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‘Chicken at Rs 100 a kilo’: Bird flu scare hits poultry sector, Kashmir farmers suffer Rs 90 crore loss

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Srinagar:  Poultry farmers have suffered a loss of Rs 90 crore as sales of chicken and eggs have dropped by 50 percent in Kashmir.

Last week, the government lifted the ban on the import of poultry from neighboring states. However, days after lifting the ban, four cases of bird flu have been confirmed in Kashmir, which has further affected the sales of poultry products.

 

President Kashmir Valley Poultry Farmers Union Ghulam Mohammad Bhat said they have incurred a loss of Rs 80-90 crore in the last one month.

“The poultry business has taken a big hit. We are trying hard to recover our losses, but still, a major proportion of people don’t buy or eat poultry,” he said.

Bhat said nearly three lakh people are associated with Rs 1300 crore poultry sector in Kashmir. “Our local production is too less. We rely on imports to meet the demand in the valley. There has been a negligible sale of poultry during the last one month, though the government had declared it safe for human consumption,” he said.

Given the low demand, the poultry dealers have slashed the price of chicken by around 30 per cent.

“Against Rs 140 per kilogram, we have been selling chicken at Rs 110 – 120 per kilogram. At many places, the chicken rates have fallen to Rs 100 per kilogram. So many poultry framers are selling chicken in load carriers in rural areas of Kashmir,” said Abdul Rashid, a poultry dealer in Srinagar’s Dargah area.

Sales of poultry products too have dropped considerably given the fear of bird flu.

The animal Husbandry department has already issued slew of guidelines in view of bird flu scare.

The department has established two screening cum checkpoints on Srinagar-Jammu national highway to screen poultry before it enters the valley. 

“Chicken is safe for human consumption if cooked at above 70 Degree Celsius,” Director Animal Husbandry Purnima Mittal told The Kashmir Monitor.

Jammu and Kashmir depends on neighboring states including Punjab and Haryana for poultry. Almost 60 percent of poultry is imported from these two states.