Poultry firms reel under mercury rise

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 30 2009, 06:41am hrs
The heat wave prevailing in northern parts of the country during the last one month has not only affected human lives, but has also hurt the poultry industry as farmers have drastically cut down on their production capacity because of inadequate power and water supply.

Industry sources said for healthy growth of birds, the temperature at the farm needs to be maintained at around 25-30 degree Celsius. But, as temperature in north soared to around 40 degree Celsius this month, farmers have reduced production, thereby pushing up retail chicken prices across the region despite drop in demand.

Retail prices of dressed chicken in Delhi have risen by around 30% since last month from around Rs 100-Rs 110 a kg to Rs 130 Rs 140 per kg.

Although feed prices have been on the decline in the last few weeks, but poultry prices have risen because of the intense heat wave conditions prevailing across north India, B Soundararjan, managing director, Suguna Poultry told Fe.

Suguna Poultry, which is countrys largest broiler producer has Rs 2,030-crore turnover and operates across 11 states.

Meanwhile, a decline in poultry production has also affected the whole sale prices of soyabean meal, a key ingredient in poultry feed. Wholesale price of soyabean meal has dropped by around 11% since last month from Rs 24,000 per tonne at Kota to around Rs 21,600 per tonne.

Similarly, the price of corn, another ingredient for poultry feed, has also moderated to Rs 8,500 per tonne at present from Rs 8,800 per tonne, couple of months back.

However, many experts believe that poultry production and prices will moderate once monsoon sets in across the country. During summers, labour requirement of the poultry industry goes up along with demand for water and electricity because birds have to be kept in a cool temperature. But, once temperatures come down, we expect prices to moderate as well, said Ricky Thaper, treasurer, Poultry Federation of India.

Besides the weather, the poultry industry has also long suffered because of the volatility in feed ingredients prices. Indian poultry industry consumes close to 15 million tonne of feed annually with an estimated value of Rs 15,000 crore. During last two year feed prices have risen by around 60%, largely because of unabated soymeal exports, Soundararajan of Suguna Poultry said. India is the worlds fifth largest broiler producer with an estimated production of 2.3 million tonne of broiler meat per annum.

However there is a huge scope for the growth of poultry industry as the countrys per capita consumption is only 2.4 kilogram per person per annum and per capita consumption of broiler meat has grown at 10% in the last 15 years.