Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have ordered closer management of live poultry markets in order to prevent the potential spread of an avian influenza epidemic.
The municipal People’s Committee has tasked the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with monitoring and punishing any poultry selling locations that operate without a permit and violate food safety regulations.
According to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters' observations, multiple makeshift poultry markets have mushroomed in several districts, including Hoc Mon, Binh Chanh, Go Vap, and Binh Tan.
At one location on Phan Van Doi Street in Hoc Mon District, nearly ten vendors were selling over 100 live chickens, with prices ranging from VND80,000 (US$3.5) to VND100,000 ($4) per kilogram.
Along a section of Dang Thuc Vinh Street in Hoc Mon, about five makeshift poultry markets have been established by merchants form other provinces.
At the store of a man named T., which was opened in front of his tenanted house, a wide variety of chickens, ducks, and pigeons were on sale. T. would also slaughter the animals at the request of his customers.
“I only sell a score of the poultry each day. There’s no need for quarantine,” T. said.
Several unofficial markets in the neighborhood are still operating on a daily basis despite being forced to shut down by local authorities several times.
According to Phan Xuan Thao, head of the Veterinary Department under the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the city has only permitted one facility in Go Vap District to produce enough poultry for the southern hub with a capacity of 70,000 units per day.
About 103 locations across the city that sell live fowls with permits were also recorded in January, Thao said, adding that most of them were located in outlying districts.
Such activities pose a high risk of spreading an avian influenza outbreak, threatening the health of the community, the official stated.