A third of farm-raised chicken in Bangladesh has been decimated by the latest outbreak of the bird-flu, a top poultry farmer said, demanding compensation for the affected farms.
According to the farmer, the government needed to roll up its sleeve and help the affected farms with compensation and vaccines in an effort to prevent Avian Influenza from inflicting a mortal blow to the key industry.
"We've estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 poultry firms have been affected by bird-flu. Unfortunately the government shows it only 153," said Syed Abu Siddique, president of the Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association. He said the outbreak has cut chicken production by more than 33 per cent in the country's 150,000-farm strong poultry sector.
Siddique said the government has exempted the industry from a number of taxes for the next couple of years in a bid to boost its growth and make the country self-sufficient in bird and egg production."But no fiscal measures could bail out the industry unless bird flu is controlled and the affected farms are paid damages," he said.
The government has recently waived all taxes on the poultry sector and offered tax-holiday facilities for the next two years to 2013. Mr. Siddique praised the government's latest fiscal boost, but he said the government should also come up with an effective and long term strategy to fight Avian Influenza.
"At the end of the day, no tax benefits will count if we can't save our chickens from bird-flu," he said.
Bird flu or H5N1 first broke out in the country in 2007 when more than a million chickens were culled and tens of thousands of small farms were closed as the flu ravaged the industry for more than six months.
Officials said the outbreaks this year are already three times higher than the same period last year, prompting the authorities to announce major bio-security surveillance in the main poultry farming region.
Source: The Financial Express