Floods ruin Kashmir’s poultry sector, stakeholders suffer Rs 500 cr loss

The floods in Kashmir have cost its poultry sector an estimated Rs 500 crore.
Of the 6,000 poultry farms in Kashmir, estimates suggest that around 3,000 were partly or fully damaged by the floods that hit Kashmir early last month.
Most damage to the poultry farms has been reported from areas in South Kashmir‘s Islamabad (Anantnag) district and Srinagar and Kulgam districts which were worst affected by floods.
President, Kashmir Valley Poultry Farmers’ Association (KVPFA), G M Bhat told Greater Kashmir that more than 1000 poultry farms have been completely washed away by the floods in Kashmir.
Bhat said the poultry sector in Kashmir has been completely decimated by the floods. “More than 5 lakh people directly or indirectly affiliated with this sector will lose their livelihood in case the state government does not intervene.”
“As per our rough estimates the aggregate loss incurred by our poultry sector is Rs 500 crore. The victims are farmers, wholesalers, retailers and other people directly or indirectly associated with this sector,” Bhat explained.
Bhat said the loss has even been suffered by those poultry farmers whose farms were not submerged. “The farmers whose farms were not submerged were not able to provide feed, water and medicines to the birds as a result of which there was huge production loss,” he said.
Bhat said that majority of the poultry farms in Kashmir are not insured which has made them more vulnerable. “Since most of our sector is not insured, government should for future provide insurance cover to poultry sector,” Bhat said.
Bhat flayed the state government for failing to assess the losses incurred by them. “Nobody from government has come to us to assess the losses. We demand that the JK government should constitute a committee headed by experts and comprising among others the members from different poultry associations to conduct surveys and assess losses suffered by poultry sector.”
He said the government should help thousands of youth in the poultry sector, who have taken bank loans to start their farms but have now become bankrupt.
Bhat accused the Entrepreneur Development Institute of hoodwinking the youth to lure them to come in poultry business. “They don’t inform them that poultry farming is very tricky trade in Kashmir due to geographical disadvantages and other marketing reasons. Besides, they don’t inform them that there is no hatchery in Kashmir which makes it more difficult for poultry farmers to rear birds,” he said.
“The only facility that EDI provides them is that it facilitates bank loans and after that they are left alone in the field without being given any further guidance,” Bhat said.
He suggested that government should give industrial status to the poultry sector in order to help it flourish. Besides, there should diagnostic labs for treatments and disease prevention of birds in order to tame losses in poultry sector.
President, Urban Poultry Dealers Association, Muhammad Manzoor Dar said that poultry sector has suffered not only due to damage to farms but the stocks as well. “Because we were left without farms, and we could not get feed during floods, we had to sell the birds at Rs 25-30 per Kg, which means loss of Rs 70 per kg.”
“Besides, hundreds of poultry retail shops were submerged, markets inundated and there were no takers for birds. As a result of which dealers had to sell birds on loss,’ he said.

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