S. Korea’s chicken exports virtually suspended amid bird flu spread
SEOUL-- The export of South Korean chickens has effectively come to a halt this year, apparently hit by the spread of avian influenza (AI), government data showed Saturday.
The outbound shipment of chickens reached only 139 tons between January and May, down 98.8 percent on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
It means the country's chicken exports have virtually been suspended.
The value of total exports over the five months plunged 97.6 percent to US$300,000, from $12.67 million a year earlier, added the ministry.
The government has been grappling with a fresh outbreak of AI since early this month. It culled 185,000 chickens as part of containment measures.
The sharp drop in chicken exports came as Vietnam and Hong Kong, the two biggest buyers of the local meat, put a ban on the import of Korean chickens following the reports of a bird flu outbreak.
The value of Vietnam-bound shipment of local chickens plunged 99 percent to $110,000 from $110.2 million, while the corresponding figure from Hong Kong tumbled 95.5 percent to $55,000 from $1.22 million during the cited period.
The country suffered the worst bird flu outbreak last winter, culling more than 33 million birds so far.
"We're working with officials in Vietnam to resume exports, but the recent AI outbreak is putting a damper on the process," a ministry official said.
China lately suspended the import of samgyetang, a Korean-made chicken soup.
Source: Yonhap News Agency