karnataka poultry ban won’t affect Goa

July 27, 2016

PANAJI: Chicken sellers and poultry farm owners in Goa said that the ban on poultry from Karnataka will not affect their businesses, mainly because the poultry coming from outside is from the state of Maharashtra, and partly because the rest of the state's poultry is reared in the state itself.

The district collectors of both North and South Goa had issued a two-month long ban on transportation of birds, both adults and chicks, coming in from Karnataka state to avoid bird flu after reports confirmed cases of bird flu at Karnataka's Bidar district. The western regional disease diagnostic laboratory (WRDDL) in Aundh, Pune had confirmed the bird flu cases and a report was sent to the directorate of animal husbandry cautioning the state government from importing birds from that area.

The chicken sellers and poultry farm owners have alleged that the hype surrounding the ban is 'politically motivated'. "In present conditions, with every poultry owner taking necessary precautions, an outbreak is highly unlikely. This is a politically motivated thing due to the Mhadei issue," said Hardik Karia of AV poultry service at Bicholim. "The outbreak had occurred at a layer farm in January. Even though the WRDDL's results were declared positive for bird flu, it has nothing to do with the broilers. Yet, all chickens are being needlessly banned. This was not required," added Damodar Vavachikar, distributor, Quality Farms, Verna.

Anwar Bepari, president of all Goa meat traders' association said that the ban would gradually affect the food and hotel industry of Goa. "Chicken suppliers who source their produce from Karnataka will feel the pinch hardest. The ban should be lifted as soon as the outbreak is controlled."

Local vendors said the ban could lead to a price hike, but they added that there is an overall shortage of chicken supply from neighbouring states like Maharashtra. Sources from the state confirmed this. "Chicken breed samples are checked and only after passing they are sent to us in Goa. This leaves little room for bird flu reaching Goa. Secondly, since most of us source chicken from Maharashtra to sell here, our business is not going to be affected. The prices have shot up due to an overall shortage of chicken supply," said chicken vendor Asif Shaikh. "As far as bird flu is concerned, the outbreak of the disease is normally seen in February. This is not the season for it," said Mumbai-based seller Aftab Ahmed Khan.

Mario Valadares, owner of chicken food chain, Royal Foods, who owns his own poultry farm, said, "This issue is being blown out of proportion. Whenever there is an outbreak, our sources alert us but regarding the Bidar outbreak, we have been told that it's a small issue. We're not going to be affected by it."

But the state government imposed the ban as a preventive measure, said Dr Greta Costa of the state department of animal husbandry. "We have asked the collectors to ban the entry of chicken from Karnataka as a preventive measure. Chicken vendorsmust also make sure that they slaughter chicken in hygienic conditions," she added.