Union demands Loan waiver for bird-flu hit farmers

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Chandigarh, Apr 8 (UNI) The poultry farming was in the throes of the worst crisis ever due to double onslaught of the Bird Flu and rising prices of maize and soyabean and the benefit of loan and interest waiver announced for the agricultural farmers should be extended to poultry farmers as well, North Zone Broiler and Breeder Association has demanded.

President of the association Balraj Singh, interacting with the press here today, expressed anguish that no step had been taken by the Centre to help the sector even though delegations of poultry farmers met the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar twice to seek a relief package.

The poultry sector was hit hard due to frequent out-breaks of Bird Flu for the least 3 years due to factors like ban on movement of poultry products in regions including West Bengal and North East and surplus in the outside market due to panic fall in demand. Meanwhile, the cost of egg production increased from Rs 1.00-1.10 to Rs. 1.60-1.70 and that of broiler rose from Rs.

27-28 per kg to 37-38, he said.

''The commutative loss to the industry is over Rs 11,000 crore due to fall in farm gate prices, suspension of exports and closing of several small and marginal farms,'' he said.

Apart from demanding the benefit of loan and interest waiver for the beleaguered poultry farmers and the union has also asked for a ban on forward trading in maize along with steps to rationalise its cost for poultry farmers and interest subvention of 8 per cent.

It has demanded that the electricity tariff, interest on loan and calamities compensation should be given to the poultry industry at par with the agriculture sector.

"Poultry, an important Agri-related sector which has so far independently maintained a high annual growth rate of 15-18 per cent, supports the livelihood of about 3.2 million small farmers and contributes more than Rs 40,000 crore to the GDP," he said.

Moreover, about 70 per cent of maize growers and 4 million soya bean farmers are dependent on poultry sector, he stressed.

UNI JN JS1206

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