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High Feed Prices, Transportation Ban Threaten

by 5m Editor
16 January 2012, at 7:46am

EGYPT - The poultry industry is threatened by the high prices of fodder and the banning of the transportation of poultry from one governorate to another, to prevent avian flu spreading, in addition to a severe reduction in number of slaughterhouses.

Some slaughterhouses are now being used to produce eggs and breed turkeys, according to The Egyptian Gazette.

The Poultry Producers Union has called for fast solutions to the problems. Another problem is that the role of the Chicken Stock Exchange has declined, which means that prices depend on supply and demand.

The executive manger of the Chicken Stock Exchange in el-Qaliubia Governorate, Ahmed Nassar, says that el-Qaliubia produces 70 per cent of the country’s chickens.

"However, productivity is falling in el-Qaliubia, while it is increasing in el-Sharqia and el-Beheira governorates," he says, adding that most of el-Qaliubia’s 4,500 poultry farms have stopped working.

Others are now being used to produce eggs and breed turkeys, because Law 70/2009 bans the transportation of live chickens from one governorate to another.

"Another problem is the severe shortage of slaughterhouses. Meanwhile, chicken breeding is limited to the summer season, because bird flu is more dangerous in winter, while the prices of fodder and vaccines have skyrocketed," according to Mr Nassar.

He argues that the best solution is to allow chickens to be transported among governorates under strict medical supervision.

Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, who owns a farm that produces eggs, told Al-Messa’ local newspaper that he is now running at a loss because the prices of chickens are fluctuating, while the price of fodder has shot up to LE3,500 (about $580) per tonne.

"The big pharmaceutical companies monopolise the drugs we need and there is a shortage, because there is no governmental control. This is why many poultry farmers have switched to producing eggs," he added.

Shehab Fathi, another chicken farm owner, is one of those farmers who have switched to producing eggs, because they’re easier to transport than chickens, while production continues all year round. Ahmed Soleiman, a big turkey producer, explains that he makes more money out of breeding turkeys than chickens.

"Imported turkey chicks have already been vaccinated; they are bred in a dry climate and need less fodder than chickens," he stresses.

"Turkey breeding requires a lot of capital, so some producers join forces and share the profits," says Fadel Abdel-Rehim, who also owns a turkey farm.

Mohamed el Shafei, deputy chairman of the Chicken Producers Union, says that these days the retailers fix the prices the public pay.

"Egypt produces around 850 million chickens per annum, which is a lot for a country in recession, where many people are poor. The fact that tourism is in the doldrums has also hit the poultry producers hard.

"The law banning the transportation of live birds among governorates is another big problem, as Egyptians prefer freshly killed poultry to frozen birds," he explains.