The spread of bird flu does not seem to have scared meat lovers in the city. Even after many turkeys died due to bird flu, demand for the bird’s meat and its price in the market have gone up.
“The affected turkeys are not the ones for commercial sale. Turkeys in Central Poultry Development Organisation at Hesaraghatta have been affected by flu. The farm has been closed by the government. Colour turkeys are affected and we are not selling those turkeys in the market,” said Md Imran Pasha, secretary of the meet association in Russell Market.
Before the bird flu scare spread, every meat shop in the market used to sell Turkey meat. But now only two shops are selling turkeys which are bred in poultry farms in small numbers. Four to five tonnes of turkey used to be sold each year during November and December. But now only one or two tonnes are sold in the market. Syed Saleem, proprietor of Classic Chicken Corner, told DNA: “I have ordered 50 tonnes of turkey from Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad, but I am not able to get even 25 per cent of it. There is a lot of demand for turkey meat from star hotels.”
Since turkeys at Hesaraghatta farm have been affected by bird flu, shopkeepers are depending on poultry farms in other places including Kolar and Mulbagal.
“Turkeys are brought to the city and supplied to star hotels from Coimbatore, Erode and Hyderabad. Each kilo of turkey meat used to be sold at a wholesale price of Rs150 before birds at Hesaraghatta farm were affected by flu. Now each kilo of turkey meat is sold for Rs300 or Rs350,” said Saleem.
“In a month, around 300 tonnes of turkey is sold to star hotels in Bangalore. The demand from them continued even after bird flu spread,” he said. “Since turkeys sold in the market are brought from Tamil Nadu, I hope it is not affected by bird flu,” said Md Rafeeq, a customer. Shopkeepers said the demand may come down after a few days. Already 3,600 birds died in Hesaraghatta. “If turkeys continue to die, it will be a problem for the shops which are selling them. Even if demand comes down, the price of turkey meat will rise since healthy turkeys are brought from other places,” said Saleem.