India's poultry industry is eagerly waiting for the country to be declared avian flu free, possibly next week, to cash in on demand from overseas particularly the Middle// East.
"We are looking to the opening up of the export market with the notification by the government that India is free of avian flu," O.P. Singh, CEO of National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), told IANS from Pune.
"Most countries, particularly in the Middle East, are also waiting for the notification so that they can switch back to India for sourcing eggs," he said in a telephonic interview.
Many countries prefer to import Indian eggs as they are of good quality besides costing around four times less than those from Europe. Till early this year India exported around six million eggs daily, including table and hatching varieties.
The industry feels that administrative delay is holding up the notification. In the 90 days since the last cleaning and sanitizing operation was done, no incidence of avian flu has been reported in the country.
According to NECC estimates, the poultry industry's losses were around Rs.128 billion since the first outbreak of avian flu was reported in February in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra until June 30.
Although the demand and retail prices of poultry products have picked up in some parts of the country, industry sources maintained that farmers were still not getting remunerative prices.
The department of animal husbandry officials too feel that notification of avian flu-free status would help the poultry trade.
"We are in the final stages of preparing and will notify OIE (the global organisation for animal health) within a week. The whole process requires verification to ensure that OIE guidelines have been complied with," S.K. Bandhopadyay of the animal husbandry commission told IANS.
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