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Bird Flu Blamed for Consumer Price Hike

by 5m Editor
23 February 2010, at 7:05am

KOLKATA, INDIA - Bird flu is being blamed for the current rise in chicken prices in the city.

A demand-supply mismatch induced by the fear of a bird flu outbreak and a long winter has pushed up the price of chicken in the city, according to The Telegraph of India.

Two days ago, smaller broilers were selling for 95 rupees (INR) per kilo, and larger ones at INR92 in New Market, the biggest wholesale market for chicken in West Bengal. At retail markets in the city, chicken was selling for INR 105 to 108 a kg.

Retailers confirmed the sharp hike in chicken prices in the past three weeks.

Sheikh Babul, a retailer at Maniktala market, said: "The increase is INR 25 to 30 per kg."

Hatchery owners said the supply of chicken had fallen around 25 per cent because members of the West Bengal Poultry Federation had put hatching on hold for a number of days in late December, fearing a rerun of the avian influenza that broke out around this time in the past two years.

Ismail Khan, the general secretary of the New Market Poultry Association, said: "If production is less, there would be less birds to cull in case there was a bird flu scare."

Another reason for less supply was the long spell of winter.

Mr Khan told The Telegraph: "Extreme temperatures are not good for rearing poultry." According to wholesalers, prices will not dip for a month.