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No sources for bird flu compensations to poultry sector

A month after a cabinet approval on Ft 3.5 billion (€14 million) of funding to gauge the effects of the outbreak of the bird flu on Hungary's poultry industry, the Finance and Agricultural Ministries are still haggling on how to finance the cause now seen even by the European Union as worthy of support, national business daily Világgazdaság reported.

European Union Agricultural Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel and EU farm ministers agreed yesterday that the situation was too serious for national governments to handle on their own, but suggested cutting back on production as the ultimate response to the sharp decline in demand for poultry products, Világgazdaság said. Alongside the EU's market-oriented approach, Hungary's farm ministry envisaged compensations of Ft 50 million-Ft 100 million (€200,000-€400,000) to farmers for keeping their fowl on longer and Ft 900 million (€3.6 million) for salmonella disinfection, as well as a capital injection of Ft 1 billion-Ft 1.5 billion (€4 million-€6 million) to the ministry-owned processing company Atev, in order to charge Ft 20 less per kilo for destroying dead birds. 

In addition to these items budgeted for but not yet backed by actual resources, the ministry is looking for EU approval to offering farmers subsidised and low-interest loans of Ft 1 billion (€4 million) to make up for losses on storing unsold fowl. While still keeping the focus on lowering production, the EU has agreed to increase export subsidies to the poultry sector from January, and for partial financing of culling and disinfecting.