Will poultry biz chicken out?
OWNERS of more than 200 poultry farms spread across Lucknow are once again facing a difficult situation. It is similar to the one faced by them in 2004 when the avian flu scare made hotel and dhabha owners across the State drastically cut their supplies of chicken, fearing massive losses in the winter of 2004.india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 01:15 IST
OWNERS of more than 200 poultry farms spread across Lucknow are once again facing a difficult situation.
It is similar to the one faced by them in 2004 when the avian flu scare made hotel and dhabha owners across the State drastically cut their supplies of chicken, fearing massive losses in the winter of 2004.
The owners of poultry farms in and around Lucknow now feel that the current avian flu scare is for real as there are confirmed reports of fowl deaths in Maharashtra.
All this will severely impact on their businesses, if the State Government fails to act immediately by banning all poultry products sourced from both Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
The impact of the avian flu outbreak in Maharashtra is already being felt in Lucknow. Most of the roadside “omlette and boiled eggwallas” who lined up the streets during the evening hours have disappeared on Sunday. There is also this speculation that red meat prices in the city could go up from Rs 110 a kg to Rs 150 a kg in the coming weeks, as people desist from consumption of chicken.
With an estimated sale of over three million chicken per month in Uttar Pradesh, poultry farmers are just praying the avian flu does not affect even a single bird in the state.
In any case, owners of over a lakh small and big poultry farms dotted across the State have already started preparing for the worst case scenario, which calls for not only generating public awareness about the State’s poultry being safe for consumption, but also to ask all farmers not to source any poultry product from Maharashtra for the time being.
“At the outset, we would like to urge the Uttar Pradesh government to immediately ban import of any poultry product from Maharashtra, so that local poultry farmers can maintain a high level of safety for their chickens in farms,” a prominent hatchery owner in Lucknow’s Chinhat area told Hindustan Times.
He said currently almost 40 per cent of the total output of chicken and eggs from poultry farms was supplied to hotels, restaurants and highway dhabas in Uttar Pradesh.
In purely monetary terms, the State’s poultry industry could suffer a loss exceeding Rs 300 crore a month if immediate steps are not taken to ward off the scare, he said.
“Our prime motive is to ensure safety of public health, not only in Lucknow but across the State. The immediate steps which are being taken by poultry farmers are to ensure that death of even one bird in the hatcheries is reported immediately to the government authorities.
It usually happens that some birds die for other reasons, but every death of a bird right now will involve a thorough investigation by sending the dead bird to an animal disease laboratory immediately,” added the owner of another hatchery in Lucknow.