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New Delhi, March 9, 2020
The poultry industry in different parts of the country has been hit hard amid rumours that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through consumption of chicken, the prices of which have fallen considerably as a result.
Vijay Sardana, an agricultural economist and adviser of the Poultry Federation of India, said that poultrymen were getting just Rs 20 per bird in the market whereas the cost of production was Rs 80.
He said the jobs of about two crore people employed in the poultry industry across the country have been impacted.
People were avoiding consumption of meat, fish, chicken, and egg. Due to the fall in demand, wholesale price of chicken had dropped by as much as 70 per cent. As a result, chicken was now available at Rs 100-150 per kg in retail compared with Rs 180-200 earlier on.
A chicken seller in Noida, adjoining Delhi, said he was currently purchasing chickens at Rs 50-60 per bird and selling it at Rs 150 per kg.
A consumer from Muzaffarpur in Bihar said the price of chicken had fallen by 50 per cent and was now available at just Rs 100 per kg.
Union Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Giriraj Singh has admitted the effect on poultry industry, adding that it was losing Rs 1,500-2,000 crore daily.
Meanwhile, his Minister of State Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said that the wholesale prices of chicken had come down by 70 per cent.
Purshottam Kaujalagi, an official of Dhumal Industries, a company that provides equipment to the poultry industry, feeding systems, manual feeders, water systems, drinker heating systems and ventilators, told IANS that their business has been severely affected in the past one month.
An official of a poultry feed company said that their sales have stalled, and they have stopped the purchase of maize and soyabean and other items to prepare the chicken feed.
Speaking on the rumours, Giriraj Singh claimed that according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), coronavirus is transmitted through human contact, and there has been no evidence of the virus communicating from animals to humans or humans to animals.
Vijay Sardana said the impact of the unfounded rumour has mainly been on farmers growing corn and soybean, and the soy industry. He said that the price of maize had come down by Rs 7,000 per tonne.