Avian Influenza-Free India a Big Relief to its Poultry Producers

INDIA - India is free from avian influenza (H5N1) or bird flu from September 5, 2016, the department of agriculture and animal husbandry has declared, writes Basudev Mahapatra.
calendar icon 20 September 2016
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This being notified to the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE), the government announcement has brought great relief to the poultry producers who expect that country's poultry exports would get a boost now.

The country last experienced an outbreak of the disease on May 9, 2016, which originated in a farm in Humnabad of Bidar district in the state of Karnataka. This led to imposition of restriction by neighbouring states like Goa and Tamil Nadu on poultry import from Karnataka, a major poultry producer of the country.

The immediate government measures to deal with the disease included stamping out of the entire poultry population including destruction of eggs, feed, litter and other infected materials, restriction on movement of poultry and poultry products to and from the area of outbreak, disinfection and cleaning up of infected premises and the Post Operation Surveillance Plan.

Surveillance was carried out across the country and, in particular, around the areas of the outbreak since completion of culling, disinfection and clean-up operations.

In a letter to state chief secretaries, the Centre emphasised the need for continued surveillance, especially in areas bordering infected countries and those visited by migratory birds.

Poultry is one of the fastest growing sectors in India making it world’s fifth largest egg producer and 18th largest producer of broilers. The country aims to achieve eight per cent growth in the sector in the 2016 calendar year.

India exported 659,304 tonnes of poultry products worth INR 768.72 crore ($114.7 million) in 2015-16 to countries like Oman, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany and the Maldives.

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