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Shortage of hatcheries makes Kashmir dependent on import of antibiotic-fed chicken

CK 2

Srinagar, Mar 09: Dearth of hatcheries is making Kashmir Valley depend on the import of chicken from the states where the birds are raised with the help of antibiotics.
Research by a New Delhi-based firm, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, recently showed “high multidrug resistance” in poultry farms in India.
The Drug and Food Control Organisation issued an advisory for curbing the use of antibiotic on chicken three days prior to its consumption.
The Valley, at present, has only four hatcheries, all owned by the government. These hatcheries—one owned by the Department of Animal Husbandry at Hari Parbhat here, one at Achabal, at Mattan, and Shirmal in Shopian—produce two to three lakh day-old chicks annually.
So far, no private sector has come up to reduce the region’s dependence on the import of nearly four crore day-old chicks mostly from Haryana and Punjab annually.
Experts claim that the climate of Kashmir was “apt” to produce antibiotic-free chicken.
“The reason behind the lack of abundant hatcheries in Kashmir is that poultry dealers here want quick returns. It will take them almost 70 weeks to sell the locally-hatched chicken. But in case of imported day-old chicks, they earn within 30 days,” Dr Altaf Gilani, poultry consultant at Animal Husbandry Department, said.
“The climate of Kashmir is most favourable for rearing chicken, as is seen in case of European alpine regions.”
Kashmir Valley Poultry Framers Association (KVPFA), however, claims that the lack of facilities from the government has restricted them for setting up their hatcheries.
“The climate here is not that conducive, but even if we set up our individual hatcheries, we don’t have round-the-clock facilities like that of electricity,” president KVPFA Ghulam Mohammad Bhat said.
“Our all chicken will die during winter when electricity goes off for days together.”
He said there was a lack of “concrete policy” for the poultry industry, due to which the dealers depend on suppliers outside the state.
“We are ready to set up our hatcheries but there should be some schemes from the government. If we are given land at cheaper rates we won’t have issue with setting up of individual hatcheries in the valley to produce disease free chicken,” Bhat said.