EghtesadOnline: The export of eggs from Iran remains hard to crack, even after the country was reported to be clean of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus.
H5N8 was first detected in Iran in late November 2016. Later in March 2017, it was reported that the avian influenza had spread across 24 Iranian provinces leading to the culling of some 12 million chicken, according to Nasser Nabipour, the head of the board of directors at Tehran’s Union of Producers of Egg-Laying Chicken, ILNA reported.
The H5N8 strain of bird flu is deadly for poultry, but according to World Health Organization, although human infection with the virus cannot be excluded, the likelihood is low.
The virus has spread across Europe and the Middle East since late last year and led to the culling of hundreds of thousands of poultry. France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, also reported H5N8 outbreaks, according to Financial Tribune.
In Iran, after months of tough struggle, Nabipour was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on May 6 that Iran Veterinary Organization has informed the World Organization for Animal Health that the country has rid itself of this virus.
“OIE would confirm Iran’s report after carrying out investigations. If confirmed, Iran can resume the exports of eggs and chickens,” he said. Following Nabipour’s remarks, Mehdi Khalaj, the head of IVO, announced on May 11 that the ban on exports has been lifted and that producers are now able to export their products under international regulations. Iraq and Afghanistan, two of Iran’s biggest exporting destinations, have banned the import of chicken, eggs and related products from Iran since the outbreak. Other countries have replaced Iran in these markets.
In the last fiscal March 2016-17, Iran exported 40,000 tons of eggs, some 55,000 tons less than in the previous year.
Secretary-General of Iran’s Association of Egg-Laying Hen Producers Farzad Talakesh predicts that Iran’s egg exports could not exceed 50,000 tons in the current year, as the country has lost its export markets and a huge number of chickens due to the virus.