July 12, 2004


Hong Kong Team Finds Poultry from China's Mainland Safe

A site visit organized by Hong Kong team known as the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) yesterday concluded that the chicken-import quota from China's mainland could be raised.

After visiting Guangdong poultry farms located in southern China and processing factories designated to export to Hong Kong and Macao, the team found the poultry of "reliable high quality".

"There is no factory or dwellers nearby. The operations strictly conform with requirements, which effectively prevent possible pollution and epidemics," said an investigator of the team after visiting a poultry farm.

"I have confidence and so should Hong Kong consumers," said the investigator, adding he would press for the general resumption of mainland live-chicken imports to Hong Kong.

Even during the peak of the avian flu, not a single case was reported in the 300-plus farms registered to supply poultry to Hong Kong and Macao.

Hong Kong allows 30,000 live chickens to be imported from the mainland each day, about 40,000 less than before. The quota has not been adjusted since May 12, except for the Tuen Ng Festival, a local festival.

The market price for live chickens is soaring, from HK$13 (US$1.6) to HK$40-50 (US$5.1-6.4) per kilogram, hitting a peak of HK$90 (US$11.5) during the festival.

Some 4,000 people lost their jobs in Hong Kong because of the slash in chicken imports. The economic loss reportedly amount to HK$2 million each day.

The loss is not limited to Hong Kong. "We lost at least 17 million yuan (US$2 million) from January 31 to March 21," said Jiang Weifeng, deputy manager of Guangzhou Kwangfeng Industrial Co Limited, one of the top poultry exporters in Guangdong.