The EU Member States today (25 April) approved special funding for poultry farmers who are facing difficult market conditions and declining demand as avian influenza spreads, causing poultry prices to decline by 13%.

Agricultural ministers of member countries have agreed to allow national governments to provide relief to poultry farmers hit by the bird flu scare with the EU footing half the bill.

Officials were unable to put a figure on how much this would cost the EU, suggesting that this would be determined by national spending plans.

Italy has already set aside EUR100m (US$124m) for the struggling poultry industry and France has earmarked EUR52m to provide aid, but this is yet to be approved by the EU head office.

Europe has said it wants the subsidies to be used to cut poultry and egg production and reduce surplus stocks.