The poultry exporters from the southernmost state in Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, have a plan to try to keep up the poultry exports volume after nearly 40 countries totally or partially suspended their purchases from the state, due to a focal point of the Newcastle disease, confirmed in the beginning of the month in a non-commercial property. The idea is to direct the products to other markets.
"Since it was an isolated occurrence, we’ll develop actions so that the producers don’t feel great losses, like opening new markets," said the secretary-general at the Aviculture Association of Rio Grande do Sul (Asgav), Eduardo Santos.
"We can now direct a greater volume to the European Union and strengthen negotiations with China and the Asian market," he added.
According to information from the Ministry of Agriculture, the countries that stopped buying from the state, totally or partially, are Argentina, New Caledonia, Russia, Morocco, Ukraine, Belarus, Japan, South Africa, Canada, South Korea, Cuba, Hong Kong and Switzerland, as well as the nations of the EU.
According to the Ministry, the majority only have restrictions in relation to the chicken produced in the region where the focal point occurred, the so-called "vigilance zone", which may vary from a radius of 10 to 50 kilometers according to the importing country.
The European Union, only restricted the purchases of chicken bred in a radius of 10 kilometers around Vale Real, city in the Serra Gaúcha mountain range where the disease was identified.
The only destinations that notified the Brazilian government of the embargo were Argentina, New Caledonia, Russia and the EU. In the other cases, Brazil has sanitation agreements with these countries that already foresee automatic suspension in sales, totally or partially, in the case of any problems with animal health. The suspension periods vary from one agreement to the other.
No More Reports
According to the head of Inspection and Animal Sanitary Defense at the Agriculture Secretariat in Rio Grande do Sul, Fernando Grossi, there aren’t any other reports of more cases of the disease in the region.
"The property where the disease was identified is a subsistence ranch, they breed chicken for their own consumption," he said. There were 44 birds in the place and, according to Grossi, they were all put down.
Grossi explained that, although there were no clinical signs of the disease in the properties neighboring the focal point, material was collected for laboratory analyses. The results should come out in the next few days.
"But this isn’t a region of commercial production, and there isn’t any transit of birds from one place to another," he assured.
"We are implementing a preservation plan against the Newcastle disease and avian influenza, therefore there are no problems in relation to the commercial producers," added Santos.
Grossi also said that the farm where the disease was identified was restrained since the beginning of May, when a notification was made to the sanitation authorities suspecting the disease.
The results of the laboratory exams only confirmed that this was the Newcastle disease on the 4th of July. The disease attacks the birds’ respiratory system and is fatal in good part of the cases, but doesn’t affect humans.
Rio Grande do Sul is the third greatest poultry producer and exporter in Brazil, losing only to Paraná and Santa Catarina. According to Eduardo Santos, the sector represents 4.8% of the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the period from January to June, Rio Grande do Sul produced 466,000 tons of chicken meat, of which 314,000 tons were exported.
Exports, according to information from Asgav, yielded US$ 379 million in the first semester. The Middle East is an important market, representing 24% of the state’s external sales, according to Santos.
Morocco, however, was the only country in the region that officially stopped buying poultry from Rio Grande do Sul up to now, as was informed by the Ministry of Agriculture, indeed as they have a sanitation agreement with Brazil.
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