Poultry prices have been soaring across the country over a month with a kg of chicken being retailed at as high as Rs 200 to Rs 220 from about Rs 150 to 160 per kilogram at the same time a year ago. Average farm gate price of chicken has increased to Rs 120 per kg from Rs 95 per kg in the first week of June.
Over the last few weeks, farm gate prices (prices at which poultry farmers sell their market-ready birds weighing 2-2.5 kg) have crossed the Rs 120/kg mark across the country. The retail price of dressed chicken in the National Capital Region of Delhi is around Rs 210/kg while in markets like Mumbai, Pune the price is hovering between Rs 220-230/kg. Last year dressed chicken in Delhi had retailed at around Rs 160-170/kg and in other consumer markets, the price had hovered at Rs 150/kg.
The price of eggs, which normally do not see a sudden escalation during the monsoons, has also seen a sharp rise.
Farm owners have blamed rising input costs, especially the price of deoiled soya cake (DOC) and maize, for the spike in prices. Prices of DOC, which forms the protein content of the feed, have soared thanks to rising soybean prices. Soya prices have gone up from Rs 35 per kg to Rs 76 over the last three to four months. Soya protein accounts for 30 per cent of the feed.
Maize price, too, has gone up to Rs 20 per kg from Rs 14 per kg in a year. The combination factors have forced poultry firms to increase prices and cut production.
This, coupled with rise in prices of amino acids and vitamins, which constitute the feed of the birds, have left farmers high and dry. The current price hike may continue till the next harvest season when the price of feed raw material declines.
Since the last few months, the poultry industry has flagged the abnormal price rise of soybean which they say has affected their bottom line, not a desirable outcome for an economy that has just begun to come out of the pandemic-induced woes.
The industry has urged the government to allow duty-free import of soybean as high chicken prices have impacted sales and may prove unsustainable.