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Kerala's Small-scale Poultry Farmers Facing Crisis

03 September 2013

INDIA - An indefinite strike called by the coordination committee of poultry farmers and wholesale dealers in the state of Kerela is threatening the future of small-scale poultry farmers.

The strike has been called by poultry farmers and traders across the state under the banner the All-Kerala Poultry Federation in protest against the increased floor prices for chicken, according to a report in The New Indian Express.

The retailers in the state have been staying away from the strike since many of them have stocked chicken.

Meanwhile, the Joint Association of Kerala State Poultry Farmers representatives on Thursday told a press conference that they will boycott the strike.

They alleged that the strike is to protect the vested interests of a number of large broiler enterprises and lobbies of other states.

"The large broiler chicken enterprises are aiming to destroy the market of small-scale poultry farmers in the state. The government should roll back the increased floor prices for chicken while keeping the advance tax. This will curb the flow of chicken from other states and thereby increase the market of poultry farmers in the state. But the advance tax for chicken from other states should be removed," said Baiju Kadavan, the chairman of the Joint Association, according to teh report.

The Kerala Commercial Taxes Department had decided to increase the base price of chicken from the existing Rs 70 to Rs 95 with effect from Thursday.

The base price of chicks will also go up to Rs 35 from Rs 24.

The advance tax collected for bringing chicken and chicks from other states is 14.5 per cent of the base price.

As a result, the chicken dealers in the state will have to pay additional Rs 10 per kg to the suppliers.

The lion’s share of the state's requirements is met by the supply from Tamil Nadu as the poultry production from the state is just 90,000 tonnes each year against a requirement of nearly 240,000 tonnes, the report said.

"The Kerala State Poultry Development Corporation (KEPCO) is not taking a stand to support the poultry farmers in the state. The move to increase floor price was to help the big lobbies which brought chicken to Kerala from other states," said Pattom Sasidharan, president of the Kerala State Poultry Farmers Welfare Association.

"The poultry industry has to suffer paying tax for a single product many times. The government should appoint an Assembly panel to study this and find a permanent solution," he added.

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