Illegal chicken import on rise in BiratnagarPoultry farmers in Biratnagar are struggling for their survivality in the market due to illegally imported chicken from the bordering Indian towns.
Dilli Ram Khatiwada
Poultry farmers in Biratnagar are struggling for their survivality in the market due to illegally imported chicken from the bordering Indian towns.
Although the government has imposed ban on the import of chicken, the porous border has facilitated the illegal import of chicken from India. As a result, poultry farmers in Morang, Sunsari, Jhapa, among others, are facing difficulties to survive in the market.
Jogbani, Bhadrapur and Bhantabari are the major custom points through which the chicken is brought into the Nepali market. Poultry farmers are badly hit as they are forced to buy chicken feed at steep prices and sell chicken at low price. “Prices of feed and chicks are ever increasing but the price of the end produce has remained low for long,” said Naresh Thapa, a poultry farmer from Jhapa, claiming that the price of chicken has not been revised for eight years.
The Nepali producers were unable to sell their products in the festive seasons like Dashain and Tihar when demands for meat products often remain high. “The government statistics suggests seven-fold increase in sales of meat during Dashain. But we couldn’t sell our produce during the festival due to illegal imports from India,” said Balram Thapa of Biratnagar.
The local markets have been swarmed with chicken from India because of the government apathy towards curbing smuggling of chicken, he added.
The locals complained that middlemen are facilitating the smugglers to capture the Nepali market.
According to District Livestock Office Chief Sushil Adhikari, it is the responsibility of Animal Quarantine Office to control the illegal import. “The onus lies with Quarantine Office to examine the quality of imported produce and impose a ban,” Adhikari said. “It can even allow the import, but only after a proper examination.”
Quarantine Office Biratnagar’s animal health technician Ganesh Poudel, however, insists that they have not let imported chicken into the local market. “The government ban on import of chicken has been implemented at the main check point. But due to the open border, it remains a big challenge to completely stop smuggling from other points,” said Poudel.