New Delhi: Fearing huge losses to the poultry industry due to outbreak of bird flu in Manipur, the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) has asked farmers in the northern region not to be influenced by traders’ demand for reduction in prices.
“We are scared that traders in the north zone are trying to pull down the price by saying that exports will be stopped,” Delhi zone NECC chairman Harish Juneja said in a letter to poultry farmers.
The government had on 25 July confirmed detection of bird flu cases in Manipur and said 150,000 birds will be culled to check its spread.
“Since the government takes immediate steps to control the effect of bird flu as soon as any such case is reported in any area, I strongly feel that prices or exports in non-affected areas should not be brought down,” Juneja said.
Some traders are trying to cash in on the situation by forcing a reduction in farm-gate price of eggs so that they can keep them in cold storage and sell at higher rates during winter, a farmer said.
Last year, when bird flu was detected in Maharashtra, the entire poultry industry suffered an estimated Rs10,500 crore loss, Juneja said. He said profit margin in poultry has reduced due to increasing cost of raw materials, including feed.
“Price hike in main feed such as maize, due to demand in other industries and high cost of medicines used for the birds have led to a higher cost of production,” he said.
Last week, NECC chairperson and Venkateshwara Hatcheries managing director Anuradha Desai had demanded zoning of poultry areas to lessen the impact of bird flu on exports.
She said the government should immediately create zones for the poultry industry so that farmers of other zones don’t get affected in terms of exports if bird flu is reported from a particular area. “If Malaysia and China can do it, why not India,” Desai asked.
Currently, many countries ban import from regions where outbreaks of bird flu have been reported. After the zoning exercise, exports would be stopped only from the region affected by bird flu, she said.