False coronavirus alarm on social media hits poultry sector in Karnataka

Last Updated : 27 February 2020, 21:30 IST

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Hundreds of poultry farmers in the district have been hit by sudden dip in sales following the false alarms on social media that chickens are transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19).

WhatsApp and Facebook are flooded with false messages triggering panic among meat-eaters. The sudden drop in sales of broiler chicken and eggs has hit the poultry industry badly.

Poultry farming is practiced on large-scale at Bagalkot town, Jamkhandi, Guledgudda and Gudur in Hungund taluk. It is said, the poultry farmers in the district are breeding 15 lakh broiler chicks and 9 lakh egg-laying chicks.

"The farms used to sell eggs at Rs 4.25/egg (wholesale price). Post-coronavirus outbreak, the price has come down to Rs 2.70 per egg. Similarly, the price of broiler chicken has come down to Rs 30 per kg from Rs 85/kg. How can a poultry farmer sell broiler chicken at Rs 35 per kg when they get a chick at Rs 30 and spend hundreds on feeding them," questions Raghu Pawar, a poultry farmer.

"Normally, chicks develop Ranikhet disease, a viral infection affecting the respiratory system, with high mortality rate. A few people are creating false alarms by posting the pictures of chicks with Ranikhet disease on social media platforms. Because of such false posts, business has gone down by 30 to 35 per cent," laments Parashuram Pawar, a poultry farm owner in Guledgudda.

Further, clips of a programme titled 'can a person contract coronavirus by eating chicken' aired in a TV media have made the matters worse. The footage of the programme is doing the rounds on social media, triggering panic among meat-eaters, the aggrieved poultry farmers complained.

The poultry farmers associations in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra have lodged complaints against the rumour mongers with cyber police. The Ministry of Agriculture has launched awareness campaigns in those states. But the poultry farmers here are not organised because of which they are suffering, Raghu Pawar said and urged the Animal Husbandry department to come to the poultry farmers' rescue.

Published 27 February 2020, 17:09 IST

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