Flu scare-hit pin hopes on chicken sales
FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Abdul (name changed) is the sole earning member of his family. Deserted by his father, he has a family of four to fend including mother and three siblings. Since the bird flu menace, Abdul is out of business. With a staggering debt on his head, he has closed his chicken shop and is now working part time in a mutton shop.india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 13:35 IST
FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Abdul (name changed) is the sole earning member of his family. Deserted by his father, he has a family of four to fend including mother and three siblings. Since the bird flu menace, Abdul is out of business. With a staggering debt on his head, he has closed his chicken shop and is now working part time in a mutton shop.
“I used to earn at least Rs 100 a day. Now, I am virtually hand to mouth”, he says. Echoes Javed, who works in a cooperative shop of chicken, “I used to get a commission of Rs 5 per kg and would earn around Rs 200 per day. Ever since the bird flu has spread its wings, I am earning a measly amount, making it difficult to meet my family’s needs.” “This is basically because of an intrinsic fear.
I have been eating chicken daily and nothing has happened to me. I don’t think there is any such disease”, says Javed. Mohammad Anees has been in poultry business for last several decades. “I have never witnessed such a financial calamity. If this continues, I will have to close my shop and plunge into something else. I have virtually earned nothing during the last two months. Despite plummeting the price to half there are hardly any takers,” he said.
Even as the state continues to grapple with the bird flu disease, for thousands of such persons in the poultry business, life has taken a negative trajectory. Besides bird flu does not fall it into natural calamity category. So they are not given any rehabilitation benefits.
The Reserve Bank of India has given a relief to the poultry farmers by deferring the loans for a year without any punitive interest. This would be applied to only those poultry farmers who have taken loans from bank.
Commissioner Veterinary Services Rajesh Rajora says that Madhya Pradesh had an annual poultry business of Rs 2500-3000 crore.
“There has been a loss of Rs 150-200 crore during the last two months,” he said. Rajora said the state government was considering the demand of the farmers that include providing of maize at BPL rate, electricity charges at the minimal agricultural rate and no restriction in movements.
“We have also advised them to refocus their marketing strategies”, he says adding, “ It is fundamentally a scare and the threat perception is high. However, the situation has eased a little.”
But for the several thousands of poultry farmers and as many in this business, bird flu has hammered a pernicious fiscal burden.
Out of business and dejected, they are living on the hope that the ‘winged species’ would once again bring their business back on the rails.