Weekly Overview: Spotlight on Asia-Pacific Region

ASIA - A round-up of poultry news from Asia in the last week highlights some difficulties in the region as a result of disease and continuing high feed prices, writes Jackie Linden, but the news is not all bad. Chicken is now the most popular meat in Australia and production has been rising at a steady four per cent a year, while there is growing trade in shell eggs in Asia as a whole.
calendar icon 13 March 2014
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Asia now accounts for around 30 per cent of the global trade in shell eggs, according to an industry analyst in one of our new articles this week. So far, the region participates relatively little in the trade in dried or liquid egg products.

In India, a national animal rights group says a notice has been issued against the confinement of egg layers in battery cages, taking the country another step closer to a ban on this form of poultry housing.

Also in India, poultry feed prices have been on the increase again, pushing up the cost of chicken and eggs to consumers.

Rising prices for poultry meat and eggs are also causing problems for the population of the large cities of Pakistan. Recent bad weather has disrupted supplies but the poultry asociation says the situation is expected to return to normal soon.

The agriculture minister of Malaysia is tightening up on the country's many unlicensed poultry slaughterhouses in a bid to improve compliance over both hygienic and halal slaughter procedures. Nearly 80 per cent of 2,000 poultry slaughterhouses in the country are unlicensed and not registered with the Veterinary Services Department, it is reported.

In Australia, Western Australian egg producers say there may be a supply shortage in the lead-up to Easter, following the culling of almost half a million chickens in the eastern states as the result of avian influenza. Some large supermarkets in the state are reported to have sold out of eggs but smaller shops are reportedly unaffected. The situation is expected to resolve soon.

Australian chicken production is projected to grow over the period to 2018–19, reflecting continued growth in domestic consumer demand, according to the country's latest 'Agricultural Commodities' report.

Poultry meat output there has grown at a steady four per cent annually over the past decade and now makes up one-quarter of meat production, compared to 18 per cent 10 years ago. Within the next five years, the industry is forecast to increase its share of total meat production to 28 per cent. Exports of Australian chicken meat are forecast to remain relatively low, with most production consumed domestically.

Coarsely ground maize (corn) in the diet of broilers had beneficial effects on growth and gut microflora when it was fed to birds aged 11 to 35 days to replace ground maize, according to new research from Massey University in New Zealand. There were some adverse effects on carcass yields.

Canada and South Korea have concluded negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), which aims to boost trade and investment ties between the two countries, creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians in every region of the country. The deal will not impact the countries' poultry industries as this sector is excluded from the FTA.

Asia's poultry industry cannot be examined without mentioning avian flu. In China, the H7N9 subtype is reported to have infected more than 370 people over the last year, with almost daily reports to the WHO about new cases.

The H5N1 strain, which is highly pathogenic to poultry as well as people, has been reported in birds across Viet Nam and in China this week, and there have been human cases in Cambodia. A new variant appears to have emerged in Vietnamese poultry that is unaffected by current vaccination.

The H5N8 strain has so far been confirmed on more than a dozen South Korean farms since it was first detected in January this year.

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