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Call for Govt to Protect Poultry Farmers

by 5m Editor
4 June 2012, at 7:08am

SRI LANKA - Small and medium scale poultry farmers should be protected to maintain sustainability of the industry.

Market failures and resulting losses have discouraged small and medium scale producers, president of the All Island Poultry Association (AIPA) Dr D.D. Wanasinghe told the Sunday Observer.

In the past two to three months, egg prices dropped sharply due to over supply in March and April and the farm gate price of eggs dropped to Rs. 5.50 each, which is below the cost of production. This adversely affects the industry and small scale producers have suffered huge losses. Some of them have already exited the industry, while others have scaled down production or reduced rations to birds by diluting with low quality feed.

As a result, today egg production has dropped and prices are picking up again. Last week farmgate prices increased to Rs. 8.00 per egg, he said.

Cost of production of poultry products increased due to the devaluation of the rupee, increased electricity tariffs, labour and transportation costs. Today the cost of production of an egg is over Rs.9.

The Government's incentives to farmers and import control boost for local maize production has raised maize prices to a reasonable level. However, prices of other imported ingredients such as soya products and vitamins have increased sharply. Dr Wanasinghe said that the poultry market has become competitive due to the large number of small scale producers.

Only a competitive market will ensure the sustainability of the industry as well as providing reasonable prices for consumers.

If small scale farmers cannot survive, it will lead to monopolies being created or a cartel of a few big poultry companies. The authorities should take policy decisions preventing monopolies in the poultry industry as well as inputs such as poultry feed, parent birds and chick supply.

AIPA represents small producers as well as big players including foreign companies. Out of the 15 directors of the Association eight represent large poultry companies.

The Association's attempt is to safeguard the interest of all stakeholders, he said.

He said that the Association has requested a price revision of chicken from the Consumer Affairs Ministry as cost of production has increased.

The last price revision was in February 2011 and the control price of chicken with skin was Rs. 350 per kg and the Association demanded a price of Rs. 444 per kg.