By Garra - 27/11/2023 in Brazil and World

Brazilian chicken exports close to a record, with competitors limited by bird flu

Brazilian chicken exports are expected to reach record-high volumes this year, according to the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA). In recent months, the country has managed to prevent avian influenza infections in commercial flocks, which have been limiting shipments from competitors, including the United States.

The largest global chicken exporter, Brazil shipped over 400,000 tons of the product in October, including fresh and processed, totaling 4.307 million tons so far in the year. This number represents a 6.1% increase compared to the same period last year.

ABPA projects that exports will exceed 5 million tons in 2023, with China as the largest buyer. Export revenue in the 10-month period reached USD 8.301 billion, an increase of 1.3%. Strong exports are expected to continue into 2024, said Ricardo Santin, the association’s president.

Brazil’s status as free of avian influenza in the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) has helped keep the country’s chicken exports competitive, with no cases reported in commercial farms.

However, there have been specific restrictions related to cases in wild birds. Japan, for example, unilaterally suspended imports from two states for a period. Last week, the Brazilian government extended a 180-day health emergency to protect companies from the threat of infection in commercial flocks.

The spread of avian influenza, however, has been leading to import bans affecting other countries. Mexico, for example, announced at the beginning of the month it would place import restrictions on poultry products from the Alabama and Arkansas counties, in the US, where the cases were found.

In the US, 4.6 million birds have been killed this year due to the disease. This number is much smaller than the nearly 58 million birds the Department of Agriculture said were culled last year, the first year of the outbreak.

Although this decline represents good news, the fact that infections continue is a worrying indication that, unlike previous outbreaks, the current virus has found a way to survive the summers, and birds will likely always be at risk of contracting the disease.

In Europe, authorities in Denmark, England, Hungary, and the Netherlands have confirmed their first outbreaks of avian influenza in commercial farms this fall. Among European commercial farms, there have been 399 outbreaks in 22 countries this year.

The data is from the latest update of the European Commission’s Animal Disease Information System (on November 3rd), which monitors the disease situation in EU member states and neighboring countries.

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