Egg panel wants ban on forward trading in maize, soya meal

Written by States Bureau | Chandigarh, May 30 | Updated: May 31 2008, 05:32am hrs
National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) has urged to the Central government to immediately ban forward trading in maize and soya meal, and, to canalise the export of these commodities through a designated government agency.

Besides this, the committee has also asked the Centre to put a ceiling on the volume of exports.

NECC said that these measures are absolutely imperative to ensure availability of these essential ingredients of poultry feed to poultry farmers at an affordable price, and also to ensure that eggs and chicken would be available to the consumers at a reasonable price. As per the committee, during the past two years, maize prices increased from Rs 500-525 a quintal to Rs 900 and in some places, even to Rs 1,000almost a 100% increase.

Similarly, price of soya meal increased from about Rs 7,000-8,000 a tonne to Rs 19,000. This unprecedented and unjustifiable increase, in spite of a substantial increase in production of maize from 14 million tonne last year to 16.8 million tonne in the current year, is mainly due to forward trading, exports by big companies like Cargil etc, and speculation by traders. If this situation continues, these essential feed ingredients may not be available to poultry farmers at any price, as exports become more profitable due to increase in international price, NECC said.

Due to the steep increase in feed ingredient prices, the break-even level for egg production has increased from 90 paise-Re 1 last year to Rs 1.80-1.90 at present.

Price of broilers has gone up from Rs 27-28 a kg to Rs 40-41. Poultry farmers are continuously losing money for the past three years, and, unless the situation is remedied immediately, at least 40-50% of the industry might be forced to close down and consumers will have to pay a higher price for eggs and chicken, said NECC.