Bird Flu and poultry business of Azerbaijan

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Azerbaijanis consume an estimated  32 kilogram meat per year. Part of this contains bird meat, but it is not exact statistics how much bird meat consumed by  Azerbaijanis. 

According to official sources of Azerbaijan local poultry industry produce 100000 tons bird meat. 

According to Agriculture Ministry of Azerbaijan, 26795 tons  of bird meat had been imported from abroad in 2016. 


The country’s poultry industry is technically advanced, but it still  largely depends on commercial suppliers from Ukraine Turkey, Brazil, Iran and etc who supply about more than 20000 tons of chicken annually.  

According to Aydin Valiyev, General Director the Poultry Union of Azerbaijan, the poultry business in Azerbaijan is not sustainable, because most products for markets are imported from abroad, so the locally produced poultry is not sold at domestic markets.


“This has negative influence on local business. They bring products from other countries and distribute them  to different stores while domestic products stay in depot,” Valiyev said.  

Valiyev mentions a number of reasons: 

1. Poultry  feed is much cheaper  in Ukraine than in Azerbaijan.  

2. The controversy in Azerbaijan around the spread of bird flu and other bird infections  createsunstable market.

3. Insufficient  government policies to support local businesses. 


According to economist Natig Jafarli, even though the government applied additional customs duties on bird meat to support local producers, the decision did not produce the expected results. 


Despite high expectations from government,  local production did not increase. The  prices for Azerbaijan bird meat and eggsare still high,  as  local producers still buy imported bird feed.  


The government of Azerbaijan decided the custom duty of $1 per kilogram of meat would apply only to imports from Turkey, Iran and Brazil.  Ukraine,  as a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States  free trade area, does not have to pay this duty.


Another barrier for local producers is low access to bank loans. “Banks  are not giving loans to bird companies. Plus they have  high interest rates, ”says Jafarli.


We know that bird flu is spreading and growing rapidly. Azerbaijan also has not been insured from this problem. 


We recall that when bird flu was spreading in the world people of Azerbaijan worried deeply some years ago – in 2006. In this year most people did not eat egg and bird meat in Azerbaijan. They feared to die by catching bird flu. Some people did panic in Azerbaijan 


High level the virus of bird flu (H5N8) spreaded large scale in october-november 2016 in Iran. Epidemic of bird flu had spread in Iran in this year and a lot hens and chickens were destroyed. As we mentioned Azerbaijan also import bird meat from Iran.


According to  Dr.Adil Geybulla, although no deaths from bird flu  were officially identified,  some cases were suspicious. 


“We were not able to identify the reasons, but some patients had suspicious  diagnosis," Geybulla said. 

"Several patients’ health deteriorated in the hospital, but any information about deaths related to bird flu was denied by the  Ministry of Health. We canonly guess  if any deaths were related to bird flu.” Geybulla says the Health Ministry refused to let him investigate.


Yolchu Khanveli, press secretary  of State Veterinary Control Service under the Ministry of Agriculture, says testing of birds is done twice a year. “We check  migrating birds  as well as birds  from  poultry farms. Carriers of bird flu were not detected. “ 

Khanveli says  that since 2006 the government has exchanged information  about bird flu with international organizations  such as the International Epizootic Bureau. 

“We use this information to developpreventive measures," he said. "The monitoring will beginagain when migratory birds fly south. The State Veterinary Control Service will take blood samples again." 

Valiyev says bird meat will be tested before import.


Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds.


H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. It’s deadly to birds and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier. 


Currently, the virus isn’t known to spread via human-to-human contact. Still, some experts worry that H5N1 may pose a risk of becoming a pandemic threat to humans. 


The H7N9 bird flu virus, which has sickened and killed several hundred people in China for the past four winters. 


The symptoms of bird flu are cough, diarrhea, respiratory difficulties, headache, muscle aches, malaise, runny nose, sore throat. 


The virus has become more deadly to poultry, which might lead to more severe infections in humans. 


Currently, the best way to prevent infection with avian influenza A viruses is to avoid sources of exposure whenever possible. Infected birds shed avian influenza virus in their saliva, mucous and feces.


Agshin KARİMOV

16.08.2017 14:47 / Hits: 296 / Print
 
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