The price of broiler chicken has registered a sharp increase over the last fortnight amid rising cost of poultry feed and a dip in production.
From less than ?200 per kg, the retail price of chicken is now touching ?250 in most urban areas of the State including Mysuru.
While sources in Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA) in Bengaluru said the farm gate price of live chicken had increased from the earlier ?90 per kg to ?128 on Friday, a dealer of broiler chicken from Pandavapura claimed that the wholesale price was around ?140 per kg.
Explaining the difference between the farm gate price and retail price, KPFBA Executive Secretary Inayathulla Khan said every kg of live bird will yield about 680 to 720 grams of meat while the rest of the 280 to 320 grams comprising feathers and other organs is discarded as waste. “If the price of transport, labour, rent of the shop and other charges are added, the retail price will naturally cross ?250 per kg in most urban areas”, said Ramesh, a chicken dealer.
A kg of skinless chicken was sold for ?260 in Udayagiri in Mysuru on Friday. However, the price was ?220 for a kg of chicken with skin.
Speaking to The Hindu, Chairman of Broiler Coordination Committee of KPFBA Manjesh Kumar Jadav attributed the increase in prices to the rise in prices of poultry feed such as soya and maize, while many farmers were unable to keep up with the production levels due to the losses they had suffered in the recent lockdown.
Mr. Jadav recalled that consumption of chicken came down by 40 per cent after lockdown was declared about three months ago. Not only were hotels and restaurants closed, marriages and functions were also cancelled. Besides, retail chicken outlets were permitted to operate only for a limited period of time during the lockdown, leading to a huge slump in demand.
Compounding the woes of the poultry farmers and breeders was the increase in price of soya from ?35 per kg to ?76 and maize from ?15 per kg to ?22 over the last three to four months along with the price of amino acids and vitamins, which constitute the feed of the birds.
Though the farm gate price was less than ?90 per kg prior to the lockdown when the cost of production was less than ?70, the increase in feed cost has pushed the cost of production past the ?110 per kg mark. “Many farmers had lost a substantial sum of money during the lockdown due to the increase in production costs. Even at ?125 per kg, it will take these farmers at least three to four months to recover the losses”, Mr. Jadav reasoned.
Several farmers suffered losses and did not have sufficient capital to maintain the production at the same level, leading to a slump in volumes. “The production has come down from 3 crore kg of chicken per month to about 2.5 crore kg per day now”, he said.
The slump in production comes amidst advice to te people by the medical fraternity to include protein-rich poultry products such as chicken and eggs in their diet to face the challenge posed by COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Jadav said.
Consumption of eggs in Karnataka had increased from 1.2 crore per day to 1.5 crore per day at present. “Though the consumption had dipped to 80 lakh per day during lockdown, it has picked up again to reach 1.5 crore”, he said. The retail price of egg has also gone up from ?5 to 7, he said.
Meanwhile, a statement from KPFBA President Sushant Rai said the per capita consumption of broiler chicken in Karnataka was just 5 kg while it was 63 kg in Malaysia, 58 kg in the US and 57 kg in Brazil. “An increase in the per capita consumption would not only benefit the consumers in terms of nutritive value, but also help the farmers, many of whom are in distress”, he said.
Source: THE HINDU