristic quiet might make you think he’s become an ice-cream vendor.

“Soon after [Egypt’s] first avian flu outbreak [in mid-February], the government closed down my shop, even though my chicken was avian-flu free,” Amm Lamaie explains. “It took me more than five months to re-start my business, this time selling frozen chicken I buy from official slaughterhouses.”

Still, Amm Lamaie complains that his once-thriving business has not yet recovered from the restrictions imposed after the first cases of avian flu were detected in Egypt early last year. Demand for chicken has lagged compared to pre-flu levels, and his sales have dropped by more than 50%. When avian flu first hit, widespread panic wiped out consumer demand for poultry. “Up till now, many people are still afraid and refrain from eating chicken, whether fresh or frozen.”

Source: Business Today Egypt

5m Editor