“The government should establish a state-of-the-art High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Namakkal on a par with the only laboratory in the country in Bhopal,” Mohan Kumaramangalam, Honorary President of the Livestock and Agri Farmers Trade Association (LIFT) told newsmen here on Wednesday.

Mr. Mohan said that establishing the laboratory here will enable quicker analysis and early confirmation of any outbreak bird flu – or that this region is safe from the outbreak – and help the farmers to begin quarantine works immediately.

“It will also avoid the heavy loss suffered by farmers when products from this region are banned even when there is no outbreak in this region.

The lab will play a pivotal role in avoiding sudden bans being imposed on poultry products from Tamil Nadu by other States or countries importing those products from us.

We will also urge the Union Government to divide India into smaller trade zones – each State as a separate zone – to ensure that export of poultry products is not banned from across the country when there is an outbreak in other States,” he added.

Former General Secretary of the All India Youth Congress Jothimani, who helped farmers from Namakkal to make a representation to the Chief Minister of Kerala to lift the ban, told reporters that poultry farmers here are unorganised. “Had they been united the ban could have been lifted much earlier, averting everyday loss to the tune of Rs. 15 crore that was suffered by the egg and broiler industry,” she noted.

Focus

Secretary of the association Dr. P.V. Senthil said that focus will now be on lifting the ban on eggs from India that was imposed by nine countries in the Gulf following the bird flu outbreak in January 2006.

“Indian export market is worth Rs. 50,000 crore but the contribution of the poultry sector is less than two percent. Increasing exports will contribute to the growth of the export market and the industry as well,” he said.

Representatives of LIFT, National Egg Coordination Committee and the Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers’ Association thanked the efforts taken by the Chief Minister of Kerala, officials in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Government and the Namakkal district administration for the efforts taken by them to lift the ban that was imposed by the Kerala Government.

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