As Maharashtra continues to face the ravages of drought, the poultry industry has started reporting almost 35 per cent production losses in the state. Ironically, this comes when for the first time in many months, the industry started reporting profits in the sales of broiler.
Maharashtra sees placement of around 3.5 crore birds per month, of which around 50 lakh kgs of chicken is supplied to Mumbai alone.
The industry has a monthly turnover of over Rs 800 crores in the state. Pune district sees placement of around 40 lakh birds per month. The input cost of production of a kg of broiler chicken, of late, has been between Rs 70-75. Prior to December last year, the price of per kg broiler chicken was lesser than the input cost, resulting in losses for farmers. Since December 17, the price of broiler in market has been higher than the input cost and in Pune, at present it is Rs 90 per kg.
Prasanna Pedgaonkar, deputy general manager of Venkateshwara Hatcheries Private Limited, said the water scarcity has seen around 35 per cent drop in production. Districts in Marathwada, Vidarbha, Ahmendnagar, etc, he said, were witnessing severe water crisis which has led to many poultry farmers temporarily closing their sheds.
“Using tankers to water, the farms are not viable and also the supply of tankers is not reliable,” he said. The increase in cost was a direct result of the askew demand-supply ratio. However, the rise in price, he said, has not benefitted much as the industry has to make do with the accumulated losses of the last few months.
Due to the water scarcity, around 10-15 per cent of the poultry sheds in the state have closed down. Mangesh Dhumal, chief managing director of Sakar Poultry, said the situation in even Western Maharashtra is equally bad.
“Around 20 per cent of our farmers have ceased operation,” he said. The drought, he said, has seen a 15 per cent dip in the body weight of the birds and an increase of five per cent in their mortality.
Another worry for the industry is the rise in price of maize and the scarcity of soyameal, which form the basic feed for the industry. Parameshwar Thite, industry analyst and director of Techence solutions, said that for the first time, India had to import soyameal due to the failure of soya crop in the country.
“Also, over the last few weeks, the price of maize has gone up increasing the input costs,” he said. The rise in price, he said, has not resulted into much gains for the farmers at large. “Only those players who had kept up the placement would gain from the price rise but that too only marginally,” he said.