Veterinary Association warns of possible entry of Bird Flu through egg import

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Cabinet agrees to proposal to import eggs
Cabinet agrees to proposal to import eggs

Sri Lanka Veterinary Association , along World Poultry Science Association, urged the government to ensure precautions to prevent the possible entry of Bird Flu into the countries through the planned importation of eggs to contain soaring prices.

“Sri Lankan poultry industry is an industry that has been in a very advanced state due to direct involvement of private entrepreneurs and the government regulatory mechanism. This has greatly strengthened the economy by generating a number of direct and indirect self-employment opportunities. By 2020, it produced nearly 3 billion eggs (2,934 million) and over 236,000 metric tons of chicken meat, bringing the country to a self-sufficient state with a wealth of valuable protein sources essential for human consumption. And the government premium of more than Rs. 20 billion direct tax revenue is being generated by this industry.

However, due to Covid situation in 2020 , 2021, and the economic crisis in 2022, the industry suffered a severe setback and its sustainability was also threatened. Foreign exchange shortage and high exchange rates in the country, lack of poultry feed ingredients , increase in the price of poultry feed due import restrictions etc. have lead some small and medium scale poultry producers to withdraw from their farming enterproses and reduced their operational volumes. In the face of the fertilizer crisis, the disruption in the local maize production further aggravated the crisis. The result was the severe shortage and escalating prices of eggs in local markets. In order to control the situation, the government imposed a price control on eggs in August 2022 which caused availability of eggs at a reasonable price to the public. Unfortunately this has resulted egg industry to decline further, as egg producers were unable to produce and supply eggs at this control price. Eventually, with the temporary withdrawal of price control of eggs, the consumers had to face a very difficult situation as the price of eggs have gone up more than the usual.

The association said they were also of the opinion that the current selling prices of eggs at Rs.60/- 70/- are rather unreasonable and unbearable to the general public.

Therefore, we cannot make objections for importation of eggs as a temporary measure and, for a very short period of time to make available this valuable food to the people at a reasonable price.

However, we have to urge the government that, there is a high risk of ‘Bird flu’ and other diseases entering into our country through importation of eggs. If egg producers are further drifting away due to import of eggs, not only exports , but also production and supply of eggs to the domestic market would be a mere dream. It would be an additional burden for the economy of our country as well. If bird flu is introduced into the country through import of eggs or any other means, we will lose all the existing and anticipating export opportunities, and it will have a very negative effect on the public health , animal health, poultry industry, and the economy of Sri Lanka,” the association said.

source-daily mirror

Cabinet agrees to proposal to import eggs

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