100 poultry farms shut down

December 1, 2015

PUNE: Very high production costs have made poultry farming an unviable business and have forced closure of scores of small and medium farms since this year, the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) has said.

The committee has called for urgent measures to regulate suppliers of bird feed, especially maize and soyabean. According to NECC officials, hoarding of the raw material by traders is making it difficult for farmers to make ends meet.

Apart from maize and soyabean, other poultry feed like bajra, jowar and broken rice is also out of the farmers' reach.

Almost 100 poultry farms in the state, including some surrounding Pune and those in Sangli, Satara and Solapur have shut down since the start of this year, senior NECC officials have estimated. As per the committee, there were approximately 400 medium sized poultry farms in the state in the beginning of the year.

The officials added that low egg prices for the better part of the year meant that many farmers have not even been able to recover their costs.

NECC zonal chairman Shyam Bhagat said, "Maize is the main raw material for poultry farmers and it is commanding as much as Rs 17,000 per metric tonne this year, up from last year's Rs 13,500 per metric tonne. The drought situation in the state is forcing farmers in the state to look at suppliers from outside the state, especially Karnataka, where traders are hoarding maize and soyabean to push up prices beyond the Rs 20,000 mark. It's an alarming situation for us to have lost as many as 25% of our farmers in the last year. Many more farms are on the verge of shutting down."

Another senior committee official, who did not wish to be named, said poultry farming in the state is becoming increasingly unviable and many farmers have been struggling for the past couple of years. "Since banks don't come forward to help them in the form of loans, some farmers have even been reduced to a hand-to-mouth situation," the official added.

Vinay Gulwani runs a poultry farm in Vita in Sangli district, but has been running into losses. He urged the state government to consider subsidising bird feed and electricity to allow farmers to make ends meet. "I am operating my farm at only half its capacity as I am unable to feed the birds. All 200 farmers in the area are facing a similar situation. Traders supplying bird feed are capitalising on the drought in the state and hoarding the raw material. Other inputs like electricity are also expensive. These factors make the entire business non-profitable, especially since egg prices are fixed nationally and thus kept low," he said.

Source by TimesofIndia