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For poultry players, 2006 failed to cluck

by 5m Editor
30 December 2006, at 5:41am

NAVAPUR, INDIA - The clucking of hens is conspicuous by its absence at Navapur’s poultry farms. Three giant cages at the Timol Poultry are empty. But they almost scream at you about the lows which the local poultry business has slipped to eleven months after the deadly bird flu was first detected here.

Timol’s owner, Abubakkar Timol, has not stocked up the layer birds since then. The news of bird flu breaking out caused him financial losses running into lakhs of rupees. He says he is still not keen on stocking up fearing another breakout of the disease. “I cannot take more losses,” he laments.

About 47 farms from the total 82 farms in Navapur, Maharashtra’s biggest layer bird cluster, are yet to restart business after the February cleansing. Total production has dropped to 10%.

In its prime, Navapur, with a capacity of 1.65 crore layer birds and 10-13 lakh a day egg-production in 82 poultry farms, enjoyed an annual turnover of Rs 50 crore. More than 5,000 people were employed directly and indirectly. Today, the egg production has slumped to around 1-1.5 lakh eggs a day.

Figures are difficult to collate in such as unorganised sector. But estimates suggest that the total loss that the poultry industry of Navapur took due to bird flu was around Rs 26 crore. That included the loss of birds (12 lakh), loss of poultry feeds (3.4 lakh kg), loss of poultry eggs (7 lakh), loss of manure (4,675 tonne), loss of raw materials (93,800 quintals), among others. The social and economic loss to the taluka is pegged at Rs 71 crore.

“It can’t get worse. We are even losing our men now,” laments Gulam Vohra, president of the Navapur Poultry Farmers Association. Almost 70% of the farm workers who have been unemployed due to the closure of the farms are moving toward Surat and other areas in search of employment.

Source: The Economic Times

5m Editor