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Economic impacts of avian influenza outbreaks in Kerala, India

Govindaraj, G., Sridevi, R., Nandakumar, S. N., Vineet, R., Rajeev, P., Binu, M. K., Balamurugan, V., Rahman, H.
Transboundary and emerging diseases 2018 v.65 no.2 pp. e361
avian influenza, biosecurity, boats, broiler chickens, commercial farms, control methods, ducks, economic impact, eggs, emerging diseases, farmers, government payments, hatcheries, humans, meat, migratory birds, monitoring, nestlings, prices, rearing, screening, stakeholders, tourism, tourists, India
This study assessed the short‐run impact to poultry farmers, duck hatcheries, control costs, compensation paid to stakeholders (transfer payments) and market reactions on own and substitute product prices and backwater tourism (boat operators) due to avian influenza (AI) outbreaks in Kuttanad region of Kerala, India, during 2014. The primary data from 91 poultry farms (duck farms, broiler chicken and backyard poultry), four hatcheries and 90 backwater boat owners were collected through pre‐tested schedules. The secondary data on transfer payments and expenditure incurred to control AI were collected from developmental departments and were analysed. The estimated loss (culling live birds, eggs and feed destruction) per duck farm was USD 9,181, USD 3,889 and USD 156 in case of commercial farms reared for meat, dual‐purpose and backyard farms, respectively. The loss incurred by small‐scale broiler and backyard poultry farms was USD 453 and USD 40, respectively. The loss incurred by large and small duck hatcheries was USD 11,963 and USD 5,790, respectively, due to culling of hatchlings, young birds and destroying eggs. The government invested USD 744,890 to contain the disease spread through massive culling, surveillance and monitoring of poultry and humans due to zoonotic nature of the disease. A sharp market reaction on own and substitute product prices and eight weeks’ time lag in price recovery was observed. The consequential impact on tourism especially for the backwater boat operators amounted to a loss of USD 2,280/boat due to fall in tourist inflow. Since, control measures are post‐incidence, it is necessary to adopt appropriate preventive bio‐security measures at the farm level besides periodical screening of domestic birds in migratory birds’ flyway locations like Kuttanad to reduce the AI burden on various stakeholders including government.