Saudi Arabia bans Indian poultry products
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has informed the Indian poultry exporters that Saudi Arabia has imposed a temporary ban on the imports of Indian poultry products. The online note says, “the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia vide its Note Verbale no. 209/404 dated 25.11.2016 has informed that the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia have decided to impose a temporary ban on the import of live birds, hatching eggs and chicks from India due to the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (reference : online bulletins of World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) 9 – 10 November 2016).”
The ban comes 4 weeks after the WHO reported an outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu in several parts of India, in its online bulletin on November 9-10, 2016. Dr. Phalke, an expert from Poultry Federation of India is of the opinion that the ban shall be lifted in a maximum of six months. "Once we prove that it is only the wild birds that are a potential danger and not the domestic birds in our poultry farms, it will be clear that the ban wasn't even needed," he says.
Kuwait was the first to ban poultry imports from India following the bird flu outbreak in Tripura on January 4, 2015. It should be noted here that in Oct 2015 the Gulf nations’ PAAFR department (Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources) had agreed to lift the ban on importing of live poultry, one-year old chicks of egg laying hens and flesh hens from India. The decision by the Middle East to ban poultry products imports from India had a serious impact in 2015 as the country had been on the receiving end of rejection from countries all over the world including the developed countries on the import of poultry products, rice and many other commodities.
The strict regulations with regard to quality, hygiene etc. placed on the exports of poultry products and the international standards that Indian poultry producers fail to match has brought about a change in the way exports are done by many of the Indian exporters. Many Indian poultry exporters source the poultry from countries like Brazil, Thailand or Malaysia. Speaking about it Pradeep Gupta, from NP Roofings India Pvt. Ltd, a foods export company said, "There is very little demand for Indian chicken as it frequently fails lab tests and seldom meets requirements in the international market. Therefore we get our supplies from Malaysia and Thailand.”
Data put up by APEDA showed a steady increase in the production of eggs and broilers at a rate of 8-10% per annum. India now stands as the fifth largest producer of eggs and the 18th largest producer of broilers in the world. The country has exported 6,59,304.15 MT of poultry products to the world for the worth of Rs. 768.72 crores during the year 2015-16.