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Sep 22, 2022

Implications of Avian Flu on the Market/Economy

Armando Cowo

On Tuesday, the Belize Poultry Association and other stakeholders in the agriculture industry met and several decisions were made. Chief among those was that the plant in Blue Creek will be shut down for three weeks in November.  While Belize Poultry Association Manager Armando Cowo says that the producer in Spanish Lookout has the capacity to supply the market demand and there will be no shortage, there are implications to the market and the economy. Between the two farms that have been depopulated, there is already half a million dollars in direct and indirect losses.


Armando Cowo, Manager, Belize Poultry Association

“With regards to the economic losses, there are huge economic losses being incurred as we speak. Some of it is visible and some of it is invisible because there are direct losses to the farmers. For example those twenty-eight thousand birds that were slaughtered, if you were to calculate the value of those birds – only in direct cost – we are only looking at the value of the bird in direct cost, we are already jumping quarter million dollars or more. If you look at the total indirect cost associated with it, we are looking at already above half a million dollars in losses and that’s just two barns. We are not looking at the whole subsector in Blue Creek as yet. With regards to the layers again that’s another two hundred thousand dollars down the drain as we speak. We have to also look at the effect it also has on the brand of the company that is sustaining the losses. The production will be affected and we have to face that reality. How much at the moment, we are trying to gauge that. It is not an exact thing, but we are trying to gauge exactly how it will be affected. But we do know that the community of Spanish Lookout does have the capacity to cover as much of that capacity that will be facing the Blue Creek/Caribbean Chicken Company. So right off the bat, I can tell you that yes there will be a shortage in November. As to the prices we don’t know as the driver of the prices is not the disease; there are many other factors that drive the prices. Right now farmers are harvesting their grains or most of them will start harvesting their grains. The price of those grains is the driver for the price of chicken. Let’s face it, we can’t run away from that. So, if there will be a price increase, it will not be associated with the avian flu. That loss will be absorbed by the industry as was done in 2015.”

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