Legislation outlawing live poultry trade expected by end of current People’s Assembly session
CAIRO: The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MoA) initiated a campaign this week to draw investors to establish poultry abattoirs outside Greater Cairo ahead of the widely expected ban on live poultry trade.
According to a ministry official, MoA will offer interested investors up to LE 30 million in long-term loans through the Social Development Fund (SDF) for the establishment of abattoirs of all sizes. The funding will be allocated directly out of a LE 500 million loan accepted in January from the Kuwait Development Fund to finance the modernization of the Egyptian poultry industry.
In advertisements placed over the past week in all three state-run newspapers, MoA announced it expected the Council of Ministers will soon approve measures to ban the in-city transport and sale of live poultry.
In late January, members of the Poultry Division of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce announced the establishment of a LE 10 million capital abattoir operation company with facilities to be located in Al Nahda City Industrial Zone.
The company will operate 57 abattoirs to supply chilled and frozen chicken to distributors throughout Greater Cairo, newly-appointed Company Chairman Abdel Aziz El-Sayed said. Construction of the facilities, now underway, is expected to cost about LE 100 million, all of which will be financed through a loan from SDF to be paid back over 30 years, he added.
Several automated and semi-automated slaughterhouses are now under construction by poultry producers but the majority of the 2 million chickens consumed daily by Egyptians are slaughtered upon purchase in open-air markets.
The Ministry of Finance and MoA have announced they are now working to present new legislation to the People’s Assembly during its current session to ban the live poultry trade throughout the country by the beginning of 2010. The proposed law would allow producers in the Greater Cairo and Alexandria Governorates to continue selling live poultry until the end of this year. It divides the remaining 23 governorates into two groups, one of which will be given until the end of 2008 and the other until the end of 2009.
If ratified, the government’s proposed law could put 70,000 poultry producers out of work. Talib Ali, regional animal health and production officer for the UN-affiliate Food and Agriculture Organization, says the unemployment problem is expected to present a minor problem since the to-be-established abattoirs are expected to create high demand for experienced poultry workers.
Last month, a task force formed by MoA to fight the spread of the Avian Flu virus estimated the restructuring of the poultry industry would cost LE 4 billion to be directed mostly toward building abattoirs to replace the current open-air slaughtering system.