Eggs, chicken to turn costlier in India as feedstock prices rise

Eggs and chicken are set to become more expensive as the prices of poultry feed ingredients soyabean and maize are firming up due to a shortfall in supplies, companies and traders said.

Traders expect maize production in the rabi season to drop further because of drought conditions in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana. However, the situation may turn around if duty-free imports of maize from Ukraine and France are allowed, they said.

The poultry industry consumes almost 60 per cent of the country’s maize production. “Maize prices are at a record high of Rs 2,100-2,150 a quintal compared with the average year-round price of Rs 1,300-1,400 a quintal,” said Ramesh Chander Khatri, secretary of the Poultry Federation of India to the Economic Times. “Similarly, prices of other commodities like soyabean, barley and rice bran, which are used for poultry feed, are increasing. The broiler and layer industry may soon have to revise prices to ensure farmers don’t suffer losses and stop production.”

Soyabean prices have increased by 12 per cent in the past month to Rs 3,900 a quintal, traders said.

Khatri said the wholesale price of eggs has increased from Rs 3.50 to Rs 4 apiece in the past month. A shortfall in supplies may push the price of chicken to Rs 100 a kg at the farm gate from Rs 60-70 a kg currently, he said.

The industry is struggling with increased costs of raw material, said Raghavan Sampathkumar, executive director of the Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers Association. “The industry is absorbing the losses, but it is unsustainable and they will be forced to cut production which will eventually lead to an increase in prices. If the government allows import of duty-free maize for actual users through state trading companies, the situation will improve,” he said.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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