For the lovers of chicken, abnormal escalation in retail prices of both poultry meat and eggs over the last few weeks has surely been a concern. This price rise comes even as Covid-19 restrictions continue to affect the normal sales of both chicken and eggs. Poultry farmers, instead of rejoicing in this rare bull run, have talked about increased input costs which threaten to derail their business.

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. At Namakkal — an important egg market catering to many states — a tray of 100 eggs is now selling at Rs 515. The retail prices of eggs in Pune and Delhi are Rs 5.44 and Rs 5.15 per egg respectively. This is a sharp rise from last year’s price when eggs had retailed at Rs 3-4 per piece in most parts of the country.

This price rise comes even as Covid restrictions on hotels and restaurants continue in most parts of the country. In Maharashtra, dine-in services are restricted till 4 pm and on weekends only takeaways are allowed. Hotels constitute around 20 -25 per cent of the 1.3 crore birds and 30 crore eggs sold nationally daily. Poultry farmers on their part, however, attribute this price rise to an escalation in feed prices especially to that of deoiled soya cake (DOC), which forms the protein content of the feed.

Since the last few months, the poultry industry has flagged the abnormal price rise of soybean which they say has affected their bottom line. Bahadur Ali, president of All India Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association, has asked for the import of 20 lakh tonnes of DOC to help the sector. Ali, who has written to numerous ministries including the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) claimed that around 30 per cent of the poultry farmers in the country have been forced to close their sheds given the higher prices.
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