The broiler chicken price has been skyrocketing in Kerala. The price of chicken in the State has reached ₹150-160 a kg. On an average one kg of dressed chicken costs around ₹250.
COVID-19 lockdown disruptions, demand-supply mismatch and increase in cost of production have contributed to the increased price, said Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan, Former Director, Entrepreneurship, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and Deputy director, Animal husbandry department.
“Due to continuous lockdown and disruption in the supply chain, more than 50% of the broiler growers and entrepreneurs, especially those who run small farms, temporarily closed their farms,” noted Dr. Sethumadhavan.
For the last two months, poultry farmers have found it difficult to sell chicken. Many of them were forced to sell chicken at a very low price even at ₹60-80, which pushed them to huge loss, said Binny Emmatty, State President of Poultry Farmers and Traders Samithy.
“Shortage in availability of poultry feed and its sharp hike in price increased the production cost. The price of poultry feed increased by ₹12 per kg. With this cost of production of one kg chicken has increased from ₹87 to ₹96,” Mr. Emmaty said.
This forced many farmers to close businesses. As the same situation prevailed in neighboring States like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, there was a real shortage of supply, he pointed out.
Cost of raw materials like maize and soya meal has shown a quantum jump in the neighbouring States. Moreover people are slowly starting working after lockdown, which creates demand for animal protein sources like milk, chicken, fishes and eggs, Dr. Sethumadhavan noted.
The current price hike may continue till the next harvest season when the price of feed raw material declines. The emerging festival seasons including Bakrid will favour consumer demand towards chicken. Many consumers prefer fresh chicken over frozen products, he added.
Some of the traders allege that traders of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are trying to hike the chicken prices due to hyped demand supply mismatch.
Mr. Emmaty said that many farmers, who closed their farms temporarily, have restarted growing the birds. Most probably their chicken will reach the market in one week, resulting in a decrease in price.
What the broiler farmers/ entrepreneurs need at this time of crisis is adequate funding and support to rear broiler chicken.