March 2, 2004,
just-food.com: UN Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) predicts that roughly one-third of global meat
exports, or 6 million metric tons, are currently being
affected by animal disease outbreaks.
bird-flu in Japan
March 2, 2004, just-food.com: Japan has
announced its third outbreak of bird flu.
Birds infected by the highly pathogenic
H5N1 strain were diagnosed last week at
a poultry farm in the Kyoto prefecture.
The National Institute of Animal Health
confirmed that the strain effecting the
Kyoto birds was in fact the feared H5N1
strain, which has affected many parts of
Asia in recent weeks and has caused the
deaths of over 20 people, reported Kyodo
Recent bird flu outbreaks in two other
Japanese prefectures were also caused by
the H5N1 strain. The first outbreak was
reported in mid January at a farm in Yamaguchi,
while the second was found in mid February
in Oita. There have so far been no reports
of humans catching the disease in Japan.
These outbreaks could result in world trade losses up to $10bn* if import bans
continue throughout 2004.
The impact on small poultry producers in Asia may be
considerable, with over 100 million birds estimated
to have died or have been culled over the past two months.
In particular, the impact of import bans on export-dependent
countries, such as Thailand, which has culled around
36 million birds or 25% of its domestic flocks, will
increase the vulnerability of small producers as local
prices drop sharply.
BSE and Avian flu
In the case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE),
countries around the world have banned beef imports
from the US and Canada. The US and Canada account for
more than one-quarter of global beef exports (around
1.6 million tons, valued at approximately $4bn). US
beef exports, after reaching 1.2 million tons in 2003,
are expected to drop to 100,000 tons in 2004 if bans
remain in place for the entire year, the US Department
of Agriculture estimated.
Both Canada and the US, in addition to 10 Asian countries,
have reported outbreaks of bird flu. These countries
account for 4 million tons or 50% of world exports of
poultry meat (with the US accounting for nearly 35%),
the FAO said.
While avian flu outbreaks in North America are not
reported in commercial flocks, any prolonged ban on
US exports, which constitute 15% of domestic production,
will put downward pressure on all US meat prices.
As a result of poultry and beef import bans, the FAO
expects the demand for substitutes such as pork to increase
significantly. This is already visible in Japan where
shortages of beef and chicken have led to pork prices
surging 40% in February following import bans on US
beef and Asian poultry.