Egg and chicken prices might come down — but here’s how it impacts the poultry farmer

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With the onset of Sraddha and Chaitra Navratri days, the prices of eggs and chicken are estimated to come down by as much as 30 percent amid low demand and high costs. Here’s what it means for the the poultry farmer, who is selling the egg at Rs 4-4.2 per unit at a production cost of Rs 4.5-5.

“I have second thoughts about carrying on with poultry… Who would carry on the business with losses and why would anyone invest in it when you have to do a side business to sustain your family?” says Mudassar Sheikh, a poultry farm owner from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Sheikh, who took over his family business in 2010, has been facing issues to carry on due to high input costs, low demand and wild swings in prices.

The price of eggs in Delhi for the summer season rose to Rs 4.4 per unit on May 31 from Rs 3.5 per unit on May 1, according to data from the NECC website. The change was 42 percent in July and 20 percent in June.

In 2021, the minimum variation was at four percent (in August) and the maximum at 15 percent (May). In 2020, the minimum variation was at six percent (May) and the maximum at 21 percent (August). The numbers from the recent pre-COVID years indicate the average variation at 10-20 percent.

Not only is the price variation high this year, but there is also fluctuation. From 2018 to 2021, the price either decreased or increased in these months in a stagnant manner. In 2022, this has not been the case.

For instance, on May 1, the price was at 3.5 per egg, on June 30, at Rs 5.4 per egg — a rise of 54 percent, and at Rs 3.6 per egg on July 16 — a fall of 33 percent. The current price, according to the NECC, is Rs 4.3 per egg.

“Production of one egg costs Rs 4.5-5 and the rate keeps on fluctuating… Big companies have facilities to keep eggs in cold storage but small farm owners don’t have such resources. The rate today is Rs 408-410 per 100 eggs, so what will a small farm owner earn? The cost is above Rs 4.5… Even if we sell it at Rs 420 or Rs 430 per 100 eggs, still, there is a 20-30 paise loss on each egg (Rs 20-30 loss per 100 egg),” said Ali Akbar, President of the Lucknow-based Uttar Pradesh Poultry Association.

High production costs for one egg due to high input costs (fodder, labour, medicine and transportation bills) and fluctuating prices have already built up losses for small poultry farm owners.

Now with the upcoming Sraddha and Chaitra Navratri (days in which the Hindus restrain from eating non-vegetarian food), the farmers estimate a dip of up to 15-30 percent in the egg price owing to weaker demand based on earlier experiences.

“The demand goes down from Shravan to Navratri,. I estimate the prices will go down to Rs 3 per egg. It is impossible to stop birds from laying eggs when prices decline. There is no switch that can be turned on and off. Our feed, energy and labour costs continue to rise, and we are forced to sell at a loss,” said Valinder Singh, a poultry farm owner based out of Panipat, Haryana.

Source – cnbctv18

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