The Kerala government has said chicken should be sold at Rs 87 per kilo or below, after its selling price had soared to as high as Rs 150 per kilo, post introduction of GST. “Extracting an exorbitant profit under the pretext of GST will face stringent action,” warned Kerala finance minister T M Thomas Isaac. “From Monday, any trade of chicken at a price above Rs 87 per kilo will be on the risk of penal measures,” he said. In the GST regime, broiler chicken is in the zero tax category. This should have resulted in some price relief in Kerala, which was the only state to levy 14.5% VAT rate on broiler chicken and poultry feed. While there was a marginal fall in the price on July 1, the chicken sales and consumption in the state soared high as never before. In just one week, 10 million kilos of chicken were sold. This has meant a sales turnover of about `4,000 crore in a week. The dramatic surge in sales has created a shortage. “It would be difficult to make chicken available at Rs 87 per kilo from next week, as Kerala FM demands,” says Kavi Kumar, an officer-bearer of Kerala Poultry Farmer and Traders Committee.
The poultry traders in Kerala are otherwise enthusiastic about the advent of GST and they feel that the zero-tax category would encourage consumption of chicken, in a region which has a high rate of meat consumption.
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However, the traders said the stock has plummeted. A large section of the small-scale poultry farmers have sold their stock at higher rates in the last few weeks and were reluctant to start breeding new stocks. This has created market-shortage resulting in price rise,” says Binny Ematty, President of Poultry Farmers and Traders Committee. About one-fifth of the chicken used in Kerala is sourced from Tamil Nadu.