14:32 GMT +325 November 2017

    Bird flu may cost Russian poultry farmers $1 bln

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    MOSCOW, August 2 (RIA Novosti)-The zone of the chicken flu outbreak in Russia is expanding: the virus has been found in the Altai territory and the Omsk region in the south of Western Siberia, a leading business daily reported Tuesday.

    Kommersant wrote that poultry farmers had calculated that if bird flu affected poultry farms, their losses might reach $1 billion.

    Dmitry Rylko, director of the Institute of the Agrarian Market Situation, said: "There will be a catastrophe if the virus spreads to Tyumen (north of Western Siberia), Omsk and further, to European Russia," where the country's largest poultry farms are situated.

    Experts warn that bird flu may spread to European Russia with chicken egg supplies, up to 50% of which are exported from Tyumen and Krasnoyarsk (Eastern Siberia). If bird flu spreads to such regions as the Leningrad or Moscow regions, virtually every poultry farms will have to be closed.

    Market players say that if chicken flu affects poultry farms, their losses may exceed the investments made in the industry over the past five years, which, according to the Russian Poultry Farmers Union, have reached to $800-900 million.

    The measures taken by poultry farms to ensure that their products are not contaminated - additional disinfecting and the use of disposable packing for egg transportation - has put the prices of these products by more than 10%.

    "Now all producers have to insure their poultry, which will raise the cost of poultry meat production by an average of 3-5%," said Dmitry Aveltsov Stavropolsky, the financial director of the Stravropol Broiler company.

    A poultry farm spokesman speaking on the condition of anonymity said: "While we will be resuming production, Brazilian and American chicken legs will again take our place on the market and it will take much more effort and money to force them out of the market for the second time."

    According to the paper, market players do not expect a sudden rise in retail prices for chicken meat and eggs. However, in the opinion of Ilya Kunkov, chairman of the board of directors of the Sinyavinskaya poultry farm, "they will probably increase in fall and winter."

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