The Indonesian government plans to continue promoting poultry meat, in spite of the threat of bird flu in the region.
The head of the avian influenza control unit at the Agriculture Ministry, Darminto, said that promoting chicken helps the government meet its goal of improving citizens’ nutrition.
“Chickens and ducks as well as their eggs are the cheapest available sources here compared to other protein sources like meat,” he said. According to Darminto, Indonesians’ protein consumption had increased from 5.2 grams per day to 6 grams per day by eating chickens.
Darminto said that his office did not intend to promote substitutes to chicken farming. “We have compelling reasons not to do what the Vietnamese government did,” he said. Vietnam decided to temporarily close down chicken farming and urged its farmers to turn to pig cultivation instead.
Meanwhile, Indonesian authorities have attributed the deaths of five members of one extended family to H5N1 avian influenza, and three surviving relatives are also suspected of having the virus.
Indonesia now has the second highest AI death toll after Vietnam. The virus is present in 27 of the 33 provinces in the archipelago.