Poultry prices in Pune have recorded a sharp price correction this month, breaking a trend usually seen in March, when the industry enjoys higher prices.
Currently, poultry farmers in Pune are being paid Rs 56.35 per kg for a 2-2.5 kg bird. This is the ideal weight for market-ready birds that are reared for 45 days at the farm. However, this is the lowest price recorded in the last five years. Last March, when the poultry industry was reeling under the effects of demonetisation, the price of chicken was approximately Rs 70.35 per kg, which was within the normal price range.
While consumers have welcomed the low prices, the poultry industry is confused, as prices usually witness a steep rise at the onset of summer. While the cost of production goes up due to the limited supply of water and raw material, the higher prices the birds command in the market generate enough profit for poultry owners.
The trend seems to have gone awry this year, adding to the woes of farmers. On an average, Maharashtra reports placement of 3.5-4 crore birds per month, while Pune records placement of around 2 lakh birds per day.
A variety of factors are causing prices to fall, said Parameshwar Thite, director of the Pune-based Techence IT solutions, a company which develops solutions for the poultry industry. These included an early onset of summer and the ongoing exam season, which had led to a dip in the consumption of chicken, he said.
On the other hand, said Thite, production has increased by 15-20 per cent as poultry farms have scaled up their operations in view of the approaching season of high prices. “But the calculations have gone haywire as the consumption fell suddenly,” he said.
The recent allegations, about the overusage of antibiotics in India’s poultry industry, have also contributed to the fall in consumption, despite refutal by the industry.
Agri-commodity analyst Deepak Chavan said the early advent of summer has had an effect on the consumption pattern, and has led to a mismatch between supply and demand. However, he believes the price drop would correct itself soon.