TITLE: Addressing the issues of industrial poultry in Egypt (Arabic version: انفلونزا الطيور والدعم الغذائي معالجة قضايا الدواجن الصناعية في مصر). AUTHOR: M.W. Dixon. KEYWORDS: poultry; diseases; corporations; government policies; food security; Egypt.
Marion W. Dixon, PhD
First issue: Endemic avian flu virus. It recurs in the country every flu season, killing millions upon millions of birds and some humans too. One of the authorities' key containment measures had been mass cullings of "household"/"cottage" chickens which were assumed to have spread the virus. But the assumption is false. The virus had actually moved from industrial facilities to households. Industrial firms not only were saved, they further consolidated as smaller farms were decimated by the mass cullings.
Second issue: Government food subsidies. The poultry industry and red meat producers/importers have benefited from the food (non-bread) subsidy system. And a growing percentage of imported grains and other foods are used to feed animals and for food processing (i.e. industrial uses) rather than for direct human consumption only.
To deal with these issues: 1. Take action to weaken the corporate poultry industry and its ability to pass on infected birds (and the virus) to other poultry operators through its value chain. Advocate for government restrictions on sale of birds from large-scale breeding facilities. 2. Do not end 2023-07-11ood subsidies (in spite of calls to do so). But instead replace the subsidy on poultry with a producer and consumer subsidy on fava beans - an indigenous, protein-rich plant food. This would diversify protein sources in Egyptian diets.