Chicken prices have witnessed a sharp rise in the past couple of months with the industry reporting a 20-25% reduction in production caused by pandemic lockdowns. High costs of feed, closure of hotels and restaurants and a rise in mortality of the birds due to the onset of summer have added to price rise.
Farmgate prices have gone up to Rs 125 -130 a kg from Rs 70-80 a kg a couple of months ago. Industry players attribute the short supply to several small players culling their stocks due to high feed costs and poor sales in the Covid period due to the restriction in timings. For the retail customer, the chicken prices would be higher at Rs 200-225 per kg.
Almost every year poultry prices go up due to higher demand during March as during Holi festival, demand is very high. But this time the situation is different.
In the last three months, there has been 25-30% increase in feed cost as corn (maize) rates have increased from Rs 21,000 per tonne to Rs 25,000 per tonne and soyabean meal rates have increased from Rs 55,000 per tonne to Rs 70,000 per tonne. This increases the cost of production of broilers, thus resulting in increase in market price of broilers.
The premature liquidity of the stocks has brought some correction in the market, availability went down and at the same time demand is back to normal because of high vegetable costs and high costs of meat and fish.
Pedgaonkar explained that in summer usually mortality is on the higher side and production is on the lower side. The overall productivity goes down by 7-10% and that with correction and overall availability also goes down, he said. Last year, the government had allowed GM soyameal imports but only till December 2021. The industry failed to get an extension till March 2022 for the imports. Farmers are hoarding their stocks. Poultry farmers’ association has urged the government to make available maize, wheat and broken rice available with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to poultry farmers at subsidized rates to help lower the cost of production of the poultry sector.