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Iraqi firm may buy meat products from Kerala
George Iype in Kochi | February 02, 2004 10:41 IST
Last Updated: February 02, 2004 11:12 IST
The Asian bird flu epidemic has led an Iraqi business delegation to visit Kerala to buy chicken from the state government-run Meat Products of India.
A team of Iraqi businessmen met MPI officials last week and discussed a contract to import huge quantities of canned chicken -- especially canned chicken legs and breasts -- from Kerala.
MPI has modern abattoirs in Koothattukulam, some 40 kilometers east of Kochi, to process various meat products like poultry, pork, cattle and quail.
MPI Managing Director Ani S Das said the Iraqis were impressed by the quality and hygiene standards of the company's meat products.
"We hope to strike a huge export deal with the Iraqi firm soon. To begin with, it will be some 400 tonnes of chicken per month," Das told rediff.com on Monday.
He said the Iraqi firm is privately owned and has "nothing to do with the Iraqi government."
The Iraqi businessmen approached MPI after the outbreak of avian flu in South Asia. India has not been affected by the disease so far.
Poultry from Kerala is in great demand in Gulf countries, MPI officials said, and that may be one reason why the Iraqi businessmen are here.
Kerala State Poultry Development Corporation Managing Director M Suresh Kumar said the corporation has sent scientists to poultry firms across the state to prevent bird flu.
India last week banned imports of processed poultry and announced measures to prevent an outbreak of bird flu.
The Union health ministry has asked all states to immediately report incidents of bird flu and destroy all chickens on farms where such cases are found.