Says vaccination is part of the solution

Our Bureau

Hyderabad, April 16

The Union Government is contemplating allocation of surplus foodgrains not fit for human usage to the poultry industry that has been hit hard by the bird flu crisis in the last few months.

Though there was no decision taken yet on the issue, there was thinking in the Government in this regard, Mr Arvind Kaushal, Joint Secretary (Animal Husbandry) in the Union Ministry of Agriculture, said.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, he said there were requests from several quarters requesting the Government to channelise the surplus food grains to the industry.

"We seek inputs from the industry to evolve a mechanism," he said.

Vaccination

Earlier addressing the seventh national seminar of the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA), he said vaccination to birds was just part of the overall strategy in protecting the industry from bird flu.

The SEA, an association of vegetable oil industry, focussed on popularising oilmeal usage in compound feeds for cattle, poultry and aqua sectors in the seminar. "There is no need for vaccination as the outbreak doesn't cover even one per cent of the total 489 million bird population. We can go for it when it is warranted that too in affected areas. As of now, it is not advisable," he said.

Strongly defending the Government's decision to admit the incidence of the disease, he said there was no pressure or provocation. Keeping mum on the issue would have resulted in greater loss to the industry in the long term.

Influenza-free zones

On demands for declaring aviation influenza-free zones, he said such creation would involve both positive and negative features. It did give people in unaffected areas the influenza-free tag, but it would also mean a lot of difficulty in movement of products from one zone to another.

As of now the whole country was a single zone. Outbreak of the disease in one place would have impact on the entire country. There had been demands from a section of the industry, calling for creation of special zones.

"It, however, doesn't happen overnight. It is a long overdrawn process," he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 17, 2006)
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