`Poultry farmers will land in dire straits'

Our Bureau

Hyderabad, March 19

The continuing adverse impact of the bird flu is pushing the poultry sector into a major crisis. Efforts should be made to bring the plight of the farmers to the notice of the Government for necessary relief, rehabilitation and industry recovery.

Stating this, the Chairperson of the National Egg Co-ordination Committee (NECC), Ms Anuradha J. Desai, said the industry has suffered Rs 7,000 crore losses and was still losing Rs 200 crore every day.

About Rs 12,000 crore is the outstanding by the poultry sector to the banks. In addition, farmers owe about Rs 22,000 to 25,000 crore to traders of feed ingredients and feed mills etc, she said in a communication to the executive members of NECC across the country.

If the present condition continues, farmers will go bankrupt and will never be able to repay banks or other creditors. The bird flu scare has resulted in the collapse of egg and chicken market, she said. The farm-gate price of egg and chicken have dropped to 15-20 per cent of the production cost. "It is ironic that the fate of the large sector in which livelihoods of millions of persons are involved was being decided by the report and judgement of just one lab and one person," she said.

The NECC urged the industry players and media to spread awareness and avoid panic. It quoted the World Health Organisation to state that chicken and eggs when properly cooked were safe to eat.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 20, 2006)
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