European champion in egg production, France will lose around 9% of its production this year because of the particularly deadly episode of avian flu, the interprofession announced Thursday in Paris.
Avian flu, which has caused the slaughter of 16 million poultry since November, has not spared the egg industry.
“It will take a year to get over it,” explained Philippe Juven, president of the egg inter-profession (CNPO), predicting “tensions on the market but no empty shelves”: “We don’t have not to fear shortages,” he said.
The interprofession estimates that three million laying hens were killed, out of a national herd of 48 million, as well as 800,000 pullets (which are not yet of laying age).
The virus has reached the Pays de Loire region where 18.6% of laying hens in France are concentrated and the main hatchery in the sector which produces around 40% of pullets.
In addition, the 19 departments of the Grand Ouest most affected by the virus are maintained at “high risk” of the spread of the virus.
“The pullets can neither enter nor leave the regulated areas, which prevents breeders in unscathed regions from receiving their future laying hens, who are not authorized to leave the regulated areas”, underlines the interprofession.
However, “most of the laying hens will be put in place in November” in the farms and “it takes six months before a pullet can lay”, explained Loïc Coulombel, vice-president of the CNPO.
In addition to avian flu, the egg industry must deal with rising production costs, which represents for the consumer an increase of “a few cents per box of eggs”. On organic, the increase is “four cents per egg”, said Philippe Juven.