The price of chicken in Kerala has increased due to the ban imposed by the state on cross border trade of chicken and poultry products.
Live chicken has increased to Rs 85-86 kg from Rs 80 last week. The state has to now completely depend on local farms, which can meet only 30 per cent of the market demand.
MC Scaria, a chicken trader, said the prices would go up further as the ban restricts the supply to a very large extent. Retail chicken outlets in the central districts depend on farms in Palakkad.
The state government has banned chicken and poultry products from other states after bird flu claimed lives of 4,265 turkeys last week at Hesaraghatta near Bangalore. Almost 70 per cent of the chicken used in Kerala comes from other states, especially Tamil Nadu.
In 2011, Kerala consumed meat products worth around Rs 6,000 crore. The Animal Husbandry department estimates that the state consumes roughly 5,000 tonne meat daily. According to government data, as much as 45 per cent of the meat consumed in Kerala is chicken. Keralites spent Rs 2,844 crore on chicken in 2009-10, of which Rs 1,752 crore went to poultry farms from outside the state.
Officials of the Commissioner of Food Safety said though bird flu cases were not detected in human beings in Karnataka, the decision was taken as part of precautionary measures.
KG Suma, director, department of Animal Husbandry, told Business Standard that the ban was in effect from Monday. Check post officials have been instructed to use personal protection gears to insulate themselves from contracting the virus while checking trucks.
The department has also beefed up routine checking at chicken farms and outlets throughout the state, besides checking hotels and restaurants.