WattAgNet: Avian flu in EU leads to US poultry export opportunity


Demand for U.S. chicken is particularly stronger in Middle East, says Sanderson Farms president and COO

The current avian influenza outbreaks in Europe and Asia are creating opportunities for the export of U.S. chicken products. Those opportunities seem to be the largest in the Middle East, Sanderson Farms executives said.

Sanderson Farms Chairman and CEO Joe Sanderson Jr. and President and Chief Operating Officer Lampkin Butts addressed avian influenza and its impact on trade during the company’s quarterly earnings call on February 23.

“We are optimistic about exports,” Butts said. “We've seen some better demand in the last 30 days, primarily due to some countries in Europe and the EU that can't ship into the Middle East because of [avian influenza]. We're getting some better demand from there and filling some gaps.”

Butts added that the Middle Eastern countries’ inability to import leg quarters from the EU has led to a higher demand for U.S. leg quarters, translating into higher prices.

Since mid-February, avian influenza outbreaks have been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) by veterinary authorities in the European countries of France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Italy, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, the Netherlands, Belguim, Romania, Bulgaria, the U.K. and the Czech Republic. More than 330 cases have been reported in France alone.

U.S. poultry trade with China

Earlier in the call, Sanderson pointed out that nearly all countries’ bans on U.S. poultry that were put in place because of the 2015 avian influenza outbreak have been lifted, with China being the exception.

It is not believed that China, which has been dealing with its…

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