The Financial Express

Ministry seeks opinion on likely ban on poultry imports from India

| Updated: January 22, 2021 11:02:08

Ministry seeks opinion on likely ban on poultry imports from India

Commerce ministry has sought opinion from livestock department regarding a proposed ban on the import of poultry items, officials said.

On Tuesday, fisheries and livestock ministry in a letter asked the Department of Livestock Services to take all possible steps to contain bird flu.

It directed to take precautions in all districts, including the frontier ones, through ensuring intensive supervision on both public and private farms.

The department was also asked to collect and test quickly in the nearest lab if any dead or suspicious fowl or bird is found.

Besides, the ministry asked the department to ensure supply of adequate volume of sample test kits and personal protective equipment at the district and upazila veterinary hospitals and laboratories.

For biosafety of farms, it also instructed to launch widespread campaign to warn farmers, and verify the existing stock of vaccines for flu prevention.

"We asked the livestock department for a specific proposal to ban poultry import considering the local demand, production, consumption and deficit of the items," said a commerce ministry official.

"We'll take the next course of action after receiving opinion from the department," he told the FE.

Amid concern over bird flu outbreak in India, an intelligence report suggested taking measures to contain poultry import from India, especially through land ports, to check virus transmission.

It also recommended formation of a high-powered committee comprising experts from the livestock department for suggestions to contain bird flu.

The prime minister's office referred the report to the ministry concerned to take an action plan to this end.

According to the report, the bird flu situation has turned severe in the neighbouring nation and it might also spread across Bangladesh.

Until last Friday, the flu's presence was confirmed in 11 Indian states-Rajasthan, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Gujarat.

The owners of Bangladeshi poultry farms are worried over the flu outbreak in India.

Avian influenza was detected in poultry, cow, crow, pigeon, kite, duck and black stork, forcing the Indian authorities to cull tens of thousands of poultry birds in the affected regions.

Sector insiders said Bangladesh currently imports a very negligible amount of poultry items from India.

In border areas, some people are involved in smuggling poultry items like day-old chicks which, the businesses fear, might cause the spread of the flu in Bangladesh.

The government's proposed ban would not create any crisis in meeting the demand for and supply of the poultry items, they added.

Bangladesh mainly imports parent stock and grandparent stock from European countries, the insiders mentioned.

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