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Costly Feed Blamed for High Consumer Prices

by 5m Editor
1 June 2009, at 7:05am

INDIA - Feed ingredient costs are being blamed for the prices of eggs and poultry meat at record levels.

The sky-rocketing prices of poultry feed have led to the highest-ever price of these products in the lean summer season, according to The Tribune from Chandigarh. The prices of eggs and chicken have shot up by 33 per cent in the past one year, in spite of low demand in the domestic market.

As against the wholesale price of 180 rupees (INR) per 100 eggs (retail price of INR 24 per dozen) in May last year, the wholesale prices have now shot up to INR 237 to 240 per 100 eggs and the retail prices have increased to INR 32 per dozen. Similarly, the price of a dressed chicken has shot up from INR 95 per kilo to INR 100 to 120 now.

Sources in the poultry trade informed The Tribune that over the past one year, the price of maize had increased from INR 800 per quintal [100 kg] last year to INR 1,100 per quintal now. The price of soya, too, had increased from INR 1,400 per quintal last year to INR 2,700 per quintal at present. Though the price of minerals like manganese, zinc and iron, which are added to poultry feed, had come down, this had been offset by high prices of maize and soybean meal.

Surjit Singh, chairman of the North Zone Broiler Breeders Association, said the feed prices were up by almost 60 per cent in the past one year, forcing them to increase the price of poultry products.

G.S. Bedi, president of the Amritsar Poultry Industry Association, said the price of maize had come down for a few months last year after its export was banned by the government. "But after the ban was lifted in October last year, the prices again started shooting up as exports started increasing. However, poultry farmers have not increased the prices of products in tandem with the increase in prices of poultry feed. As a result, several small poultry farmers have had to close shop and have offered their farms on rent to the bigger farmers," he said.

He added that while local poultry farmers had been forced out of business because of the high price of maize, several multinational exporters and traders have earned huge profits through its exports.