The bird flu scare has hit poultry traders, especially retailers, hard. This, despite recent assurances by the State government that there is no trace of the flu in Telangana.
After the flu was reportedly found in some states, the ripple effect has been felt in Telangana. As per estimates, consumption of chicken and eggs has declined approximately by about two-thirds of the usual.
Drop in sales
“We started observing a drop in sales just a few days before Sankranti festival,” said Md Kaleem, a retailer from Devarakonda Basti in Banjara Hills. “There has been a dip in demand and per kilo live chicken price by ₹20 to ₹30. The sale of eggs too has seen a drop. It seems customers are being too careful,” he added.
According to director of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry department V. Lakshma Reddy, the State sees a consumption of 6 lakh chicken per day. However, due to the flu scare, the consumption has gone down by two-thirds.
“This is due to panic and fear. There is nothing to worry about. We have kept a strict vigilance in districts such as Asifabad, Kamareddy, Nizamabad and Nirmal, apart from other places. The government has ensured that no poultry comes to Telangana from Maharashtra. The animal husbandry department is working with the forest department in connection with tracking migratory birds. Here also there is no issue,” Mr. Reddy assured.
Production scaled back
He also said that while approximately 5 crore eggs are produced per day, a little over 3 crore is consumed in Telangana and the rest is sent to other states.
Those who have been in the poultry business for decades pointed out that given the massive drop in demand, poultry farmers, too, have scaled back on production to mitigate losses.
They blamed the drop in demand due to disinformation.
“There is no compromise in terms of administering vaccines or the feed given to chickens. Because we have scaled down, there is a reduction in actual losses. But, chicken price has fallen at the farm level by 15%,” said Ravinder Reddy from the Telangana Poultry Breeders’ Association.