Poultry Industry experts said on Tuesday that the sales of chicken have dropped by nearly 35 per cent in the past few days amid increasing fear that the deadly Coronavirus can be transmitted by consuming meat. Even as the government has been making efforts in dispelling rumours about the consumption of certain food items, people have refrained from buying chicken to save themselves from the spread of the disease.
Last week, District magistrates at Lucknow and Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh banned the sale of meat in open areas. Following this, many restaurants and hotels have put up signs informing their consumers about no availability of non-vegetarian food.
Several wholesalers and food companies told news agency ANI that chicken sales have dropped by 30 to 35 per cent, while the prices of broiler chicken have fallen by over 50 per cent.
"It is because of irresponsible statements being issued by some government departments which has led people to exclude chicken from their diet," said Rajiv Jaisinghani, Managing Director of Punjab-based Darshan Foods Pvt Ltd.
Karnataka has been suffering the most due to rumours surrounding Coronavirus over social media since February. The poultry industry is facing a daily loss of nearly Rs 65 crore said D K Kantaraju, President of Karnataka Cooperative Poultry Federation.
"From the first week of February, prices of chicken have come down to Rs 45 from Rs 75 per kg," he said.
The Maharashtrian poultry industry is also bearing a loss of Rs 150 crore on a daily basis due to the decline in demand for livestock, Vasant Kumar Shetty, President of Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association in Maharashtra. He added that the sales are likely to remain low in the next six weeks.
Ghazipur, the largest meat market in Delhi, has dropped the prices of wholesale poultry chicken by over 45 per cent in the last four weeks.
"Though the prices fluctuate on a daily basis, we have been selling chicken at about Rs 55 since the first case of Coronavirus was confirmed in Kerala. In January, prices of broiler chicken stood at around Rs 90 per kg," said Mohsin, a wholesale trader.
Animal Husbandry Commissioner Praveen Malik said in a letter to the Poultry Federation of India last week that poultry is not found to be involved in the transmission of Coronavirus to humans.
(With inputs from ANI)