South Korea authorities said on Tuesday the financial toll from slaughtering of more than 30 million chickens and other poultry nationwide since November from the worst-ever bird flu outbreak nears 1 trillion won ($830 million).
As of Tuesday, the culled count came to 30.33 million, including 25.82 million chickens and 2.33 million ducks, the agricultural ministry said. That represents 18.3 percent of the total poultry raised domestically.
The highly pathogenic virus spread fast since it broke out in southern Korea on Nov. 17 and caused the government to raise its bird flu alert to the highest level for the first time. The bird flu wreaked havoc on the economy along the value chain of the poultry industry.
A recent report released by Hyundai Research Institute said Korea’s economic losses are estimated to be 492.3 billion won when the culling stands at 10 percent of the total and would grow to 1.47 trillion won when it hits 30 percent. Based on this estimation, Korea already would have lost at least 900 billion won by culling 30.33 million birds.
The number of culled egg-laying hens reached 32.1 percent of the total, causing the price of eggs to rise sharply. On Dec. 8, the price for a 30-egg pack reached 5,768 won ($4.78), surpassing the five-year average price of 5,649 won for the first time. Eggs have become rarity and any left on the shelf is sold at 8,389 won.
The government decided to import eggs from overseas without tariff in order to tackle a serious supply shortage.
By Seo Dong-cheol and Kim Se-woong
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]