No bird flu, but poultry, egg prices crash in Tamil Nadu
Chennai : Although no bird flu case has been reported in the state, the poultry industry in Tamil Nadu is facing a crisis as the prices of chicken and eggs have plummetted.
Chicken prices in many parts of the state have gone down to as low as Rs 20 per kg, and a dozen eggs are being sold at Rs 10 as many countries have banned Indian poultry following an outbreak of bird flu in West Bengal.
Nearly 20 million eggs are produced in about 800 farms in the Namakkal region of Tamil Nadu daily, about 600 km south of Chennai. Of these, almost five million are exported, mainly to the Gulf countries.
This export has drastically reduced as several Gulf countries banned eggs and poultry from India. Neighbouring Sri Lanka has also announced Thursday a ban on Indian poultry and eggs.
However, Animal Husbandry Minister Geetha Jeevan said that no bird flu case has been reported in Tamil Nadu.
"There is no case of birds in Tamil Nadu falling sick with the H5N1 virus," said the minister while speaking to the assembly.
The animal husbandry department has been told to "increase not only surveillance of farms, but also keep watch on migratory birds", as during the winter, migratory birds throng to the watersheds in this state.
The government assessed the situation holding a review meeting of the task force that the state set up mid-January to monitor the poultry sector closely for bird flu, with Chief Secretary L.K. Tripathy chairing it.
As a precautionary measure, the state sealed its borders with all neighbouring states last week.
"We have bio-security. We are carrying out regular checks and vaccinations to prevent outbreak of the disease," said R. Nallathambi, president of National Egg Coordination Committee.
The officials said that the state has sent a 12-member team of bird flu experts to West Bengal to help that state deal in dealing with the crisis emerged after the bird flu outbreak.