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India’s poultry farmers seek $2.7 billion of relief after COVID-19 panic

India’s poultry industry needs a bailout after prices plummeted earlier this year due to incorrect social media speculation that chickens could spread the coronavirus.

5 August 2020, at 8:08am

According to reporting from Bloomberg News and the Deccan Herald, farm gate chicken prices have slumped by as much as 70 percent in March compared to January prices. Poultry farmer and Chairman of the International Egg Commission Suresh Chitturi explained that the drop forced many farmers to cull their flocks, causing huge losses. Though prices have recovered, banks aren’t willing to lend to farmers.

Chitturi estimates that farmers need $2.7 billion in loans. Bank financing forms a critical component of India’s poultry industry, which is worth an estimated $14 billion. He warns that the industry won’t survive without the funding. Many farmers are at risk of defaulting on their existing loans which are worth approximately $3.3 billion.

“We were beaten by [social media] rumours which almost killed the poultry business.” Chitturi says.

“We don’t want any freebie,” says Chitturi, “we just need the cash to expand and we will pay back the money. We have seen an increase in demand recently and prices are also good because of a shortage in supplies.”

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