Bird flu haunts farmers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 11, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 11, 2008

Bird flu haunts farmers

Poultry prices to rise further unless farming resumes on large scale, say breeders

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Breeders yesterday said retail prices of poultry will go up further unless farmers now move to restart farming at an increased pace.
The warning came amid a slow recovery in the demand for poultry following the decline in bird flu spread.
But many farmers remain reluctant in resuming farming with bird flu still haunting them.
The recovery in demand has led to the rise in retail prices of broiler chickens over 10 percent to Tk 100 now from Tk 90 by the end of March. The price of one dozen eggs has also surged over 20 percent to Tk 65 from Tk 54 earlier, according to retailers in Karwan Bazar.
However, the breeders said the demand for day old chicks, meant for farming, remains stagnant as many farmers are still reluctant to restart farming after the bird flu took a heavy toll on the country's Tk 10,000 crore poultry industry.
A section of farmers are also in trouble in starting farming due to dearth of working capital, stakeholders said.
“The price of poultry will go up further unless farmers who had earlier stopped farming resume production,” said Kazi Zahedul Hasan, managing director of country's biggest poultry breeder Kazi Farms.
“Some farmers are re-staring farming but not at the expected level,” Hasan said adding that farmers now also need working capital to re-start.
The bird flu disease, which broke out early last year, has ravaged the industry leading to a loss of over Tk 4,200 crore and closure of thousands of farms out of the 1.5 lakh farms employing about 50 lakh people directly or indirectly.
“It will be difficult to meet people's nutrition requirement unless farming re-start at an increased rate,” said Moshiur Rahman, managing director of Paragon Poultry.
Moshiur, also convener of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Co-ordination Committee, hoped farming might re-start if commercial poultry producers get loans from banks at reduced interest rates.
“Rise in poultry consumption has pushed the poultry prices up. But we are still selling day-old chicks below production cost,” he said.
MA Saleque, head of Brac's agro and salt industries, however expected that the farming initiatives might increase now because of higher market prices of poultry.
“If the present price sustains for the next two weeks, owners of many closed farms will be encouraged to resume production,” he said.
“Our sales are rising but supply of birds are lower compared to the demand,” said Fazar Ali, who was selling each kilogram of chicken at Tk 100 at Karwan Bazar kitchen market. He said the demand started growing early this month.
sohel@thedailystar.net

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