8th July, 2006: NAMAKKAL, INDIA - Poultry farms, especially those in the poultry capital of the State, Namakkal, who were hit hard by the outbreak of bird flu, are relieved now after the Centre announced its decision to release eight lakh tonnes of maize, 60,000 tonnes of jowar and 7,000 tonnes of bajra to be sold as poultry feeds at subsidised rates to farms all over the nation.
A release from Anuradha Desai, Chairperson of the National Egg Co-ordination Committee, said the poultry feed would be sold at subsidised price between Rs 450 and Rs 500 a quintal (the market price of maize is at an all-time high of Rs 670 a quintal).
Earlier in April, the Centre released 5.3 lakh tonnes of maize.
It may be noted that every year, in May and June, the Union Government will release maize from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns, so as to meet the market demands and keep the price of the grains stable.
This, despite the fact that nearly 85 to 90 percent of maize produced in the country is used by the poultry farms. Sadly, this year, bird flu has created loss to the tune to Rs 10,000 crore to the domestic poultry industry.
A committee chaired by the NECC chairperson met Union Minister for Agriculture, Sharad Pawar on June 27 and requested him to release additional grains to save the domestic poultry industry.
In a sequel to the meeting, the Union Government has now ordered the release of eight lakh tonnes of maize and several thousand tonnes of the two other grains for the benefit of the poultry farms.
Subsidised grains and technical assistance will reach the poultry farms through the Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry of the respective state, based on the statistics available with the NECC, its chairperson said.
NECC said release of the subsidised grains will be of much help to the poultry industry.
Maize is quoted at Rs 670 a quintal, against the last year’s Rs 520 to 600. While this hike in the price has increased the production cost by 30 percent, the subsidised poultry feed supply comes as a solace to the poultry industry.