Bulgarian poultry farmers who have witnessed declining sales due to the bird flu threat are likely to be granted between 7m Bulgarian levs (US$4.4m) and 10m levs compensation from the Bulgarian Government, Agriculture Minister Mihat Kabil said in a television interview with bTV.

Poultry sales have dropped by 60% since the beginning of 2006. Poultry producers have cut production by 30%, and are requesting exemption from value added tax (VAT) and state subsidies to bolster the industry.

Kabil said that the Bulgarian poultry industry had been damaged by the cases of avian influenza reported in Turkey, the countries southerly neighbour. The problem is due to be addressed by representatives of the agriculture and finance ministries in an extraordinary meeting at the Economy Ministry.