HA NOI — The smuggling of large quantities of rejected chickens is the main reason for the high incidence of bird flu in Viet Nam, says Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam.
|Market watch officers check chickens sold in Dong Dang Market, Lang Son Province to keep smuggled poultry from being bought to inland, feared as a major source to bird flu. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet
The report was presented at a meeting on Sunday with Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan during his two-day working visit to northern Quang Ninh Province's border city of Mong Cai to find solutions to the chicken smuggling problem.
Tam said tests showed all samples of smuggled chicken had excessive antibiotic residue and 60 per cent of them had tested positive with bird flu virus.
The meeting, heard that Chinese and Vietnamese smugglers were taking advantage of Viet Nam's increasing demand for poultry and were bringing the discarded chicken across the border at night.
The price at the border of China's chicken rejects was VND10,000-15,000 (45-50 cents) per kg. It was then sold at VND50,000-60,000 at Ha Noi's wholesale markets. This high profit motivated dealers to ignore concerns for public health and the wellbeing of domestic poultry and the fact that poultry enterprises were facing bankruptcy.
In 130 poultry smuggling cases found in the province since early this year, more than 143,000kg of chicken, 327,450 breeding chickens and 104,600 eggs had been found and destroyed.
However, the smuggling of rejected chicken and chicken without origin from China still continued, mainly because border guards and relevant sectors didn't have enough staff to police the situation, and also the fine of VND100,000 million ($4,800) was not enough to deter smugglers. In addition, destroying rejected chicken was complex and costly.
Quang Ninh Party Secretary Pham Minh Chinh said solving the problem required a three-pronged approach: through diplomatic channels, international laws and providing stable jobs at the borders.
Chinh said he would take responsibility to find all chicken smugglers at the Mong Cai bordergate. He also proposed the Government allow Quang Ninh to apply its own sanctions to fight cross-border chicken smuggling.
Nhan asked the province to apply all regulations to increase the effects of penalties, to make them strong enough to deter smuggling.
He also asked provincial authorities to take care of poor people and create jobs for them and to publicise the situation so local people knew the harm being caused by helping smugglers bring poultry and other meat into the country. — VNS