Cablegate: Avian Flu Update: Poultry Consumption Lags

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

101559Z Dec 05




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) BAGHDAD 4823, B) STATE 216147

1. SUMMARY: From November 26-30, Embassy
Agriculture Attache and Senior Agricultural Advisor
visited Kurdish governorates and met with the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of
Agriculture to follow up on U.S. poultry imports
since the lifting of the import ban on poultry (ref
A). According to private sector sources,
consumption of poultry in Iraq has decreased 25
percent since the discovery of highly pathogenic
avian influenza (HPAI) in Turkey. Post has
disseminated widely the information provided in
reftel B to relevant Iraqi officials. END SUMMARY.

2. During Iraq's recent import prohibition on
poultry, the information included in reftel A was
provided to all relevant GOI ministries and to
Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) officials -- the
latter having direct control of the major point of
entry with Turkey at Ibrahim Khalil (aka Habur
Gate). (NOTE: The information provided urged
compliance with World Organization for Animal Health
and World Trade Organization protocols. These
emphasize that all actions taken to protect Iraq
from avian influenza should be based on sound
science and that, as an AI-free country, products
from the U.S. pose no risk to either human or animal
health. END NOTE.)

3. From November 26-30, Embassy Agriculture Attache
and Senior Agricultural Advisor visited the Kurdish
governorates. On November 27, they met with the KRG
Minister of Agriculture to follow up on the poultry
import ban, again stressing the points provided by
reftel A. The trip also included a short visit to
the Ibrahim Khalil border complex, where Mission
officers met with the facility director and the
principal animal quarantine officer. The KRG
officials all knew of U.S. concerns regarding the
import ban and agreed to work closely with the
Mission in addressing any related issues in the

4. Although security conditions make it difficult to
gauge effectively the impact of the highly
pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) situation on
domestic poultry consumption, private sector trade
contacts indicate that consumption has fallen 25
percent since the HPAI finding in Turkey and the
subsequent closing of the border, which received
extensive local media coverage. While in Kurdistan,
however, the Embassy officers visited a modern
supermarket where they noted Brazilian poultry
products (frozen whole birds and processed products)
on sale. Traders handling U.S. poultry products
indicate their major market in Iraq is the Baghdad
area. The traders with whom the Mission has
communicated all agree that increased promotion of
poultry is needed.

5. Post appreciates the additional background
provided in reftel B and will continue to monitor
the situation.


© Scoop Media

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