Bird-flu fears cut exports

26-07-2006 | |

The current bird flu outbreak in Thailand is creating further export difficulties for Saha Farms, one of the country’s largest chicken producers and exporters.

Formerly exporting between 6,000 and 8,000 tonnes of fresh chicken annually to Japan and the EU, exports from Saha Farms have dropped to only 2,000 tonnes of boiled and processed chicken, and could drop even further in light of the current outbreak.

“Our fresh-chicken exports have dropped dramatically,” says a company executive. “The ratio of exports at Saha Farms has declined sharply from 70 per cent over the past two years to only 40 per cent today, because of the bird flu situation.”

He said Saha Farms needed to inject new investment into its main facilities in Lop Buri and Phetchabun, particularly for boiling and processing machinery. The move would increase production capacity for boiled and processed chicken, helping to balance the loss of fresh meat exports.

“We expect to increase exports of boiled and processed chickens from the current 2,000-3,000 tonnes a month to about 8,000 tonnes in the next year or two. So we have to invest at least 1 billion baht (US$ 26.3 million) in new boiling and processing machinery to boost that production,” said the source.