Bird flu ban crippling poultry industry in Indian state
The poultry industry in the India state of Karnataka is losing hundreds of thousands of euros waiting for its neighbour state Kerala to lift its poultry ban following an outbreak of bird flu.
As Karnataka’s poultry industry holds its breath, Kerala has scheduled a high-level meeting to discus the lifting of the ban. Sources believe the chance is remote as Kerala’s minister of animal husbandry KP Mohanan doesn’t want to take a risk by allowing poultry products before the end of the incubation period
Hundreds of trucks loaded with chicken and eggs were stranded at important checkposts such as Palakkad, Sulthanbatheri and Iritty after the Kerala government imposed a ban on the entry of poultry products from Karnataka due to the outbreak of avian influenza at a poultry farm situated at Hesaraghatta.
It is estimated more than 1,200,000 eggs are supplied to Kerala from 55 poultry farms in and around Mysore, Karnataka’s second largest city.
According to MP Sateesh Babu, chairman, National Egg Coordination Committee, Mysore zone, the poultry industry is expected to sustain a daily loss of over 350,000 euros.
“We have made all attempts to convince the Kerala government, but in vain. We do not know what to do with the excess stock of eggs. We have even tried to supply to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, but the drop in egg prices have made us think twice before embarking on such a plan,’’ Babu said.
According to Babu, there are 17.5 million birds at various poultries across Karnataka while Andhra Pradesh stands first with 75 million birds and Tamil Nadu second with 47.5 million birds. “There are 224 million birds at poultry farms situated across the country. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have the major share in poultry products exports among all the states in the country,’’ he said.
Recalling the efforts made to convince the Kerala government about the need to lift the ban on poultry products, he said a five-member team from Mysore had visited Kerala to meet KP Mohanan. “We have explained to them that the birds are from various poultry farms in and around Mysore and there was no outbreak of virus in the area. I was surprised to hear minister Mohanan say that many people have died of avian influenza. I was surprised to hear a minister, representing a state that boasts of 100% literacy, making such statements without verifying facts or having proper knowledge about avian influenza,’’ he said.
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