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April 30, 2017

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Retailers request buffer period for poultry ban

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Traditional market retailers on Friday called for the government to offer a buffer period of one to three days for enforcing a ban on the transport and slaughter of poultry.

Retailers issued the call during the first day of the seven-day ban enforced to counter the recent avian influenza outbreak. The ban will run until 12 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24.

They said the ban came too quickly, making it hard for them to cushion the impact.

"It's OK for the chicken retail market to be suspended in line with the ban, but a buffer of one to three days would be better so that we can make necessary preparations," said one retailer, surnamed Ku, in Taipei's Nanmen market.

Another retailer, surnamed Chen, said that chickens raised indoors that are shipped directly to slaughterhouses, which are exempt from the ban, sold out on Friday, one day earlier than estimated by officials with the Council of Agriculture (COA).

No Sesame Oil Chicken

As an extremely cold air mass is forecast to hit Taiwan on Feb. 23, Chen said, it would be impossible for locals to get their hands on sesame oil chicken, a popular dish in chilly weather that is usually made with chickens raised indoors.

Nevertheless, the buying sentiment for ordinary chickens wasn't strong Friday, with retail prices for even chickens raised indoors also remaining flat, ranging from NT$350 to NT$380 per whole chicken, according to retailers.

"The retail prices for indoor chickens reportedly rose slightly. But the price hike was made one or two weeks ago, not today," a retailer surnamed Lo said.

A market survey conducted by the COA's Livestock Department showed that some consumers rushed to buy indoor-raised chickens at traditional markets early Friday.

The survey also indicated that farm prices for broiler chickens and indoor-raised ones stayed stable at NT$27 and NT$45.7 per catty (0.6 kilograms), and that the corresponding prices for ducks and geese at NT$45 and NT$74 per catty.

During the seven-day ban on the transport and slaughter of poultry, consumers are advised to switch to pork for protein.

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