“There is no question this will have an effect on imported feed grain products from the United States,” Julio Hernandez, director of the council's Mexican division, said in a written statement. “What that number will be is purely speculative at this point. What we do know is that the situation is expected to become worse before it gets better.”
More than 24 million egg-laying animals died or were sacrificed as a result of the outbreak last year. Poultry exports plummeted 68 percent year-over-year in 2012, while poultry imports rose 10 percent to compensate for losses, according to the Agricultural and Livestock Information System. Until the outbreak, Mexico was the world's fourth-largest poultry exporter.
The epidemic has halted exports of Mexican hen products to countries such as Japan, Vietnam and Hong Hong. Freight transportation costs, meanwhile, have increased, making exports less attractive to Mexican poultry producers, according to Jaime Crivelli, president of Mexico's Poultry Producers Association.