K’taka: Poultry farmers urge govt to extend timings of chicken shops

Bengaluru: A day after the Karnataka government announced the second leg of a two-week long lockdown, the Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA) on Saturday appealed to the state government to extend the operation of chicken retail units till 2 p.m.

The COVID-induced lockdown has severely impacted chicken sales across the state, KPFBA said in a statement.

The poultry farmers also expressed concern that the prolonged lockdown would not only have severe financial ramifications for providing feed to the chickens for an extended period of time but will also affect the health of the birds.

The statement said that there is an urgent need to sell the birds within 40 days as the chicken meat, particularly of those below 40 days, has been proved scientifically to be the healthiest for human consumption.

KPFBA president Sushanth Rai said that broiler chickens have begun piling up in poultry farms across the state due to poor off-take in view of the lockdown and to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

 “On a daily basis, an estimated 15 lakh live chickens get ready for sale in the state at 20,000 poultry farms, where they are reared; the demand has now come down drastically due to closure of hotels and restaurants, besides cancellation of marriages and other community gatherings. And even the retail chicken shops, where the meat is available for purchase by consumers, have a limited window period for sale — between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. As a result of this, farmers and breeders are staring at a severe financial loss,” Rai added.

He said that the KPFBA had sought ‘urgent help’ from the state government to dispose off the ‘perishable’ poultry products by extending the window period for sale of chickens from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. to at least till 2 p.m. every day.

“The production expenses incurred by the farmers include the daily feed comprising of maize, soya and other raw materials, which cost about Rs 30 crore per day in the state,” Rai said in a letter to the Commissioner in the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences.