The poultry industry that was recently battered by the coronavirus pandemic is braving yet another storm in the form of avian flu. Due to the fear of bird flu that has been confirmed in multiple states across the country, sale in the poultry industry has seen a dip. Transportation of hens from one state to another has been banned in North India resulting in significant dip in sales of chicken and chicken products.
It must be mentioned here that bird flu in poultry chickens have so far been found only in Haryana. The cases were found in layer farms where poultry farming is done for eggs. Otherwise, most of the bird deaths that have occurred were of wild birds or migratory birds. A few cases of bird flu in poultry ducks have also been found.
However, it has not stopped sales as well as prices of chicken and chicken products from dipping. Poultry Federation of India President, Ramesh Khatri, told new agency IANS that chicken sales had fallen by almost 70 to 80 per cent over the last three to four days, while prices had fallen by 50 per cent and egg prices had also come down by nearly 15 to 20 per cent.
Farmgate prices of broiler chicken dipped from Rs 130-140 in Delhi to Rs 85-105 per kg. In Maharashtra, chicken prices have dropped from Rs 82 to Rs 58 per kg, while in Gujarat it has fallen from Rs 94 to Rs 65 and from Rs 80 to 70 in Tamil Nadu.
Wholesale rates of eggs that had crossed Rs 6 in Delhi in the beginning of the month have dropped to Rs 4.38. In Gujarat it has dropped from Rs 5.45 in the beginning of the month to Rs 4.4, while in Maharashtra it has dropped from Rs 5.45 to Rs 4.8. In Tamil Nadu, egg prices had touched Rs 5.22 in the beginning of the month and dipped to Rs 4.22.
Khatri said that the primary reason for falling demand for chicken is the movement of poultry from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir has been banned in multiple states. He added that he would ask the government to save the industry from rumour-mongering.
A delegation from the poultry industry would meet Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday.
Rakesh Manhas, poultry farm operator told IANS that he would urge the government to look into rumours that cause great loss to the industry.
Animal Husbandry Commissioner Praveen Malik told the agency that there is no direct evidence of bird flu being transmitted to humans by eating contaminated poultry products. Cleanliness, hygiene and cooking and processing standards are effective in preventing the spread of the virus.
Agricultural economist and Poultry Federation of India advisor, Vijay Sardana said that the country's poultry industry is worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore, which came down to half during the pandemic.
Also read: Bird flu outbreak confirmed in 10 states