Updated: March 2, 2020 11:06:11 pm
Alarmed over a continuous dip in sales, the poultry industry has begun organising ‘chicken festivals’ across the state to increase awareness about the safety of consumption of poultry meat.
Since the first week of February, the poultry industry has been reeling from low sales after social media messages linked poultry meat with the spread of coronovirus disease (Covid-19). Poultry meat sale reportedly has plummeted to almost 30 per cent of their normal values over the past month. Farmgate prices — the price at which farmers sell their market-ready birds — has plummeted to Rs 50-51 per kg, from their previous rate of Rs 71-75 per kg.
“Till date, chicken festivals have been held in Nashik, Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune and Latur. Such events will continue till consumption becomes normal,” said Dr Dattatreya Kadam, director of Pune-based Shri KY Agrovet Pvt Ltd. The firm is involved in production, processing and preservation of meat, fish, fruit vegetables, oils and fats.
Kadam added at the events various chicken dishes, like biryani, curry, korma, etc, were being served at concessional rates to raise awareness among masses about the safety and benefits of poultry meats.
According to experts, coronavirus is not zoonotic — spread from animals — in nature. While in the initial phases, the virus was said to be spreading from bat and snakes into humans, it was now spreading from human to human, experts said.
As messages, linking Covid-19 to poultry meat, had started to circulate on various social media platforms, the industry had approached the police and the state government seeking action against rumour-mongers. State minister for animal husbandry Sunil Kedar announced swift action, following which the animal husbandry commissioner had lodged police complaint in the matter.
On behalf of the Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association, Kadam had also lodged a complaint in the matter. Multiple posts on social media were deleted by the Pune police.
However, Kadam said sales were yet to pick up. “At present, sales are down by 20 per cent in urban areas, while they are down by 40 per cent in the rural areas,” he said.
On average, Pune reports sale of 90 lakh to 1.10 crore birds per month, while around three crore birds are sold across the state.
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