Bangladesh authorities are considering allowing egg and day-old chick imports from India in spite of avian influenza concerns, as the country's domestic feed costs and bird flu troubles of its own have caused market prices to rise.
Myanmar and Thailand are also being considered as potential import markets, as their poultry sectors are thriving, according to traders. The prices per egg and per kilogram of chicken have risen by around 10 percent and 30 percent, respectively, to some Tk 10 (US$0.12) and Tk 165 (US$2.02) in the retail market. Local poultry farmers have also increased the price of a day-old chick by Tk 15 (US$0.18) to Tk 65 (US$0.80) on average, though they have been getting a 20 percent government subsidy on power tariffs since 1992, said industry sources.
"We are considering the proposal to resume import of eggs and day-old chicks for a limited period, as their local prices have already gone out of purchasing capacity of the majority consumers," said an official at the Bangladesh Ministry of Commerce. The problem, said the government, is that most of the Asian poultry-producing countries have records of bird-flu outbreaks in recent years, causing them to weigh the benefits and the risks of trade.
An estimated 6,000 poultry farms have been closed in Bangladesh since the beginning of 2012 due to avian influenza and high feed costs, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service.