May 15, 2021 1:19:47 pm
Uncertainty about sale timings and weekend lockdowns amid the pandemic have seen the poultry industry complain about an average 20 per cent reduction in sales. This has also caused at least Rs 30 per kg cut in ex-farmgate prices of poultry birds, thereby throwing the sector into a bout of distress sales.
Ex-farmgate prices, the price at which farmers sell their market-ready birds weighing 2-2.5 kg each, have slipped to Rs 72-74 kg from their above Rs 100 levels towards the end of April. Unfortunately, this price dip comes when the industry normally enjoys a good price run as supply-demand ratio dips towards the latter. The main reason for this price correction is mostly the restrictions put on sales times and the weekend lockdown which has been put in force to control the rising number of COVID 19 cases.
During the weekend curfews barring shops selling milk and medicine, all other shops have been instructed to remain shut. Representation by the poultry sector had led to the state government to announce relaxation for the sector but many district collectors have taken a different stance.
Districts like Pune, Nashik Thane and Mumbai, where COVID 19 cases have seen exponential growths, had decided to strictly implement the weekend curfew and thus shops selling poultry protein also remain closed. Such closure has been in certain talukas to control the spread of the disease there. During the weekdays, sales have been restricted between 7 am- 1 am. Meanwhile, the announcement of a 10-day strict lockdown in Karnataka has also had a cascading effect on the prices.
Given the uncertainty of the retail supply chain, many poultry farmers have started offloading their stocks to prevent further collapse of prices.
The industry has felt the pinch of high raw material costs as soymeal cake, the raw protein component of poultry feed, is now selling at around Rs 63-65/kg. The combined effect of all the above reasons has been a reduction in prices. With the hotel and hospitality industry being allowed only home delivery, there is an overall dip of 20 per cent in sales.
The industry has written to the state government asking for uniform sales hours and weekend relaxation for them. Prasanna Pedgaonkar, general manager of Venkateshwara Hatcheries. said they are hopeful of a positive response from the government soon.
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