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Maharashtra: Retail chicken costs plunge after avian flu flare-up

Costs of live chicken across the state have descended by Rs 10-15 for every kg in retail showcases from Monday after the public authority affirmed an episode of avian influenza, poultry industry delegates said on Monday.

They, nonetheless, said the market would not see a lot of effect of this season’s virus past seven days. Maharashtra on Sunday joined seven different states in detailing an episode of avian flu or winged creature influenza. The presence of the H5N1 strain in Maharashtra was affirmed late on Sunday with Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases discovering it in the windpipe and spleen tests of dead fowls sent from the state for tests even as 11 additional crows were discovered dead in Chembur in Mumbai.

“There was a slump in chicken prices and consumption last week. From 2,500 tonnes, the daily demand for chicken meat in the state had come down to 2,200 tonnes because the consumers were a bit confused. But within four days, the sale is once again picking up. It’s an encouraging sign for us,” Vasant Kumar, president of poultry farmers and breeders association of Maharashtra, said.

“Bird flu has not yet reached the organized poultry farms in the state, barring a single incident. There is no need to panic. Since 2006, bird flu has been reported 10 times in the state. But it has not caused any harm to consumers. The government has a proper protocol on what one should do if there’s a bird flu outbreak. The protocol is being implemented across the state in a proper way. Besides, poultry farmers are aware about the precautionary measures to take in such a scenario,” he told TOI.

Chicken retailers said the effect of winged creature influenza would be acknowledged uniquely in the following 48 hours. “We had a good chicken sale on January 10. Over 70 tonnes of chicken were sold from over 700 stores across Pune city on that day. At some places, customers had to stand in queues to buy chicken. It indicates that the market is returning to the normal stage,” said Vijay More, head of Amir Chicken providers, perhaps the biggest retailer in the city with more than 700 stores.

“We can’t rule out the possibility of a slump in the demand for chicken. But even if there’s a slump, it will not continue for more than two weeks. The flu is temporary and there’s no need to panic,” he said,

Prasanna Pedgaonkar, head supervisor at Venkateshwara incubators, said the market was “normal” for as long as three days with little effect on deals. “The farm gate live chicken prices had gone down to Rs55 from Rs60 per kg. On Monday, it went up to the range of Rs65 to Rs70. The bird flu scare won’t remain for more than a week, as the consumers are aware about it and had responded positively in the past.”

He, in any case, said the genuine circumstance of the market would be acknowledged in the following 48 hours. “Our sale is in the normal range,” he added.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Daily Pune journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.