Agriculture World

How Coronavirus is Affecting Poultry Industry?

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
poultry

The whole world is under the grip of Coronavirus, the deadly virus that has claimed thousands of lives so far. The coronavirus outbreak is impacting several industries all over the world including poultry. The month of February saw a decline in poultry prices by a third in India due to receding consumer demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.

As per reports, broiler chicken in the benchmark Bengaluru wholesale market was quoted at Rs 61.76 per kg on average last month, as against Rs 91.58 per kg in January. In the same way, broiler chicken in the Hyderabad & Muzaffarpur wholesale markets was sold at Rs 61.28 per kg and Rs 78.66 per kg, respectively in Feb as compared to Rs 86.28 /kg and Rs 90.13/kg in the month of January. Besides this, prices of egg have also plunged.

While farmers and government both have rejected the possibility of coronavirus spreading through consumption of chicken & eggs, the demand for poultry has dropped.

K G Anand, general manager of Venkateshwara Hatcheries that sells poultry products under Venky’s brand said, “Poultry consumption has decreased sharply since coronavirus outbreak. Mammals, not birds, are the main source of coronavirus”.

Poultry farmers are suffering huge losses after the sharp drop in prices.

Anand said a broiler chicken at present is being quoted ex-farm at Rs 40 per kg, as against its cost of production of Rs 80 to 85 per kg.

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President of Poultry Federation of India, Ramesh Chander Khatri said, “The whole poultry sector is led by small & unorganized players. They cannot stay alive with such massive losses. As a consequence, they are reducing their production capacity. In fact, many small farmers have closed their operations and shifted to other means of livelihood”.

Also, poultry farmers have been suffering for past few years due to a sharp spike in prices of raw material. Although feed prices have moderated lately, the decline in consumption of chicken because of coronavirus fear has hit the farmers very hard.

Feed prices have declined 6 to 15% in the last one month. The average price of soybean has dropped 6% to Rs 4,067 per quintal in February, as compared to Rs 4,329 per quintal in January.

Likewise, maize and bajra have become cheaper by 15% and 8%, respectively. Maize & bajra traded at Rs 1,994 / quintal and 1,806 / quintal, respectively, last month as against Rs 2347/quintal and Rs 1965/quintal in January.

Anand added that “We expect demand to return back to normal in 2 months. But till then the summer season will set in & it remains a lean period for the poultry sector. However, reduced availability can have some positive impact on rates”.

According to Poultry Federation of India data, Rs 1-trillion poultry sector employs over 20 million people, directly as well as indirectly.

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