Kerala is out to put together its homegrown poultry supply chain in a hurry, as the price of Tamil Nadu-sourced broiler chicken has left the coup to perch as high as Rs 220 per kg this week. The reasons for sudden price rise are said to be the toll of summer heat on bird mortality, substitution-demand for chicken due to fish scarcity, wedding season and the first surge of pre-Ramadan demand.
Its not just the broiler chicken that has gone dearer. From Rs 85 per kg two weeks ago, the wholesale price of live chicken has surged to Rs 130 in Thiruvananthapuram market. In a fortnight, price of live chicken is up by Rs 45 per kg.
“From June, a string of 140 outlets will be opened in various parts of Kerala to check the inflow of Tamil Nadu chicken and control price. We have tied up with 488 poultry farms to supply locally grown chicken. In five years, these outlets will procure from 5,000 local poultry farms,” said Nikesh Kiran, programme officer, State animal husbandry department.
For Tamil Nadu, Kerala is a priced client with an appetite of 60 lakh kg of chicken per week. And Tamil Nadu enjoys 15% lower production cost per bird. Since dumping from the neighbouring state is a big concern in the post-GST regime, the Kerala government feels that the current price surge is the right point to get the local poultry business flying.
An advantage is that while Tamil Nadu-grown chicken weighs 1.35 kg per bird on average, the Kerala-grown bird is heavier. “There was a time when over 50% of the Rs 4,000-crore poultry meat demand in Kerala was met by neighbouring states, but not any more,” said Binny Emmaty, state president, Poultry Farmers and Traders Committee. “Entrepreneurship has bloomed recently to the point that the state would be equipped to meet about 80% of its chicken demand,” he said.
Besides state agencies like Kepco, many co-operatives have jumped into the fray. An example is the Wayanad-based Brahmagiri Development Society (BDS), which posted `16-crore revenue, 80% increase in a single year. “In another year, we count on trebling the revenue to Rs 54 crore,” said Krishna Prasad, chairman of BDS, which harnesses 13,000 poultry farmers.