Sales of local fresh chickens has been suspended from April 14 on, drastically cutting daily supplies, until imports of live poultry from the mainland resume in June. More than 50 of 130 chicken stalls are expected to suspend their businesses until the ban is lifted, according to The Standard.
Hong Kong and Kowloon Poultry Dealers and Workers Association officer Leung Wai-tong said they were incurring more losses by the continued ban on mainland imports rather than by closing their shops temporarily. Live poultry imports from Shenzhen farms were suspended in January for 21 days because of the threat of H7N9 bird flu.
The ban was extended until June so that a site to segregate mainland birds from local ones could be ready. This is being done to further minimise the risk of bird flu spreading to local birds.
But Leung said the price of chickens nearly doubled compared with the price during the Lunar New Year. This was deterring people from buying fresh chickens, he added. He said the five-month ban on mainland birds has affected vendors’ livelihood tremendously.
Leung said there were about 130 stalls selling local chickens, and so far about 50 vendors will suspend their sales, including transportation workers and retailers. According to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the average supply of live chickens from Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Market this month ranged between 9,500 and 15,000 birds.
A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said they would closely monitor the supply of chickens.
They were also willing to provide assistance to different stakeholders in the live poultry industry, including breeders, wholesalers and retailers, and strengthen communication to ensure a sustainable supply of local live chickens.
Source: The Standard