Once again we have seen the spread of the bird flu in Nepal. Bird flu, also known as avian influenza occurs in birds and is contagious among them. It is especially deadly for poultry.
The first time bird flu in Nepal was spotted back in 2009. During that period the meat industry of Nepal faced such a crisis and unfortunately, bird flu in Nepal has been sighted various times throughout all these years.
When we hear about the Avian Flu, for some of us it may only mean not eating chicken for a few weeks. But there is a much severe impact on the farmers that may go unseen and unheard of. Along with that a severe impact on the economy of the poultry industry in Nepal.
HOW NEPAL HAS GEARED AGAINST THE BIRD FLU IN NEPAL
In the first year that Bird Flu was spotted in Nepal, there were many precautions taken.
Veterinary workers were sent to the region of infection to cull 13,000 poultry to try to control the virus. Over the years the precautions taken by Nepal to control the Bird Flu have not seen much change. There have always been two constant methods used to tackle this devastation on the meat industry.
The first step the Nepalese Government takes to control the Avian Influenza is to stop poultry imports from India. Which has already been under motion on Jan 9, 2021, since there is a new surge of the Flu in recent days.
Another constant step taken by the government is the culling of these infected birds. Thousands of bird variations like Duck, Chicken, and Quails were culled this month in hopes to control the spread of the bird flu in Nepal.
One thing that has developed throughout the years is that in the first year Bird Flu was tested, the lab results had to come from London. Whereas now, the PCR test of the birds is done here in Nepal which is a much faster method.
The economic impact made by a widespread virus like the Bird Flu in Nepal is on hard-working poultry farmers. To put in perspective the amount lost because of the flu, the direct loss of the Pokhara outbreak in 2010 from the culling of birds was more than Rs 4.5 million.
A small-scale commercial farmer rearing on average lost about NRs 10,000. The economic impact on farmers is the heaviest as the supply of poultry outweighs the demand.
Yet, this year’s outbreak falls even heavier than usual upon the poultry industry of Nepal. The farmers were just recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and nation-wide lockdown. Their income was already on hold, were again met with such a dire situation. As new hopes were rising for them with the markets being opened again, it got under the attack of yet another virus.
This is only considering the economic impact on farmers. But on another view, the consumers also face a sudden rise in prices after the flu. Similarly, at the moment of the flu, people avoid having poultry, change their diet and this is also reflected in restaurant and catering services.
Having said that, as the Bird Flu in Nepal is rising, be aware of wearing a mask at all times and cook meat at high heat thoroughly if you wish to consume them.
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