Thailand's top chicken processor predicts soaring exports

THAILAND - The outbreak of bird flu in Eastern Europe is expected to help boost Thailand's cooked chicken exports by 67 per cent this year, media reports said on Wednesday, quoting the country's leading poultry exporter Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF).

CPF Presdient Adirek Srepratak predicted that Thailand's frozen chicken exports would reach 300,000 tons this year, up 67 per cent from 180,000 tons exported in 2004, when the industry was hard-hit by an avian influenza epidemic in its domestic poultry population, said The Nation newspaper.

Adirek said the outbreak of bird flu in Eastern Europe had spurred Western European countries to order more chicken from Asia. He predicted that CPF chicken exports would hit 90,000 tons this year, up 30 per cent on last year.

"This is a result of our food safety standards," Adirek told The Nation. "Our farms are totally closed so we do not need any new measures to prevent problems. We're confident of the standards of our farms."

According to Commerce Ministry figures, Thailand's frozen chicken exports during the first eight months of this year earned the country 500 million dollars, up 51 per cent from the same period in 2004. Major export markets for Thai chicken meat exports include Japan, the E.U. and Singapore. Since the outbreak of bird flu in Thailand in late 2003, Thailand has taken measures to contain the virus including mass culling of more than 66 million chickens last year, a nationwide surveillance system for fresh outbreaks and a generous compensation system for small scale poultry farmers when their stock are culled.

Kamnuan Ungchusak, Director of the Ministry of Health's Bureau of Epidemiology, insists that there has been no outbreak of bird flu this year in the country's large scale poultry farms which have upgraded their own safety standards.

At least 12 people have died from bird flu in Thailand over the past two years.

Source: Bangkok Post

calendar icon 19 October 2005
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