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Six Hundred Apply for Poultry Trade Buy-Out

by 5m Editor
25 September 2008, at 8:23am

HONG KONG - More than 600 applications have been received for live poultry trade buy-out payments in Hong Kong.

Poultry farmers, wholesalers, retailers and transporters applied seeking total ex-gratia payments of $660 million, according to official sources.

Speaking to reporters this morning (25 September), Secretary for Food & Health Dr York Chow said 29 farmers applied to surrender their livestock-keeping licences and permanently cease rearing live poultry, representing 56 per cent of the eligible farmers.

Fifty out of the 71 eligible live poultry wholesalers and 199 out of the 250 eligible transporters have submitted their applications to cease operation permanently at the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market.

Meanwhile, 333 live poultry retailers, comprising 172 market tenants and 161 fresh provision shop licensees, applied for permanent surrender of their permission to sell live poultry. This represents a 72 per cent of all 464 live poultry retailers.

The retailers who have applied for ex-gratia payments have already ceased their live poultry business while poultry farmers, wholesalers and transporters must cease their business and surrender the licences or tenancies concerned within three months from the date of approval of their applications.

Local workers affected by closure of business of farmers, wholesalers and transporters can submit their applications for the one-off grant 21 days after the latter's surrender of licences or tenancies. So far 835 applications have been received.

Dr Chow said after the buy-out exercise, the number of live poultry retailers will drop to 131, comprising 46 fresh provision shops and 85 market tenants.

Meanwhile, the Government has also reached an agreement with Mainland authorities to reduce the daily import of Mainland live chickens to 5,000. As a result, the total number of live chickens available in Hong Kong on a daily basis will plummet to 10,000.

Noting the move will help reduce the risk of transmission of avian influenza, Dr Chow said that the Government's central slaughtering plan will proceed as soon as possible.

"Since only a small number of poultry operators will continue to run live poultry business, the scale of the proposed central slaughtering plant will need to be adjusted," he said. "The Government will make a decision on the facility scale and operation mode soon."

5m Editor