Chicken, egg sales come down again

Staff Reporter

News of bird flu in Jalgaon hits State's poultry sector just as it was recovering

State's poultry farmers losing up to Rs. 4 crores a dayGovernment urged to declare State a disease-free zone`Chicken mela' to be held in Bangalore on Sunday

Bangalore: The bird flu virus has reared its head again, this time at Jalgaon in Maharashtra. Just when people were beginning to think that consumption of poultry products was safe, the detection of bird flu cases again in Maharashtra has ruined everything for poultry farmers.

The consumption and sale of chicken and eggs has come down again, B.R. Sainath, zonal Chairman, National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), told presspersons here on Saturday.

He said that since February 18, the total loss is around Rs. 100 crores. "The poultry farmers in the State are incurring a loss of Rs. 3.5 crores to Rs. 4 crores a day," he said.

"No bird flu cases have been reported in the State. Chicken from other States is not sold here as we are one of the largest chicken producers in the country. Indian Airlines, Defence and Railways have reintroduced chicken on their menus. Chicken and egg consumption can be resumed," Mr. Sainath said.

`Chicken mela'

S. Trinadha Reddy, member of the NECC executive committee and poultry farmer, said the NECC along with the Karnataka Cooperative Poultry Federation (KCPF) has organised a "chicken mela" in Bangalore on Sunday. "The mela will be held in Shivajinagar and chicken and egg dishes will be distributed free of cost to over 25,000 people. So far, over 10 such melas have been held all over the State," he said.

G. Deve Gowda, Vice-President of the World Poultry Science Congress, said over 9,000 samples have been sent to the National Virology Institute, Bhopal, which have tested negative for bird flu. "The World Health Organisation has appreciated the steps taken by the Centre and State Governments to contain the spread of the virus. The Government should declare the State a disease-free zone, after which people will feel reassured and start consuming poultry products again," he said.

D.K. Kantaraju, President of the KCPF said the poultry and agriculture sectors are interdependent. "Chickens in the State consume over 11 lakh tonnes of agricultural products such as maize, ragi, bajra and by-products such as sunflower and groundnut cake. Owing to the large-scale consumption of agricultural products, farmers get an additional 40 per cent price realisation," he said.

Mr. Reddy said the Government should look into the list of demands submitted by the KCPF and the NECC at the mela held on February 28 in Bangalore and take appropriate action.