Poultry prices up on short supply

Mumbai, May 30 | Updated: May 31 2008, 06:35am hrs
An output slash in January is biting the Indian poultry industry at a time of an unusual spike in demand for poultry products in summer, thanks to soaring prices of vegetables and pulses.

Poultry prices have climbed in the last one month, and are likely to get firmer in the face a supply shortage.

In Mumbai, wholesale egg price has risen 23.31% to Rs 201 per 100 eggs, while chicken prices have risen 9.43% to Rs 58 a kg in a month.

Small poultry owners had started slashing production after the bird flu outbreak. They reduced placement. We are seeing that effect, Vasant Kumar, member of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) and managing director of Balkrishna Hatcheries, told Reuters.

Egg production has come down to 110 million eggs per day from 120 million eggs in January, he said.

India reported the outbreak of bird flu in the eastern state of West Bengal and importers immediately clamped a ban on Indian imports four months ago. Prices fell sharply in the aftermath when some states banned poultry products, prompting farmers to cut production.

Production is unlikely to increase in the next two months, but the demand will certainly improve due to a likely shortage of vegetables and fish, Kumar said.

Broiler chicken, raised solely for meat, takes 35-42 days from chick to bird, while layer chicken, raised for eggs, become productive in 20 weeks. Higher prices of corn and soymeal have increased production costs and the industry would pass that to consumers, he said.

India is the worlds second largest producer of eggsand the fourth largest producer of chicken, according to NECC.