Blockade hits poultry farmers where it hurts
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 08 2010: Apart from other affecting other activities, the ongoing total blockade along the National Highways has hit the poultry farmers of the State hard, with supply line of poultry feeds and chicks, which are normally brought in from outside, snapped for more than 50 days.

In the absence of poultry feeds in the market, many poultry farmers who have taken up rearing chicks that are brought from outside as their means of livelihood are finding it hard to carry on with their business.

Normally, these chicks can gain weight upto 2 to 3 kilograms within 45 to 55 days of hatching provided they are fed properly.

As the feeding cannot be stopped just because poultry feeds are not available now, the farmers have been managing with the locally made available feeds.

But this has further compounded their problem with the resultant fall in the weight of the chickens and spread of white diarrhoea.

Following the total economic blockade imposed by ANSAM and backed by UNC along National Highways 39 and 53, transportation of the poultry feeds, chicks and their chicken products from outside Manipur has been stopped and the remaining stocks are running out fast.

It is said that sale of poultry feeds in wholesale has stopped for around 20 days now, though the same could be purchased from retailer at a higher rate.

One bag of poultry feeds weighing 70 kgs used to cost just Rs 1,060 earlier.

But now it is being sold for Rs 2,000 .

Before the imposition of total blockade, poultry feed brands like Samarat, Sona, Venky, Amricon, Amrit, etc were available abundantly in the State.

Interacting with The Sangai Express in this connection, some of the wholesalers and agencies based here informed that shortage of poultry feeds in the State has caused lot of difficulties among the poultry farmers.

According to a staff of the UK Feed Agency, located near Uripok Oil Pump, the agency used to receive 6 to 7 truckloads of poultry feeds every week to supply to 11 poultry farmers and 40 other sub-dealers working under the agency.

Moreover, 11,000 to 12,000 chicks used to be brought in one DI Tata atleast two to three times in a week.

But all these have been stopped, the staff said, while informing that around 2,000 chicks have been able to brought in by flight so far, thus supply of chicks to the farmers has also been ceased.

48-year old Inaobi of Tejpur, who has been taking up poultry farming as a profession for the last 21 years, informed that the chickens have not been able to gain the expected weight as there is no feeds.

Disclosing that he has presently 3000 chickens in his farm, Inaobi said that normally he required 4 bags of poultry feeds every day to feed his chicken.

Apprehensive of shortage of poultry feeds in the State, he had stocked up some bags of poultry feeds and with that he has taking care of his chickens using only 3 bags every day.

The remaining poultry feeds in his stock, however, ran out completely today and he is worried about tomorrow, Inaobi said.

Taorem Naocha of Laipham Khunou, who is both a poultry farmers and a sub-dealer said, 'Economic blockade has brought about untold miseries among the poultry farmers like us.

On top of absence of poultry feeds, there is also the problem of unavailability of Kerosene.

If you are rearing chickens, then the light is to be lit all the time and you can't keep all the feeds, because they become mouldy''.

Proprietor of Golden Chicken Centre Khelendro, who is a retailer said that in addition to unavailability of poultry feeds, high rate of service charge on transportation and the subsequent high cost of chicks has affected poultry farming.

Earlier, the cost of one chick used to be Rs 32 to 37, but now it cost upto Rs 48 since the chickens are being brought in by flight.

One kg of chicken meat used to be sold at Rs 130 but now it is Rs 160, he pointed.