20th Mar. 2006: New Delhi - The fear of bird flu is resulting in a Rs 200 crore loss to the poultry industry everyday.
The poultry industry consists of 3 million people mostly in rural areas. In addition, about 15 million agricultural farmers who grow maize, soyabean and other important raw materials for poultry feed, are also dependent on this industry as 80 per cent of the poultry industry's turn-over, goes into feeding chicken.
''Bird flu scare has resulted in the collapse of egg and chicken market. The farm-gate price of egg and chicken has dropped 15 to 20 per cent of the production cost. Millions of farmers, farm workers and their families are losing their means of livelihood. The industry suffered a Rs 7,000 crore loss and is still loosing Rs 200 crore every day,'' said Anuradha Desai, chairperson of National Egg Co-ordination Committee (NECC) said in a statement here.
She said international organisations like WHO and OIE have confirmed that chicken and eggs, when properly cooked, are safe to eat. But, lack of consumer education and food safety awareness among consumers was hampering the use of these products causing huge losses to this industry.
''The fate and future of such a vital segment of the rural economy and the livelihood of millions of people is being decided by the report and judgement of just one lab and one person. This is really unfair,'' Desai stated.
Approximately Rs 12,000 crore is outstanding by the poultry sector to banks. In addition, farmers owe about Rs 22,000 to 25,000 crore to traders of feed ingredients, feed mills etc, she said adding added that if the present condition continues, and farmers go bankrupt, they will never be able to repay this amount to the banks and other creditors.
''This will seriously jeopardise the economy,'' the NECC chairperson warned.
Desai sought the government's help in spreading awareness and avoiding panic and urged for necessary relief, rehabilitation and industry recovery.