Exports to increase, industry still on AI alert

09-11-2006 | |

Demand for Indian poultry exports is expected to increase next month, now that the country’s trading partners have been told it is free of bird flu, according to a senior government official.

When avian influenza was found in India earlier in the year, a number of countries stopped buying its poultry products. India declared itself free of bird flu in August after nearly four months with no reported cases in poultry.
“We will get to see the impact of bird flu on exports this year, but countries will start importing again by December as we have written to them that India is bird flu free now,” said Charusheela Sohoni, secretary of the Department of Animal Husbandry (DAH).
Poultry exports were 3.26 billion rupees (56 million euro/ US$71.6 million)in the financial year ended March 2006, up from 1.54 billion rupees in 2004/05.
But India is still on high alert in all states as winter approaches and the migratory season begins.
‘We have given clear instruction to all our states to be on vigil. The alert will be in place till February next year,’ said Upma Chawdhry, joint secretary of the DAH.
As the virus has resurfaced in a number of countries, including Thailand, the government is on its toes to deal with the menace.
The first confirmed avian flu case in India, now free from the disease, was reported in Navapur in Maharashtra on 18 February.
Chawdhry urged commercial poultry farm owners to maintain hygiene to effectively deal with the problem.
India’s poultry industry produces 1,800 million kg of meat every year and 42 billion eggs. It provides employment to nearly three million people.