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Kerala's move may not help poultry industry

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Special Correspondent

Perceptible decline in demand for chicken and eggs in Kerala

More than 80 per cent of the poultry produce from the district is sent to Kerala. Dealers feel that price of poultry products will begin to dip from Thursday Plan to conduct chicken melas to allay people's fears

MYSORE: The poultry industry in Mysore is beginning to feel the pinch of the bird flu scare as there is a perceptible decline in demand for chicken and eggs in Kerala, a major market for poultry products from the district.

Satish Babu, president, Mysore District Poultry Farmers Association, told The Hindu that the Kerala Government has agreed to let trucks with poultry produce into their State provided it is certified fit for consumption.

People hesitant

But the lifting of ban will not bring normality to the local poultry industry as there has been a decline in the demand for chicken and eggs. "Lifting of the ban will not solve our problem as the public is guarded and hesitant to opt for chicken-based dishes due to the bird flu scare," said Mr. Babu.

More than 80 per cent of the poultry produce from the district is sent to Kerala.

Mr. Babu said there is a general perception among poultry dealers in the district that the price of poultry products will begin to dip from Thursday.

Even if the price falls by 20 paise an egg it will be a colossal loss for the poultry industry, which has a narrow profit margin of 10 per cent to 12 per cent. The annual investment on maintaining one chicken in a poultry farm is Rs. 300.

Investment required

A farm with 1,000 chickens requires an investment of Rs. 3 lakhs, including veterinary care, chicken feed, water, electricity and salary to workers. But the rate of return on investment is low and it takes about six to eight years for the farmers to start making profit, said Mr. Babu.

If the bird flu scare persists, the poultry industry in the district may be doomed and it will take many months for the industry to recover.

Local demand

"In Mysore, the demand for eggs continues to be steady, but there is a decline in demand for chicken dishes. Hence, we are planning chicken melas and will rope in celebrities to participate in it and consume chicken-based dishes to send positive signals to the public," said Mr. Babu.

Mysore is the hub of the poultry industry in the State and has an annual turnover of nearly Rs. 300 crores. Other major centres known for poultry industry in the State after Mysore are Hospet, Davangere and Bellary.

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