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Bird flu lands poultry sector in soup

HYDERABAD: The poultry industry in Andhra Pradesh is staring at a major crisis following confirmed outbreak of bird flu in West Bengal. It’s as if the industry is hit by a double whammy of sorts. On one hand, the domestic export of eggs has plummeted to its nadir, while on the other, prices of eggs and even broiler are fast declining.

That’s not all. The cost of feed ingredients like maize and soya has registered 100 per cent increase. With no domestic export, layer poultry farm owners are faced with an unenviable task of storing eggs in their facilities. Shortage of trays has become a major challenge.

Already, the signs are ominous. “Rate of egg has come down from Rs. 1.70 to Re. 1 each and broiler rates from Rs. 38 to Rs. 32,” feels president of Poultry Breeders Association D. Ram Reddy.

Andhra Pradesh farmers export as many as 2.5 crore eggs a day to other States, mostly north India, while the total production of eggs is around 5.5 crore per day. The break-even price per egg, including production costs, for a producer roughly is Rs. 1.50 paise per egg while the present going rate is just Re. 1.

The industry would be incurring losses to the tune of Rs. 2.75 crore per day. And this loss is only on poultry eggs.

“It took three to four months for things to stabilise after the Maharashtra bird flu outbreak. If the flu does not spread to other parts from West Bengal, it would take another two to three months for things to stabilise,” felt Mr. Reddy.

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