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Poultry Prices, Exports Hit by Bird Flu

by 5m Editor
17 December 2008, at 9:29am

INDIA - The return of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) to three states has hit the poultry industry hard. The Government is working out package for bird flu victims.

Financial Express of India reports that poultry prices across the country has dropped by around 25-30% in the last one month following a fresh outbreak of bird flu, this time in northeastern state of Assam. Officials said that exports could also be hit as many countries have put poultry imports from India under the 'watch-list' although no one has yet officially banned imports.

The latest outbreak, which had its epicentre in the Kamrup district in Assam, came just days after India regained its 'bird flu-free' status from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), almost eight months after it was struck by the worst case of bird flu in West Bengal.

The disease has now again spread to West Bengal, putting the more-than Rs 40,000-crore poultry sector into turmoil during the peak demand season of Christmas and New Year. Poultry industry sources said that although traces of virus have been found in the northeastern parts of the country, it has set off a panic sale amongst poultry farmers, which has led to decline in the broiler prices in range of 25-30% across the country in the past month.

"There is some panic selling among poultry farmers and traders are also taking advantage of the situation by forcing farmers to sale broilers at lower rates," Ricky Thaper, treasurer, Poultry Federation of India (PFI), told the newspaper. According to the PFI, the live weight of each kg of broiler in New Delhi and the adjoining areas has declined from Rs 55-Rs 60 in November, to Rs 42 at present.

Industry sources said that due to a good soybean crop this year, poultry feed prices are down to Rs 14,000 per tonne. Poultry feed comprises of around 70% of the total cost of producing of eggs and chicken. Although Indian exports of poultry products is not significant in comparison to the size of domestic market, the bird flu outbreak has adversely affected the country's exports to traditional overseas markets like the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Financial Express added that, according to an official from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), countries like Muscat, the UAE and others have put imports of poultry products from India on their watchlists. India's export of poultry products has increased from Rs 287 crore during 2004-05 to Rs 350 crore during 2007-08. The major markets for Indian poultry-products exports are the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Germany and Japan.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.