The government suspended poultry exports after the National Healthcare and Agrifood Quality Service (SENASA) confirmed the first bird flu case on a commercial farm.
The case was detected yesterday at a chicken barbecue restaurant in the town of Mainque, Río Negro, an area with a low poultry density, according to the SENASA. Following international protocol, they will report the findings to the World Organisation for Animal Health and suspend exports given that the country is no longer bird-flu free.
Last year, Argentina exported US$383 million in chicken meat and was the eighth largest global producer and exporter. Since the disease is not transmitted by eating chicken or eggs, the poultry industry for local consumption will remain unchanged. This could lead to a temporary price decrease since supply will grow —similar to what happened with beef in the last months of 2022 when the drought caused a rise in bovine cattle prices and farmers were forced to slaughter and sell more animals.
Last week, the government announced it would compensate poultry producers who lose animals to bird flu and that it reinforced border controls amid a surge in cases of the disease. The government also announced it would invest AR$1 billion (US$5.2 million) in SENASA for personnel, laboratory equipment, logistics, and infrastructure reinforcement for border checkpoints.
Since February 14, out of 177 reports, twenty-five cases were confirmed in the country. Cases before yesterday were detected in wild birds and small backyard farms.
The spread of new cases across the region has raised alarms across Latin America. So far, cases have been confirmed in thirteen countries including Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Chile.