Although the deadly Nipah outbreak has been contained, the virus has left a long shadow on the economy much beyond the Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of north Kerala.
Although the deadly Nipah outbreak has been contained, the virus has left a long shadow on the economy much beyond the Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of north Kerala. Besides fruit and vegetable export trade, Ramadan-season Tamil Nadu sourced chicken business too is crestfallen, after the misinformed rumours on Nipah.
“In just three weeks, chicken trade has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 75 crore, following 40% fall in sales. This was mainly because of the misunderstanding that Nipah virus is spread through poultry. What aggravated the loss was that it was the Ramadan season,” says Binny Emmati, President (Kerala), Poultry Farmers and Traders Committee.
The big brands selling chicken products through fastfood outlets are also left shaken. “Youngsters, who used to hang out munching their chicken chunks, had trickled away in the last fortnight. Crowds have been returning, though slowly,” says Najmal Babu, who serves at a Chicking outlet in Kozhikode.
From Rs 100 per kilo, the price of chicken had nosedived to Rs 80 per kilo at one go. After the clean chit from the outbreak, the price has snailed up in the Rs 85-88 per kilo range.
Annually, about Rs 3,000 crore worth chicken in sold in the state. According to the data from Poultry Farmers and Traders Committee, Kerala consumes 10 million kg of chicken per week, especially in the festive season. This offtake has fallen to 6 million kg per week.