The prices of chicken and eggs marked a steep rise over the last two weeks mainly due to the rising cost of poultry feed and the closure of many farms during the corona pandemic.
Broiler, Sonali chicken and farm eggs are the most common protein intake for the lower and middle-income groups, but the prices of the items continue to rise.
The price of Sonali chicken jumped to Tk 300-320 per kg on Monday from Tk 280-300 per kg a week ago and Tk 230-240 per kg three weeks ago.
Broiler chicken was selling at Tk 155-165 per kg on Monday, up from last week’s Tk 150-155 per kg and Tk 120-130 per kg three weeks earlier. Farm egg price jumped to Tk 110-120 per dozen from Tk 90-95 per dozen three weeks earlier.
“More than 30 per cent of small and medium farms had shut their businesses after facing losses during the corona pandemic,” said Mashiur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC).
Poor demand for meat and egg during the pandemic has put them in a tight corner while rising poultry feed prices worsened the situation further, he said.
“About 70-75 per cent of the total production cost of egg, fish and chicken are spent on feed. The rise in feed price caused a sharp rise in the production cost for poultry farms,” he said
Around 16 different raw materials are used to produce poultry feed in the country and most of the raw materials are imported, said the market insiders.
Akbar Ali, a farmer from Monirampur in Jessore, told the Daily Sun that the price of poultry feed has increased by Tk 6 per kg in two months, forcing them to increase the price of chicken.
The price of the poultry feed raw materials has increased by 34.22 per cent from August 2020 to August 2021. Fish meal price increased by Tk 32 per kg, broken rice by Tk 12.11 per kg, maize by Tk 12 per kg and the price of soybean cake jumped by Tk 16.25 per kg in the last one year.
The most needed raw material is soybean cake but recent export approval of this essential increased the price in the country by Tk 10 per kg in a week, said Amit Mukherjee, sales manager at Kapotakkhi Feed Ltd.
He said feed price will rise further if the price of soybean cake increases.
There are 300 feed mills in the country but only 100 are operational. In the meantime, the domestic feed mills do not have the capacity to cope with the huge losses if the cost of feed production increases. Many feed mills might face closure, said the market insiders.
Foreign and big multinational feed mills will be able to survive even at a loss but then the price of feed will increase along with chicken price, they added.
According to the Department of Livestock Service (DLS), Bangladesh had 76,000 poultry farms before the outbreak of the pandemic--- producing 45 million eggs and 16,000 tonnes of chicken meat per day.