Compensation inadequate, poultry farmers complain

Poultry farmers have termed the State government’s compensation plan for owners of dead/culled birds due to the bird flu outbreak “inadequate”.

The government on Wednesday decided to provide a compensation of ₹200 for a bird older than two months and ₹100 for those less than two months. Besides, ₹5 will be given to an egg destroyed.

Duck farmers, worst affected by the outbreak, say the relief measures announced by the government will not help them tide over the crisis. They say the government had given the same amount as compensation during the previous bird flu outbreaks in the Kuttanad region.

“I lost 6,000 ducks to the disease. While 2,200 birds died another 3,800 were culled by authorities. I am going to get compensation for the culled birds only as I cannot prove the number of dead birds, which perished before the avian influenza was officially confirmed. The government had given the same amount after the bird flu outbreak in 2016. It is deplorable that not a single penny has been increased,” says Thomas Kutty, a duck farmer from Karuvatta.

The farmers have urged the government to increase the compensation amount as the price of ducklings, feed, and labour cost have shot up in recent years. The farmers unaffected by the outbreak too are facing a difficult situation as the authorities have regulated the trade of meat and egg in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

“Culling operations are carried out in a one-km radius of the infected areas. The farmers outside the bird flu hotspots in the region are in a predicament as they cannot sell meat and egg. The government is silent on compensating them,” says B. Rajasekharan, district president, Duck Farmers Association.

He says the government should increase the compensation amount to the farmers.

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