Bird flu panic grips Ctg poultry farmers
Panic caused by avian influenza has gripped the Chittagong poultry farmers again after the outbreak of bird flu was reported at Sitakunda upazila in the district.
The panic has also led to an increase in the price of chicken this season when farmers usually opt not to run the poultry business to avert loss due to the highly contagious disease bird flu.
Sources in Chittagong District Livestock Office said the outbreak of the disease of this season was reported at SM Golabaria Poultry Farm at village Golabaria in Sitakunda upazila on March 14.
Owner of the farm Mohammad Abu Bakar Siddique informed district livestock officials of the sudden death of 1,500 chickens when the latter rushed to collect sample.
It was tested at Chittagong District Veterinary Hospital Laboratory and Field Diseases Investigation Laboratory in Feni.
After getting the positive results from both the laboratories, the livestock officials culled the rest 400 chickens of the farm and declared the area as 'infected' for three months, said the livestock officials concerned, adding that the farm will not be allowed to raise chickens for the period and will remain under strict monitoring.
Rakibur Rahman Tutul, owner of Nahar Agro Complex Limited, said they are in fear of attack by bird flu that destroy the farm as well as the capital of the little investors within a short time.
A good number of poultry farmers are not running business this season that contributes to the price hike of chickens.
Per kilogram chicken of farm is being sold at Tk 140 and local chicken at Tk 240, which was Tk 100 to Tk 110 and Tk 210 to Tk 220 respectively before the outbreak of bird flu in December, he added.
General Manager Nurul Islam of MM Aga Limited said the price of chicken has been increased due to less production. The situation will improve by the April, he hoped.
Chittagong Poultry Breeders' Association President Iqbal Dada said the attack of bird flu has reduced to a significant level comparing the previous years.
“Poultry farmers are now aware enough and the livestock department is active in preventing the spread of the virus,” he said.
Iqbal Dada, also senior vice president of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association, urged the government to allow import of bird flu vaccine to save the industry as well as the investors.
Additional District Livestock Officer Dr Mohammad Farhad Hossain said though usually bird flu breaks out in the winter when temperature goes down but the virus appeared after the winter this year. He said the diseases could tackle remarkably due to awareness of the farmers and organised activities of the livestock department.
Seventeen farms were attacked by the virus in 2007 while four in 2008, three in 2009 and only one this season till now, he added.
Four bird flu suspected samples have been tested at the laboratory of Chittagong District Veterinary Hospital Laboratory and one found positive.
He said they are holding seminars on bio-security for the poultry farmers in every upazilas from December to create awareness among the farmers.
A surveillance team headed by the upazila veterinary surgeon and another team headed by upazila nirbahi officer are looking after the matter.
Besides, an additional veterinary officer for three upazilas and three health workers for each upazila are working with the financial assistance of Food and Agriculture Organisation to tackle the highly contagious disease, he added.
There are 687 layer farms, 3,359 broiler farms, 12 breeder farms and two layer breeding farms in Chittagong district, said the sources.