India has been popular world over for its quality poultry products. Over the years poultry export revenues have soared to a record 3.26 Billion Rupees. However the year 2006 brought with it avian influenza and a worldwide epidemic brought the poultry revenues crashing down. Poultry exports which were 3.26 billion rupees last financial year ended up at 1.54 billion rupees in March 2006.
The disease 'Avian Influenza' has been known to affect humans though the cases of infection is very low. Avian influenza virus affects birds. It finds its way into the human system when the infected animal is consumed. Risk is generally low, because the viruses are host-specificThe ones which affect birds do not usually infect humans. However, rare cases of human infection are being reported since 1997.
In August, after no cases were reported for nearly four months, India declared that bird flu has been totally eradicated in the country.
At a recent press conference Charusheela Sohoni ,the secretary of Animal Husbandry said that the department believed that demand for Indian poultry exports should soon pick up as our trading partners have been informed that our country is free of bird flu. She explained, 'During winter, birds from Europe migrate to India to avoid the severe cold there. The department is vigilant and is on an alert to prevent another outbreak and have kept the migratory birds under surveillance.'
She added, 'We still test random samples at regular intervals to avoid any outbreak of bird flu.'
Charusheela Sohoni also stated that demand for feedstocks 'is now steadily rising after the bird flu has been effectively combated in Maharashtra .The government is also providing training to poultry workers through various agencies'.
Upma Chawdhry, Joint Secretaty of Animal Husbandry Dept, said India has requested Japan to resume poultry imports as the country is now free from bird flu.
'We have started exporting to Middle East and expect the exports to pick up from December,' he added.
Good times ahead for poultry farmers!