Poultry industry may take 6 months to turn around

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September 26, 2020 1:00 AM

Although the demand is gradually picking up, with government agencies encouraging consumers to eat more chicken and eggs to improve immunity, it may take another six months for the industry to get back on its feet, industry people said.

The association had informed the Maharashtra Animal husbandry ministry that shrinkage in the market would lead to a hike in prices, he said.The association had informed the Maharashtra Animal husbandry ministry that shrinkage in the market would lead to a hike in prices, he said.

The outbreak of Covid-19 and the consequent lockdowns have pushed the India’s poultry sector into losses to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore between February and April. Although the demand is gradually picking up, with government agencies encouraging consumers to eat more chicken and eggs to improve immunity, it may take another six months for the industry to get back on its feet, industry people said.

Vasant Kumar Shette, president, Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association, Maharashtra, said although the market is slowly limping back to normalcy, the sector is operating at 50% capacity. The hike in prices is due to supply-side constraints. Egg prices at the farmgate level are currently at Rs 550 per 100 pieces, while chicken is priced at around Rs 90 per bird, he said.

The association had informed the Maharashtra Animal husbandry ministry that shrinkage in the market would lead to a hike in prices, he said. The market, at present, is facing a shortage with prices increasing by 20-40%.

“The consumption levels have not gone up to the pre-Covid levels since hotels, restaurants and canteens are not fully functioning. For the industry, the focus would be on recovery in 2020-21-and 2021-22,” Shette said.

Although the demand has gone up in recent times, production is still down by nearly 40%. “The industry is on the mend and India presents a humungous opportunity given the fact that both chicken and eggs are cheap sources of protein. Prices have improved but at least 30-40% of the small players have been wiped out since they did not have enough cash to feed the business. Feed constitutes 80% of the cost. The industry may recover if prices continue to remain firm until March next year,” Suresh Chitturi, vice-chairman, All India Poultry Breeders Association, said.

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