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Egypt offers to buy farm chickens due to bird flu - Daily News Egypt

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Egypt offers to buy farm chickens due to bird flu

CAIRO: Egypt s government will buy all healthy chickens offered for sale by farmers until late March in a bid to support farms hard hit by the outbreak of bird flu, Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza said on Wednesday. Demand for chicken has collapsed since the deadly H5N1 virus was first identified in chickens in Egypt …


CAIRO: Egypt s government will buy all healthy chickens offered for sale by farmers until late March in a bid to support farms hard hit by the outbreak of bird flu, Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza said on Wednesday. Demand for chicken has collapsed since the deadly H5N1 virus was first identified in chickens in Egypt last week. Cases of the virus in birds have been found in 11 of the country s 26 provinces since then, the government says. The impact of culling and the fall in chicken sales could be severe because the industry, which was worth about LE 17 billion ($3 billion) in investments, supports between 2.5 million and 3 million people, a U.N. expert said. “The cabinet decided in its meeting today that the government will buy all chickens offered to it for sale until March 25, on condition that they are produced in farms and are healthy, the minister told parliament. The minister did not say how much the government would pay. Details of the scheme are expected to be announced in the next few days. A group of MPs on Tuesday ate a meal of chicken outside parliament to try and reassure Egyptians that eating the meat was not a danger to their health. Many Egyptians have reacted with alarm to news that the virus has been spreading and rumors that dead chickens suffering from the disease have been culled and thrown into the Nile, polluting what is virtually Egypt s sole water source. The government says the Nile waters are safe. A bird flu hotline was receiving about 3,000 calls every five minutes after the water rumors emerged but the number has since dipped to 1,500, the Middle East News Agency reported. One of the government s biggest problems is implementing its calls to end a widespread practice of small-scale chicken breeding on the roofs of homes in cities and rural areas. Chickens on rooftops are particularly susceptible to catching the virus from infected migrant birds, which fly along the densely populated Nile valley during migration, experts say. Chicken is a major source of protein in the Egyptian diet, the U.N. expert said. The main reason for the prevalence of poultry is that grazing land is so scarce in the arid Middle East, he said. H5N1 influenza remains mainly a disease of poultry, and has killed or forced the culling of more than 200 million birds across Asia, parts of the Middle East, Europe and Africa. But it has also infected 170 people, killing more than 90, and is steadily mutating. If it acquires the ability to pass easily from person to person, it could cause a pandemic that might kill millions. Reuters

Topics: Aboul Fotouh

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https://dailyfeed.dailynewsegypt.com/2006/02/24/egypt-offers-to-buy-farm-chickens-due-to-bird-flu/
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