The closure of many small and medium poultry farms amid the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a decline in chicken production, pushing up the prices of the farm birds, insiders claim.
Around 25-30 per cent small and medium farms have been forced to shut while the medium and large ones either cut or suspended production after facing losses several times during the pandemic, said Mashiur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Poultry Industries’ Central Council (BPICC).A poor demand for meat and eggs amid the prevalence of coronavirus coupled with a lockdown hit the poultry sector hard and it suffered a Tk 70-billion loss between March and May last year, he said.
Mashiur said the price of broiler chicken slumped to Tk 55-70 per kg at the farm level against the production cost of Tk 118-130 and farm egg price fell to Tk 4.0-4.8 a piece during the period.
Sonali chicken was selling for Tk 360 a kg while broiler chicken at Tk 160-165 per kg at Mohammadpur Krishi market on Sunday.
The price of Sonali chicken was Tk 220-240 per kg while that of broiler chicken Tk 120-130 two months ago.
According to state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, the current price of broiler chicken is 26 per cent higher than a year ago.
Most of the small farmers shut their farms while medium farmers suspended rearing poultry since the pandemic after suffering heavy losses.Mashiur said the small farmers were yet to resume rearing poultry as they do not have the capital to run their farms and most of them were yet to get incentives from the government.
He said 1.25 crore chicks are now being produced every week while the production was 1.75 crore before the coronavirus pandemic.
The BPICC president said medium and large farmers will be starting their production and it will take 1.5-2 more months for the poultry market to be stable.
Amit Mukherjee, manager of Kapotakkhi Feed Ltd in Jashore, said a cut in rearing poultry by farmers amid the coronavirus pandemic
has created a crisis of chicken in the market. “Many poultry and Sonali chickens also died of seasonal diseases, leading to a rise in their prices.”
Saiful Islam, a poultry farmer from Kushtia, said he closed his poultry-rearing shed after facing losses two times during March and May last year.
“Now I have no cash to run the farm while feed traders are always knocking me for their dues that I couldn’t pay for suffering losses,” he said.
Not only Saiful, many small and medium farm owners are facing problems in running their farms.
Mashiur demanded that the government should provide funds for farmers so that they can start rearing poultry again.