Bird flu scare in Telangana
Bird flu scare in Telangana

Avian influenza: Falling poultry prices worry Telangana farmers, sellers

However, some are confident that the industry will bounce back as strains of the bird flu have been seen since 2006.

The panic triggered by the threat of the new strain of avian influenza going around has worried farmers and poultry and poultry products sellers in Telangana. They fear that the flu scare has resulted in the poultry industry suffering losses as the price of chicken and eggs continue to plummet each day. The poultry industry in the state, which is just recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, is yet again facing a mounting challenge to sustain itself.

In view of the crisis, poultry breeder associations are urging farmers against panic-selling for lower rates. The associations are urging farmers to use the government cold storage facilities in case the price crashes further. The charges for renting the facility are subsidized.

Cases of bird flu have been reported from states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Kerala. Kerala has already declared the avian influenza as a state disaster and banned the use and sale of poultry eggs and meat. Orders have been issued to cull the birds to contain the spread of the disease.

Speaking to TNM, a worried Gurram Chandrasekhar Reddy, Hyderabad Zone Chairman of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), said, “The prices of eggs and chicken are rapidly dropping due to the panic. The malicious rumours spread during the coronavirus lockdown had already affected the industry, now yet again the business has suffered due to the present scare. For the past two days, there has been a significant drop in the sale of eggs.”

Prices of eggs have declined by 60 paise each. On Thursday, each egg was sold at Rs 4.60, which came down to Rs 4 on Friday.  Live hens previously sold for Rs 87 are now being sold for Rs 70. “The production cost itself for each bird is Rs 80, how can we make any profit?” Reddy lamented.

While the price of chicken has dropped, its consumption is largely the same, according to Ezhil Annamalai Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Srinivasa Hatcheries. 

Annamalai is confident that the industry would recover quickly. “This crisis is a temporary phenomenon. We are asking the farmers to use the government cold storages in case the prices crash further and we are against panic-selling. For three months the rent for storing 210 eggs is just Rs 18,” he said.

Annamalai said that they are also trying to educate the farmers about bird flu so that they would not sell chicken and eggs at throwaway prices. “Bird flu has become common since 2006. Eating eggs and chicken which are perfectly cooked at home is completely safe. We are trying to tell this to the farmers as well,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Telangana Animal Husbandry department has collected over 1,000 samples from poultry farms across the State and sent them for testing at the Telangana State Veterinary Biological Research Institute.

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