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Cablegate: Poultry Almost Unavailable in Hcmc

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 001200

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

FOR USAID/RDM-A/BANGKOK
STATE FOR G; CA/OCS/ACS/EAP; EAP/EX; EAP/MLS; EAP/EP;
EB/TPP/ABT/ATP;
INR; OES/STC (PBATES); OES/IHA (DSINGER AND NCOMELLA)
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC, USAID/RDM/A (MFRIEDMAN)
USDA FOR FAS/PASS TO APHIS
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP (LSTERN)
USAID FOR ANE AND GH (DCAROLL, SCLEMENTS AND PCHAPLIN)
STATE PASS USTR (ELENA BRYAN)
STATE ALSO PASS HHS/OGHA (EELVANDER)
ROME FOR FAO


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD EAID PGOV TBIO SOCI PINR CASC AMED VM AMGMT AFLU
SUBJECT: POULTRY ALMOST UNAVAILABLE IN HCMC

REF: HANOI 2991

1. (U) SUMMARY: Ho Chi Minh City authorities are tightening
restrictions on the sale of poultry within city limits as part of
its avian influenza prevention plan. Several large supermarkets
in HCMC have halted sales of domestic poultry, though they still
plan to sell eggs. Combined with the GVN's recent decision to
temporarily ban all imports of unprocessed poultry products
(reftel), these moves mean chicken will no longer be available.
END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On November 6, Dr. Nguyen Thien Nhan, First Vice-Chairman
of the HCMC People's Committee and head of HCMC's Steering
Committee for Avian Influenza (AI) Prevention and Control,
announced new measures to prevent bird flu, including:

--a ban on raising of poultry within HCMC limits, effective
November 15;

--assistance to HCMC poultry farmers for their transition out of
poultry farming;

--a requirement that the HCMC Department of Trade unveil by
November 10 a more stringent plan to inspect all poultry and
poultry products entering the city.

HCMC has already banned the sale of live poultry within the city
and has increased the number of inspectors certifying poultry
products for sale.

3. (U) To facilitate ending poultry farming within city limits,
HCMC will buy farmers' poultry stock - albeit at below-market
rates - and will assist in cleaning and decontaminating local
poultry farms. Farmers must turn their livestock over to the city
before November 15 to receive payment. HCMC will also provide
loans up to VND 4 million (about USD 252) to each household that
raises poultry. Small-scale poultry traders will also be
encouraged to shift to other occupations with a small subsidy of
VND 300,000 (about USD 19) per household for vocational training
and loans of up to VND 2 million (about USD 126) per trader.

4. (U) Major HCMC supermarkets are also taking Vietnamese poultry
products off their shelves. Citimart and Maximart, which have
tens of outlets in the HCMC area, told us they will stop selling
domestic poultry. Citimart has plans to stop selling eggs as well;
Maximart plans to continue selling both chicken and duck eggs,
though its egg sales are down by as much as 70 percent. The HCMC
outlets of Metro, a big-box quasi wholesaler stopped selling
domestic chicken at the beginning of November.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Though agriculture, including the raising of
livestock, only accounts for 2 percent of HCMC's GDP, local
agriculture experts say HCMC's policies set the standard for the
rest of southern Vietnam, particularly the Mekong Delta. It is
too early to tell whether other southern provinces will adopt
similar policies given that agriculture plays a much stronger role
in those economies. The fact that the GVN has halted the import
of unprocessed poultry products and the decision to remove local
poultry from supermarket shelves means that HCMC consumers will no
longer be able to put chicken on the table.

WINNICK

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