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Poultry Demand Boosted by Anthrax Fears

by 5m Editor
21 September 2010, at 10:37am

BANGLADESH - Concerns over anthrax in beef and strong demand have caused at least a temporary jump in the price of day-old broiler chicks.

Anthrax fears among consumers have encouraged people to farm poultry more amid rising prices of chicken, but the supply of chicks is less than expected, reports Daily Star of Bangladesh.

High demand now fuels the prices of day-old chicks – broiler, and the crossbreed variety named sonali cock – in the backdrop of a supply shortage. Currently, a day-old broiler chick is sold at 70 to 80 taka (BDT) at farmer level, up from less than BDT70 a month ago, operators said.

However, the demand for layer chicks remains low.

"Farmers are interested in rearing more chicken because of a rise in the prices of chicken meat. The spread of anthrax has contributed partly to the rise," said Syed Abu Siddique, president of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association.

The price of a kilo of broiler chicken rose to between BDT160 and BDT170 yesterday from BDT125 to BDT135 a month ago, according to the retail price data of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.

The sector people said the poultry price usually goes up ahead of Eid and declines later with demand easing. But this year, the price is still high as many consumers continue to avoid beef.

The price of chicken began picking up amid a gradual shift from beef after the detection and spread of anthrax in cattle since mid-August. Beef sales have tumbled, butchers said.

However, Mr Siddique said the farmers were not reaping the benefits of the rise in prices due to the high cost of day-old chicks and feed.

Kazi Zahin Hasan, director of a leading poultry breeder, Kazi Farms Ltd, linked the high price of day-old chicks to their demand from farmers.

"The price of broiler chicks is high because the poultry farmers want to buy more broiler chicks than what the hatcheries are producing," said Mr Hasan.

Moshiur Rahman, managing director of Paragon Group, said the demand for day-old broiler chick would be 6.5 million a week against a supply of about 5.5 to 6.0 million.

"It seems that many are interested in poultry farming," said Mr Rahman.

He told Daily Star that the production of broiler chicks has increased a bit in the August-September period but the anthrax fear has created a sudden shortage as demand went high.

The industry people said the outbreak of the disease has had a positive impact on the profitability of the poultry industry by accelerating the demand for chicken among the consumers.

They said the rise in demand for chicken would encourage hatcheries to breed more chicks to allow expansion in farming.

"Many people [farmers] will take risk to reap the benefit of the spike in demand for chicken," said Mr Rahman, expecting that production of chicks would go up by March or April next year. But others say such a high demand may not continue for long.

"The demand for beef will probably return to normal in a month or two. When that happens, the demand for chicken will also return to normal," predicted Mr Hasan of Kazi Farms.