1. Animal Husbandry

Fake News of COVID-19 Spread through Poultry Affected 80% Farmers

Garsha Sai Nitesh
Garsha Sai Nitesh

During the start of COVID-19 spread in India, fake news about poultry that it can spread the disease prevailed on social media platforms, which resulted in a dip in sales of poultry farming across the country.

Nearly 80 percent of poultry farmers crashed due to the fake news. Millions of small poultry farmers have affected badly from this hit. The states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh faced the worst hit. Some farmers even reduced poultry production.

Indian poultry sector has 25 million farmers, while 4billion broilers and 93 billion eggs are produced every year. This sector was growing at 6-8 percent per annum. However, due to the fake news sector faced a loss of $ 1.5 million a day, this hit left the whole sector in chaos.

Now poultry farmers are seeking help from the government, stating that the COVID-19 crisis hit them more than that bird-flu outbreak of 2006 which was restricted to the western part of India.

Many farmers are unable to feed their livestock, pay electricity bills, and local taxes. Many closed their outlets citing the reason of unable to afford employees. “India’s weekly production of broilers is in the range of 750,000 live birds, or 300 million a month.  With average production costs of US$ 1 per kg and realizations at US$ 0.33, the losses now work out at US$ 1.35 per 2-kg bird or US$ 405 million per month,” said  Shankar Waghmare, a poultry farmer in Dahanu district in Maharashtra to the Poultry World.

In Maharastra, the poultry industry has seen losses of $ 1.5 billion due to the COVID-19 scare. Since February 4, when the rumors started spreading the sales have plunged from 3,000 tonnes a day to less than 2,000 tonnes a day.

ICRA report states that the operating costs of the poultry industry are expected to rise due to the increase in rates of maize and soymeal and other ingredients required for growing the poultry. The reports added that though the Department of Animal Husbandry tried to suppress the fake news and spread awareness the situation didn’t improve. This year poultry farmers’ losses seem to be inevitable.  

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