French foie gras makers toast rising output after avian influenza setback

Foie gras output set to rise 20% in 2023 after 35% drop in 2022
calendar icon 20 October 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

French foie gras output is set to rise for the first time in five years in 2023 as France starts vaccinating ducks against avian influenza that has destroyed flocks in recent years, but trade bans that followed will weigh on exports, Reuters reported, citing producers on Thursday.

France has been among the countries worst affected by an unprecedented global spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, that has disrupted supply of poultry and eggs and sent prices rocketing in many parts of the world in the past years.

To fight the spread of the disease it started vaccinating 64 million ducks early this month, making it the first poultry exporter to do so and raising hope among foie gras producers that it would put an end to the crisis.

Producer group Cifog forecast foie gras output will rise 20% in 2023 to 9,855 metric tons after a drop of 35% in 2022, but still 26% below the average of the five previous years and half the volume produced 10 years earlier.

Higher production costs, including part of vaccination, will lead to another rise in foie gras prices, pegged at 5% this year, it said.

On the export front, France's avian influenza vaccination campaign prompted several countries to impose a ban on French poultry imports, including Japan, France's main foie gras export market outside Europe with a share of 10% in value.

The United States and Canada also imposed bans, although Canada has since limited it to raw products, Cifog added.

Although more and more governments have been looking at vaccination as a way to contain the virus, most of the world's biggest poultry producers have resisted vaccination due to concerns it could mask the spread of bird flu and prompt trade bans.

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