Covid-19, Chicken & Impact on Cold Storage Business

Posted by scott1 on March 19th, 2020

Fast spreading coronavirus fears have struck the poultry industry in India, causing a loss of more than ₹100 crores to farmers in Tamilnadu alone, according to the people in the industry. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, poultry farmers across india mainly in west & south indian states are facing heavy loses with lesser people opting to buy chicken.

 R Ganesan President of Madurai K Pudur Chamber of Commerce says sales have gone down about 75%, gradually over a period of two weeks. “Chicken that was being sold for Rs 170-180 per kilo is now priced at Rs 75-80. A number of people buying it have drastically come down,” he says.

Ganesan says that the main reason for this drop is due to the spread of fake news that consuming chicken could affect one with coronavirus.

Not more than two-weeks ago, a man in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore district was arrested for spreading rumours that coronavirus spreads through chickens. The 18-year-old man from Neyveli had reportedly acted out of vengeance for having been refused free meat at his friend's shop.

Coronavirus that was first transmitted to humans from an animal species, that is yet unknown, is now spreading person-to-person. This means the virus can spread only from someone who has already been infected by it.

“Secondly, this is also the season for exams and Christians observing Lent abstain from eating meat. This season is generally slow in sales for us. But the recent fake news has caused our sales to dip further,” he alleges.

AKP Chinraj, President of Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers' Association , says production costs have reached unmanageable numbers. “Today, the feed for chicken costs Rs 65 per kilo but farm rate of 1 kilo of chicken is only Rs 15. If one bird weighs about 2 kilos, it means we incur a loss of Rs 130 per chicken. Hatching chicks and growing them has now become a huge challenge,” he explains.

He further explains that the cooking method used in India is such that the chicken is boiled and cooked fully ensuring that no virus can survive in our cooking methods.

The drop in business of poultry industry is also heavily effecting the cold storage business. There is huge market of frozen meat which is blasted and stored in cold storage. The blasting process along with storage rent is substantial source of income for cold storage dealing in meat business.

During initial drop in sales the frozen meat sellers tried to stock as much possible in cold storage anticipating the misinformation may soon get over. But with time the misinformation about chicken and corona got wings and with this unexpected drop in business the rate of processing meat has slowed down as the cost of it's storage for longer duration will outweigh the profit of selling it. The companies in poultry business are now forced to destroy the live stocks or sell it at throwaway prices and even distributing it for free. The companies in frozen meat business have slowed down the processing, blasting and storage of meat in cold storage.

The poultry business is now following the process of wait and watch and hoping for either the corona impact dies down soon or people get aware about the misinformation about chicken and Covid-19 and business picks up soon.

Note: There is no authenticated news about humans getting affected by coronavirus through animals or poultry. The disease spreads only through human-to-human contact and not even one animal- human case has been recorded in world till now. We need to fight back this misinformation and help industry get back on its feet.

A report by Godamwale team

#covid-19 #coronavirus #chicken

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