Jorhat, July 1: The All Assam Poultry Farmersí and Tradersí Association today demanded banning of big poultry companies, including a few multinationals, from operating in Assam, alleging that these were exploiting the small and medium poultry farmers of the state.
Talking to reporters here this evening after an executive meeting of the association, its president, A.K. Bhagawati, said a large number of companies, including some MNCs, had taken over a large number of small and medium-sized poultry farms in the state in the past 10 years.
He said in the Northeast, only the Assam government allowed big poultry companies to carry out contract farming, and the companies, under the pretence of creating employment and providing chicken at low cost, were actually taking over farms from the farmers, mostly in lower Assam, by duping the farmers into entering agreements that entirely favoured the companies.
Bhagawati said the companies supplied just-hatched chicks to the farmers, who had to bear the entire cost of rearing these into adults, which the companies bought back at a low rate fixed by them.
He said about three lakh people, including farmers, traders and chicken feed suppliers, were facing an uncertain future because of the companiesí actions.
There are about 80,000 small and medium-sized poultry farms in Assam.
Executive president of the association, Kushal Jyoti Malakar, said in states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal, small farmers had been completely wiped out by such companies.
He said the government should take steps to protect the interests of the small farmers by taking up special schemes for the poultry sector by offering subsidy or other incentives.
At present, about 3,50,000 kg of chicken meat (broiler) is produced in Assam, which almost fulfills the stateís requirement, Malakar added.