Bird flu spreads in MP, Kadaknath chicken sale in Malwa region causes concern
The sale of high-protein black meat chicken, also known as ‘Kadaknath’, from unregulated markets in Malwa region pose a big challenge for authorities.
Bird flu has spread to 21 out of Madhya Pradesh’s 52 districts with about 885 crows and nine heron deaths reported from the affected districts. While the presence of the virus was found in crows in nine districts, two of these nine districts also reported the virus in poultry and herons, as per officials.
Meanwhile, after the Bird flu was detected in poultry in Malwa region - Indore and Neemuch- the administration in nearby tribal-dominated districts of Jhabua and Alirajpur faces a major challenge in checking the spread of the virus given the sale of high-protein black meat chicken, also known as ‘Kadaknath’, from unregulated markets in the region.
Kadaknath is much in demand in Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere given its nutritional value. Backyard poultry farming is much popular among tribals in the region for the sake of good income, as per officials.
Malwa region is the worst affected by Bird flu in the state so far. While the chicken shops have been closed in Indore and Neemuch, officials in Jhabua and Alirajpur decided on Friday to launch a massive awareness campaign in the districts through the traditional methods like ‘Munadi’ or public announcements, pamphlets etc.
As per a state government communiqué, Bird flu virus has been confirmed in crows in Indore, Mandsaur, Agar, Neemuch, Dewas, Ujjain, Khandwa and Khargone, all districts in Malwa region, and Guna in central MP. Virus was confirmed in poultry samples from Indore and Neemuch, where the poultry markets in the affected and adjoining areas have been closed for seven days as precautionary measures.
Director of Animal Husbandry department Dr RK Rokde said, “Virus has been confirmed in herons’ samples too in Khandwa. We are waiting for reports from National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD) on samples of crows collected from at least 12 districts but it’s a matter of relief that except three to four districts in Malwa region including Indore, Mandsaur and Agar, where a good number of crows were found dead, the deaths of crows are not significant in number in other districts.” He said preventive measures are the best way to check the spread of the virus.
An agriculture scientist at Agriculture Science Centre, Jhabua, IS Tomar said that the spread of Bird flu in Jhabua and Alirajpur can be checked through awareness only as the districts have unregulated markets for sale of Kadaknath chicken and the practice of backyard poultry farming is also prevalent on a large scale in the district.
“How to minimise contact between fowls and human beings in such a situation is a major challenge. However, sale of Kadaknath has been reduced by 25% to 40% in Jhabua after the Bird flu scare. However, Bird flu has not been detected in the district so far.”
Alirajpur collector Surabhi Gupta said the administration had launched a massive campaign for awareness for prevention of the disease in chickens through traditional and non-traditional methods.
“The traditional methods include Munadi or announcement from village to village while beating a drum and distribution of pamphlets and non-traditional methods include use of social media like WhatsApp etc. So far, there is no presence of Bird flu in the district,” Gupta said.