Over 1 million people involved in Bangladesh's poultry industry have lost their jobs in recent months due to outbreaks of avian influenza, according to the Bangladesh Poultry Farm Protection National Council.
Last year, the country's poultry farmers supplied 25 million eggs and 1.7 million kilograms of chicken meat to the local market, said Khandoker Mohammad Mohsin, the council's general secretary. "Now, the overall supply has come down to around 22% because of the disease," he said.
In January, the government began providing Tk 200 (US$2.75) per piece of bird-flu affected chicken to minimize financial losses to farmers, but recent government proposals suggest reducing compensation to Tk 120 (US$1.65) per piece. Local poultry farmers now say they fear that production of eggs and meat will decline by 50% by June if the present trend continues, resulting in an additional 1.5 million people who are directly and indirectly involved in the sector losing their jobs.