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Minister urges supporting poultry farms as bird flu saps demand


15:54, April 19, 2013

BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhua) -- A top agricultural official said Friday that the government should support poultry farms that are up to quarantine standards to prevent them from being financially devastated by the H7N9 avian flu epidemic.

Large-sized distributors should be encouraged to buy poultry products from qualified farms at protective prices, Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu said while visiting a poultry company in Beijing.

The government should coordinate credit support for major poultry farms and processors, as well as find ways to provide insurance for the farms, Han said.

He also called for subsidies for businesses that provide breeding hens in order to guarantee supplies when the poultry market picks up after the epidemic.

The poultry business is a significant source of income for Chinese farmers, but recent fears over human infections of the H7N9 virus have had a huge impact on the industry and sent prices tumbling, Han said.

H7N9-infected fowl have been found in live poultry markets but not in poultry farms and slaughterhouses, as nationwide tests have shown.

The test results demonstrated that the virus can be controlled and that it's safe to consume poultry products from markets and stores that pass quarantine inspections, Han said.

Local authorities need to further expand epidemic surveillance and step up quarantine measures, the minister noted.

Eighty-seven human infections of H7N9 avian flu have been reported in China, including 17 that ended in death, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Latest development of H7N9 in China[Special]

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