Farmers running poultry farms in Davangere district have demanded that the government clarify that there was no bird flu in Karnataka, which, they said, would fetch them “fair price” for their chicken.

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, leaders of the district poultry owners’ association O.B. Gurumurthy and Chennabasavaraj said that news that bird flu had been noticed in chicken at Hesaraghatta, near Bangalore, had resulted in chicken prices coming down drastically. Farmers used to sell chicken for not less than Rs.100 a kg till October 6, and now it was between Rs. 40 and Rs. 60, they said. They added that according to a rough estimate, poultry owners in the State had suffered loss of more than Rs. 100 crore since a month now.

Poultry sales had come down drastically along with the price, Mr. Gurumurthy said and added that many farmers who had sustained huge losses in agriculture had shifted to poultry. Taking exception to Minister for Animal Husbandry Revu Naik Belamagi’s “silence” on the issue, they demanded that the Minister declare that there was no bird flu in the State. This would help farmers get a fair price for their chicken. The State should also compensate poultry owners for their losses, they said.

The leaders also wanted the government to introduce an exclusive insurance scheme for poultry, for which it should pay the premium on behalf of poultry owners.