EghtesadOnline: Hit hard by the H5N8 bird flu virus last year, the Iranian government says in case the deadly strain strikes again in fall and winter, imports will be allowed with a 5% duty.
“The decision is a preemptive measure in the event the country is hit again, which will inevitably increase prices and disrupt the market as well,” the secretary-general of Iran’s Union of Producers of Egg-Laying Hen told Financial Tribune.
Farzad Talakesh added that the flu virus is spread by migratory birds and since these birds travel in fall and winter, the likelihood of an outbreak is high in those months.
H5N8 was first detected in Iran in late November 2016. After months of tough struggle, chairman of Tehran’s Union of Producers of Egg-Laying Hen, Nasser Nabipour, said on May 6 Iran Veterinary Organization had informed the World Organization for Animal Health that the country had rid itself of this virus. The outbreak led to the culling of some 12 million chicken as the avian influenza had spread across 24 Iranian provinces, Financial Tribune reported.
“Considering Iran’s geographical location, the country is always prone to this virus. The birds, coming from the North Pole, pass through Russia, then Iran and head for the South Pole,” Talakesh said.
The official said the price of each egg currently stands at 4000-4200 rials ($0.1) in the local market.
Iran’s per capita egg consumption stands at 198 (as of March 2016-17 fiscal year).
According to Talakesh, domestic egg production is estimated to reach 930,000-940,000 tons this year (March 2017-18), 50,000 tons of which will be in excess of domestic demand.
He stressed that in case there is no outbreak this year, there will be no need for imports as domestic production will suffice demand.