KOZHIKODE: It appears that tasty chicken dishes are fast disappearing from the menu of Keralites, thanks to the recent report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on the rampant use of antibiotics in poultry. Traders and farmers opine that sales have plummeted across the state, particularly in southern districts since the release of the CSE report.
“In southern districts, demand for chicken has come down by around 50 per cent during the past three days,” said Alappuzha-based chicken dealer S K Naseer, who is also the state general secretary of All Kerala Poultry Federation. “Usually, there would be demand for six to eight lakh kilograms of chicken per day. Now, it’s around three to four lakh kilograms,’’ he said.
In Central Kerala, the CSE report has not much affected the sales when compared to the southern districts. “Normally, around 4.5 lakh chicken are sold per day in the region. Now, there is a decline of 20 percent in retail sale,’’ said an office-bearer of All Kerala Poultry Farmers and Traders Committee. On the contrary, the CSE report has made little impact on chicken sales across Malabar region.
According to All Kerala Chicken Merchants Association state president and Tirur-based chicken merchant P K Kunjimon, more than six lakh kilograms of chicken are consumed in the region per day.
Association state general secretary and Kozhikode based merchant M C P Salam said: ‘’We had a huge sales during Eid celebrations in the region. The present decrease in trade volume in Malabar can be seen only as the post-Eid slow down.’’
However, the report has drawn the ire of poultry farmers and merchants across the state.
Alleging that the report will affect poor farmers and retail traders, office-bearers of Poultry Federation and the Merchants Association have urged the government to avert the apprehension generated by the report.
“The credibility of the report should be ensured. At the same time, State Government should ban the use of antibiotics on chickens if it is proven harmful,” Kunjimon said. Meanwhile, hotel and restaurants owners have expressed their apprehensions over the present condition. Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association state general secretary said the present crisis had not affected the chicken consumption in restaurants so far.
Citing it will affect the restaurants if the present apprehension continues unresolved, state treasurer Moideenkutty Haji urged appropriate action from the State Government.
Responding to the issue, Dr A V Jayakrishnan of Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that stringent action should be taken against the poultry farmers for unregulated antibiotics usage as resistance would be developed against the drug. State Animal Husbandry Department additional director Dr Brahmanandan said the department is looking at the crisis. “Appropriate actions will be taken as per the directions issued from the government to address the health concerns and woes faced by the farmers,’’ he said.