Retail price of chicken at 5-year low of 4,985 won

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Retail price of chicken at 5-year low of 4,985 won

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The retail price of chicken hit a five-year low this month after an outbreak of avian influenza lasting more than 190 days triggered a prolonged slump in demand.

The price fell to 4,985 won ($4.80) per kilogram, an 11.1 percent decrease compared to January before the highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, H5N8, swept the country, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said yesterday.

The average chicken price stood at 5,728 won last year. The average retail price of a kilogram of chicken was 5,425 won in 2012 and 5,890 won in 2011.

The price of chicken began sharply falling in the second quarter, from 5,997 won in May to 5,246 won in June and 5,343 won in July.

Approximately 14 million birds were culled at poultry farms nationwide, incurring 400 billion won in losses. The outbreak caused consumers to avoid duck meat and roasted chickens, two popular dishes.

Compounding the problem, farms increased the number of chicks raised, expecting that the 2014 FIFA World Cup and hot summer weather would boost demand. Koreans used to enjoy samgyetang, or hot chicken soup, during the summer season to restore their health. Many people also have roasted chicken delivered at night during big international sporting events like the World Cup.

The number of chickens in poultry farms increased by 30 percent compared to the same period a year ago, surpassing one billion. More than 10 million chickens are in frozen storage, double the amount last year.

“It’s very rare that the price of chicken slumps to this extent,” said a public relations official of Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation, a state-run corporation that monitors prices and livestock under the Agricultural Ministry. “So, we are trying to find ways to minimize the effects of the diminishing prices.”



BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]
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