Bird flu costs poultry industry Tk4,100cr | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 24, 2008

Bird flu costs poultry industry Tk4,100cr

Poultry owners' association study says

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A recent photo shows culled chickens being dumped following bird flu infection at Omega Poultry Farm at Uttar Badda in Dhaka. Experts say the country's poultry industry, which incurred a loss of over Tk 4,100 crore in the last one year due to avian influenza outbreak, needs bank loans at 2-3 percent interest for survival. Photo: STAR

The country's poultry industry has incurred a loss of over Tk 4,100 crore in the last one year due to the outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu, according to a recent study conducted by Bangladesh Poultry Industries Coordination Committee.
“This loss has hit the rural economy which had earlier faced the devastation of cyclone Sidr and twin floods. Let's be conscious, rather being panicked,” Dr Jahangir Alam, director general of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), told a roundtable on Bird Flu & Solution yesterday.
The coordination committee submitted the study to the government last week. The study covered the period between February 2007 and January 2008.
Alam asked for government help to ensure bank loans at 2-3 percent interest for the agriculture and poultry farmers to save the sector.
The roundtable was organised jointly by Watchdog Bangladesh and Breeders Association of Bangladesh at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
Microbiologists, doctors, agro economists, journalists and poultry industry representatives spoke at the roundtable that focused on the need for proper diagnosis of diseases to avert unwarranted losses of the industry.
Experts suggested creating awareness to encourage people to consume poultry items and save the country's about Tk8000 crore industry, which employs about half a crore people and provide protein at cheaper price.
According to the study, avian influenza does not transmit from human to human, while the disease also does not spread vertically; it does not transmit from eggs. Besides, properly boiled chicken does not contain the virus, experts said.
Bird flu or avian influenza, which broke out in March last year, became devastating early this year forcing thousands of farms closed and tens of thousands jobless.
The fresh blow also caused about 50 percent slump in consumption of poultry items and a pause in the new farming initiatives with hatcheries selling the day-old chick three times lower than the production cost.
"We are hit hard. This loss has eaten up about 40 percent of our investment," said Md A Saleque, general secretary of World Poultry Science Association-Bangladesh and also head of BRAC Agro Industries.
“So far, we have not found any human case of Avian Influenza in Bangladesh,” said Dr Md Rafiqul Islam, a physician at the Sohrawardy Hospital.
Rafiqul stressed bringing change in the behavioural pattern of the people engaged in the slaughtering or cooking of the poultry birds.
Dr Md Mansurul Amin, who teaches Microbiology and Hygiene at the Bangladesh Agricultural University, said the avian influenza virus could not survive under high temperature. He, however, suggested the government ensure a proper diagnosis of the poultry diseases.
“There is similarity in the symptoms of avian influenza with other diseases. So it is essential to have a different diagnosis arrangement for the diseases to save the unnecessary culling of the birds. It causes unwarranted loss for farmers,” he said.
Moshiur Rahman, general secretary of the Breeders Association of Bangladesh, blamed lack of monitoring of the massive outbreak of the disease.
Dr Abdus Sattar Mandal, who teaches at the Bangladesh Agricultural University, said there is nothing to worry, as human body is not afflicted with avian influenza easily.
He, referring to the fall in consumption of poultry birds, hoped that it would be picked up in the next couple of months.

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