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Poultry Blues: Blow Hot, Blow Cold Time for Poultry Sector

A fresh case of bird flu in Maharashtra has ruffled up chicken feathers again. More like the lull before a storm, chicken prices which were stabilizing// , have again plummeted following incidents of bird-flu in Maharashtra during the last few days.

There have been few takers for chicken after customers heard reports that Shiddlaghatta in Kolar district and parts of Hyderabad-Karnataka have been hit by bird-flu. The losses to the poultry industry have been huge, almost above Rs 150 crore and poultry farmers are unable to bear the brunt of this onslaught.

The relentless efforts of the NECC and the Karnataka Hatcheries Association (KHA) had improved the chicken trade. The price of live chicken after having gone up to Rs 40 per kg has again crashed to RS 16-18 per kg. Egg prices have fallen to 45 paisa per egg.

Nanda Kumar, chairman, KHA, said, 'Our situation has turned from bad to worse after the Jalagaon case of bird flu. There are not many takers for our chicken in many parts of the state. Consumption and prices are falling rapidly.'

Sainath, National Egg Coordination Committee chairman for Karnataka, said, 'We are absolutely helpless. It is very unfortunate that the farmers are getting only 45 paise per egg after making so much investment. After Jalagaon reported bird flu, there is little movement in the market.'

G Krishnappa, director, Institute of Animal Health & Veterinary Biologicals made a consoling statement, when he said, 'There is no bird flu in Karnataka. The death of birds in Shidlaghatta may have happened from certain other diseases that occur during the summer season. There is no reason for worry.'

The district administration in Belgaum has banned the entry of birds and eggs into the state.


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