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China rallies poultry industry as bird flu fears wane


17:43, May 20, 2013

WUHAN, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Agricultural officials ate poultry products at an ongoing national animal husbandry expo in order to boost public confidence in the poultry industry, as bird flu concerns are starting to disappear.

Several officials, including Li Xirong, head of the China Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Station and Wang Zongli, deputy head of the animal husbandry department of the Ministry of Agriculture, ate poultry at the 11th China Animal Husbandry Expo (CAHE) on Sunday.

Wang said at the opening of the three-day expo that the spread of the H7N9 bird flu has dealt a hard blow to China's poultry industry, but also prompted an industry reshuffle.

"The industry has to tackle a number of problems to control the risk of poultry epidemics, as well as improve poultry breeding and build large-scale breeding farms during the reshuffle," he said.

According to the China Animal Agriculture Association, the country's poultry industry has suffered losses totaling more than 40 billion yuan (6.5 billion U.S. dollars) since the outbreak of the H7N9 virus in March.

The association also said that poultry prices have been picking up since April following the issuance of government subsidies to prop up the sector.

East China cities and provinces, including Shanghai, Jiangsu and Shandong, where most H7N9 cases have been spotted, revoked their emergency virus control responses last week.

Exhibitors at CAHE, the fourth-largest animal husbandry fair in the world, have shown optimism regarding the poultry industry's revival.

Chia-Chung Chan from Enron Corp. said the future of China's poultry industry will favor those companies that are willing to invest in large-scale production, new technology and environmental measures.

Enron is promoting an additive product at the expo that can adsorb pollutants that are likely to be found in animals.

Wang Zhenhua, chairman of Wuhan Tianzhong Stock Corp., said foreign firms have fully assessed China's animal husbandry sector, which has increased competitive pressure in the sector.

Some insiders, however, said foreign enterprises' stepping into in the country's animal husbandry sector can boost innovation and healthy development of the sector.

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