COVID-19: Demand for chicken dips

Demand for chicken slumped in the state in the wake of a scare over outbreak of coronavirus, affecting the poultry farmers.

Demand for chicken slumped in the state in the wake of a scare over outbreak of coronavirus, affecting the poultry farmers.   | Photo Credit: MASRIRAM

The demand for chicken has witnessed a slump in the State in the wake of scare over outbreak of COVID-19.

Though the government authorities had clarified that there were no reports confirming the involvement of poultry in the outbreak or spread of the virus, the consumption of poultry products, particularly chicken, has declined.

Fuelling the anxiety among chicken consumers was a series of “false and misleading” social media posts about the relationship between the virus and poultry products.

Coming down heavily on the “fake news”, the Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA) said the sale of chicken went down by 20% to 30% about a fortnight ago. But, the demand appears to be picking up now.

Manjesh Kumar, who heads the broiler coordination committee of KPFBA, told The Hindu that the weekly average demand for chicken fell from 1.6 crore kg–1.7 crore kg to 1.2 crore kg–1.3 crore kg two weeks ago.

However, thanks to the reassurance given to the consumers by Union and State governments, the demand is improving. “Now, the weekly demand is inching towards 1.5 crore kg a week now, but is yet to return to normal levels,” he said.

The poultry industry is glad that the Union Ministry of Animal Husbandry has clarified that chicken was safe for consumption. Echoing the Centre, the Secretary to the Government of Karnataka’s Department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries A.B. Ibrahim said COVID-19 spreads only from contact with infected persons and not through poultry.

KPFBA president Sushanth Rai said that “vested interests” were harming the poultry sector by spreading “fake news”. “Such misinformation is like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, fear is created among consumers thus depriving them of protein-rich and healthy food, and on the other, the farmer is economically affected,” he said.

“When the demand for chicken fell, the farmers were unable to stock the perishable commodity. The farm listing price of chicken fell from ₹90 per kg a month ago to just ₹55 a kg a fortnight ago. It has now marginally recovered to ₹60 a kg,” said Mr. Kumar.

Meanwhile, the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department has urged people not to believe the rumours and false information spread on social media.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 3:37:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/covid-19-demand-for-chicken-dips/article30844647.ece

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