Impact of a potential avian flu outbreak in Ethiopia

A multimarket model analysis

The potential impact of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak in Ethiopia is assessed, specifically on the country’s poultry and associated sectors. Ethiopia has not yet experienced an HPAI outbreak but has experienced a scare. An HPAI outbreak would cause a supply and demand shock to the poultry sector. Whereas supply shocks would be related directly to the disease and be local, demand shocks would be more dispersed across regions. Results of a dynamic spatially disaggregated multimarket model indicate that, given the poultry sector’s small contribution to the Ethiopian economy, the likely overall effect of an HPAI outbreak on the economy would be small. Importantly, for the same reason that aggregate impacts are likely to be small, the livelihood impact could be large, because poor households participate significantly in poultry production.
Although an HPAI outbreak has not occurred in Ethiopia, risk assessment studies indicate that the threat of outbreak is high because of several factors, including bird flyways (Alemu et al. 2008, Stevens et al. 2009). The impact of such an eventuality has not been assessed in the literature and could provide valuable information to policymakers for advocacy and budgetary purposes. Moreover, it is important to analyze and understand the poultry sector features that would drive the magnitude and distributional effects of an HPAI outbreak on the Ethiopian economy. These features include the size and regional distribution of the poultry sector and the strength of backward and forward linkages with other sectors.

Thomas, Marcelle
Diao, Xinshen
Roy, Devesh
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Royal Veterinary College (RVC)
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