Central China province to launch poultry insurance scheme

CHANGSHA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Central China's Hunan Province will pilot a poultry insurance scheme for farmers and enterprises this year to reduce economic losses caused by mass poultry deaths, local authorities announced on Thursday.

According to the website of the provincial animal husbandry and aquatic department, the poultry insurance scheme will provide risk guarantees for those who raise chickens, ducks or geese and suffer losses due to poultry deaths or culls caused by disease, natural disasters or accidents.

Farmers and enterprises must pay over 50 percent of insurance expenses, while the provincial government should offer a maximum of 40 percent of the total expenses. The remaining expenses will be covered by prefectures and cities, the department said.

It did not give the exact launch date of the poultry insurance program.

Hunan is a major poultry-producing province in China. The output value of the poultry industry was 30.8 billion yuan (about five billion U.S. dollars) last year, accounting for over 17 percent of the value of the animal husbandry sector.

However, due to the H7N9 virus, Hunan's poultry industry has suffered direct economic losses worth more than three billion yuan over the past year, the department said. H7N9 was first reported in China in March 2013.

To protect the poultry industry, many developing countries have launched poultry insurance schemes.

In China, Beijing, Shanghai and east China's Jiangsu Province have already piloted poultry insurance programs, the department said.