Monday, April 22, 2013

Chinese poultry industry struggles to survive H7N9

Xinhua: Lin Yuanzhong has killed more than 40,000 ducklings in the past 10 days as there is no sign anyone will patronize his duck breeding farm in Zini Town, Longhai City in east China's Fujian Province. "If this continues for another 20 days, all the feed manufacturers, breeding farms and poultry raisers will be bankrupt," said Lin, who has been engaged in the industry for decades.

Even though the fast spread of H7N9 avian influenza has so far only hit Shanghai, Beijing and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Henan, the ensuing fear has reached nationwide. The outbreak since earlier this month has given China's poultry industry its hardest hit in a decade, with drastic declines in both poultry prices and consumption. Xiao Zhiyuan, director of the poultry association of south China's Guangdong Province, labeled the current crisis "the worst in history."

The SARS outbreak in 2003, H5N1 in 2005 and H1N1 in 2009 inflicted at most a daily loss of 5 million yuan (801,077 U.S. dollars) per company, but Guangdong Wen's Food Group Co., Ltd., one of the largest poultry raisers in China, has suffered a loss of 20 million yuan in one day this time, according to Xiao.

"We lost up to 100 million yuan from April 1 to April 14 and the loss is expected to hit 150 million yuan this month," said Liang Zhiyong, general manager of Wen's Food Group Co. Ltd.'s branch in Zhejiang Province. "We have been trying to get financing from various channels, but the gap is still huge," said Liang.

The area worst hit by the H7N9 crisis is east China, where the largest number of human cases of the virus have been recorded...

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