The Chilean minister of Agriculture announced a pioneering insurance policy for poultry farms to mitigate the impact of exotic diseases in the industry by benefiting backyard and industrial producers.

In a significant development for the Chilean poultry industry, the minister of Agriculture, Esteban Valenzuela, joined by representatives of ChileCarne and Chilehuevos, announced a new poultry insurance. The coverage focuses on the impacts of exotic diseases, such as avian influenza, protecting backyard farms with up to 1,000 birds or industrial farms up to 20,000.

Minister Valenzuela noted the collaboration between the ministry, the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), the public Agricultural Insurance Committee (Agroseguros), and the poultry industry associations to develop this insurance. “We called for tenders to implement this insurance for poultry exotic diseases for thousands of producers with up to 1,000 birds supported by the Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP). Small egg laying businesses, with up to 20,000 birds, will also benefit from it,” the minister explained.

The coverage includes culling mandated by the health authority due to exotic diseases such as avian influenza. “We have good news on the work against avian flu, with only six cases in December, all in wild birds. We are disease free, with no cases in small hen farmers either,” said Valenzuela on the current situation.

Representatives from the pork (ChileCarne) and egg producers (Chilehuevos) associations highlighted the significance of this insurance as part of the preventive measures that producers are taking to control the avian influenza outbreak.

Juan Carlos Domínguez, president of ChileCarne pointed out that “this insurance is complemented by the measures taken by producers. Chile was declared avian influenza-free in August 2023, and we are focusing on improving biosecurity measures in all of our farms to preserve that status. Each producer is responsible for their birds, their safety, and preventing contagion from wild birds, as well as for staying alert and prepared.”

Ignacio Correa, president of Chilehuevos added that “this policy allows 170 facilities, representing 5.3% of the country’s egg production, to have their birds insured. Some larger companies also have it, but we need to continue with this work. Today, 30% of the birds are covered, meaning that in case of an outbreak, the government, through the insurance company, will pay small producers, allowing them to continue production while guaranteeing the food security Chile needs.”

Alberto Niño de Zepeda, executive director of Agroseguros, detailed the conditions to access the policy, stressing the need to promptly report any case of avian influenza and comply with specific requirements depending on the type of production.

To receive compensation in the event of impacts caused by any of the diseases covered, the producer must comply with certain conditions. For backyard farms with up to 1,000 birds, farms must have the livestock ID number (RUP) required by the SAG and a closed coop if they have more than 50 birds, to prevent them from having contact with other animals, people, and vehicles.

Industrial farms with up to 20,000 birds need:

  • The RUP and a Livestock Stock Declaration (DEA) issued up to one year prior to the event, both required by the SAG.
  • Entry and exit control: Perimeter fencing to prevent the entry of unauthorized people, animals, and vehicles. All entries and exits must be recorded daily by the facility.
  • Health management: Keeping updated records of the birds’ health.
  • Handling of dead birds: Daily removal of carcasses from the pens and keeping mortality records. Having a closed area for carcass disposal away from the production area.

Carlos Orellana, head of the SAG’s Livestock Protection division, underscored the improvement in Chile’s avian influenza situation thanks to the collaboration between the public and private sectors. “We are better equipped to fight the disease,” Orellana said, “thus guaranteeing safe consumption of poultry products and our commitment to improving production and biosecurity standards.”