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Thai Poultry/Catfish Farmers In New Dilemma

by the Fish Site Editor
28 June 2004, at 1:00am

THAILAND - Thailand's poultry farmers affected by last December's outbreak of bird flu are now facing another obstacle. Chicken breeders in Chainat province have refused to distribute hens to small-scale poultry farmers who run a mixed poultry-fish farm, saying catfish were a possible cause of the bird flu outbreak.

Thai Poultry Farmers In New Dilemma - THAILAND - Thailand's poultry farmers affected by last December's outbreak of bird flu are now facing another obstacle. Chicken breeders in Chainat province have refused to distribute hens to small-scale poultry farmers who run a mixed poultry-fish farm, saying catfish were a possible cause of the bird flu outbreak.

Under the contract farming system, chicken breeders give hens to poultry farmers for free and get chicks and eggs in return. But now these breeders are refusing to hand out the hens to farmers for fear that they may die from the virus.

The Office of Agriculture Economics yesterday expressed concern over this misunderstanding.

The OAE said the breeders' refusal to hand out the hens to farmers, who built their chicken coops over fish ponds, would seriously affect the farmers.

The OAE called on the Fisheries and Livestock departments to urgently inform the people there was no risk operating such mixed farm practices.

Integrated poultry farming, where poultry are raised over fish ponds, is a common practice among small-scale poultry farmers with less than 5,000 chickens.

Poultry farmers set up their chicken coops over a five-rai fish pond into which about 100,000 catfish are released. The fish feed on the chicken droppings.

Such farming method helps create additional income for poultry farmers, who can earn more than 100,000 baht a year from selling catfish.

Fisheries department chief Sidhi Boonyaratpalin, insisted that scientific research had proven that the H5N1 strain of bird flu could not jump from fowl to fish or vice versa.

He said since bird flu was wiped out from the country early this year, the department had constantly sampled fish to test for signs of infectious diseases. The results have been completely negative. Mr Sidhi said he would order provincial fisheries officers to explain the matter to confused farmers and chicken breeders that there was no risk.

Source: eFeedLink - 29th June 2004

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