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Bird flu hit 5 States; no impact on poultry trade, yet

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 06, 2021

The Animal Husbandry Department workers cull ducks in Alappuzha in Kerala on Tuesday   -  -

Kerala announces compensation of ₹200 per bird culled; M.P. bans poultry from South

As many as five States reported an outbreak of avian flu in some pockets, prompting the Centre to set up a national control room and despatch experts to Kerala and Haryana.

Apart from these two States, bird flu cases, not yet in poultry but in crows and migratory birds, were detected in Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

According to an official statements issued in Delhi, there are three epicentres of bird flu — in Madhya Pradesh at Mandsaur, Indore and Malwa; Panchkula in Haryana and Kangra in Himachal Pradesh.

Kunji Lal Meena, Principal Secretary (Agriculture) to the Rajasthan government, said over a thousand crows were found dead due to avian flu, which is feared to be present in 19 districts. “But all 2,500 poultry units in the State are safe and proactive measures have been taken to protect them,” Meena said.

While Kerala, where nearly 70,000 ducks which either died or were culled, announced a compensation up to ₹200 per bird. Madhya Pradesh government announced a ban on poultry from southern States. The bird flu scare has impacted chicken consumption, which dropped about 40 per cent on Tuesday, said B Soundararajan, Chairman, Suguna Group. “We will have to wait and see how long it will continue,” he said. The daily consumption of chicken in the country is around 10 million birds, he said.

However, Sushant Rai, President of the Karnataka Poultry Farmer Breeders Association, saw no impact on sales so far. Trade sources in Telangana, too, said there had been no impact on sales.

Chicken prices steady

Binny Emmatty, State President of Poultry Farmers and Traders Samithy in Kerala, said bird flu, detected in the Kuttanad region, has not affected poultry trade in the State. With demand sustaining, broiler chicken prices are steady at ₹116 a kg, up by ₹2 in the last two days. The poultry meat market in Kerala is estimated at one crore kg per week valued at ₹100 crore.

The causative H5N8 virus does not transmit to humans normally but there is the risk of mutation, said K Raju, Kerala Minister for Forests and Animal Husbandry, adding that this calls for observing caution the next 10 days. Ban on sales on bird meat and eggs in the affected areas will stay for the time being.

(With inputs from Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram bureaus)

Published on January 06, 2021

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