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This Week's Poultry News Round-Up

15 December 2011, at 11:34pm

ANALYSIS - Accusations of poultry market collusion by chicken companies in Chile is among our top stories this week, writes Jackie Linden, senior editor of ThePoultrySite. In China, rising standards of living are strengthening demand for meat, while it is government policy to boost self-sufficiency in such foods. In the EU, Sweden is preparing for strong demand for its eggs as the EU cage ban comes into force on 1 January and German farmers are supporting a reduction in the use of antibiotics for farm animals – but not a ban.

Anti-competitive activity has been alleged in Chile's poultry industry recently. The national poultry association and the three companies that account for almost the whole domestic chicken market have been accused of colluding over chicken output and prices for more than a decade. The allegations have been denied.

Two weeks ago, Chile's National Economic Prosecutor's Office (FNE) filed a lawsuit against three of the country's biggest poultry producers – Ariztía, Agrosuper and Don Pollo – along with the poultry producers' association of Chile for collusion in controlling the market.

Santiago prosecutors are reported to be gathering information to determine whether or not to open a criminal investigation.

With a growing population but a shrinking rural population, China's farmers are changing from man-power to iron horse-power as they move to a more contemporary approach to agriculture.

China is clearly experiencing a rise in their standard of living which is resulting in a change in their consumer habits, said Alexander Haus with VDMA at the Sino-European Conference held during Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany, recently.

Mr Haus said: "We see China's households moving toward higher quality food and their everyday food mix is changing to include more meat, milk, wheat noodles and potatoes. Self-sufficiency for basic food products is one of the main targets for China's central government."

With the EU ban on conventional battery cages just two weeks away, Sweden is expecting an egg boom. With imports of battery cage eggs illegal from 1 January, the Board of Agriculture says that producers in Sweden, which banned these cages years ago, may benefit from the sudden increase in demand for their eggs from other EU countries.

Following on from last week's announcement of proposed EU regulation to reduce antibiotic use in animal agriculture, the German Farmers Association has said that pig farmers in Germany support antibiotic reduction but a complete ban would violate the Animal Welfare Act, they say.

And finally turning to recent news on H5N1 bird flu, the outbreak of disease reported last week in Nepal was found not to be avian influenza; the cause of the mortalities has not yet been identified. H5N1 has, however, been confirmed in a flock of village poultry in Lhasa, Tibet.