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Bird flu scare takes toll on poultry industry

Peak season prices for poultry products go down by 10-15% across the country

Komal Amit Gera  |  Chandigarh 

The demand for poultry products has been hit in the peak demand season due to the bird flu scare in Kerala and Chandigarh. Prices of poultry products in different parts of the country have gone down by 10-15 per cent.

The two major poultry clusters at Namakkal in Tamil Nadu and Barwala in Haryana have faced a supply glut in the past two weeks, due to reports of outbreak of bird flu.

Shabeer Khan, convenor of the Poultry Federation of India, said the average price at the farm level had slipped from Rs 3.90 apiece to Rs 3.70 in the northern region. He said central government officials had collected samples of birds and reports were awaited. All reports till now have been negative.

Samples of birds from Barwala and Chandigarh have been sent to the high-security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal, and the reports are awaited.

D Chandershikhran, professor of animal nutrition, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal, Tamil Nadu, said as swine and birds were not reared together in India there was no fear of spread of an infection. "The fear psychosis may affect demand but it is a temporary effect."

Egg prices in Nammakal are in the range of Rs 3.16 to Rs 3.20 apiece. The price per egg was close to Rs 3.76 two weeks back. The situation is not as worrisome as last year when prices dropped from Rs 4 per egg to Rs 2.50 per egg in the same season, Chandershikhran added.

Egg demand shoots up in the months of December and January as temperatures dip in the north. Demand was stable in the states of Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, said P Tamil Arson of Pepe Farms Namakkal, and reviving in Kerela. The Christmas festival may also boost the demand.

Parmod Singla, president of Haryana Poultry Farmers' Association, said demand was not affected much but the price per egg had been affected. The prices of eggs and broiler had dwindled by 15 per cent in the region, he added. There has not been much effect on the export of eggs from Barwala to neighbouring states.

A senior official at Republic of Chicken, a chain of poultry outlets that has two processing units 60 km from Chandigarh, said they were geared up for such situations but refused to divulge if the business had been affected.

Poultry farmers have been organising egg and chicken festivals and free feasts to mobilise consumers to buy poultry products.

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First Published: Thu, December 25 2014. 22:35 IST