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October 24, 2020

Poultry, egg prices soar 50 percent in two months

Business

October 24, 2020

KARACHI: Poultry industry that claimed to have lost millions of rupees during the COVID-19 lockdown is now recovering those losses with both hands as prices of chicken and eggs have soared up by 50 percent in just two months, sources said on Friday.

“The price of chicken jumped to Rs300-400/kg in the province from Rs200/kg a couple of months ago, while the price of egg has increased to Rs15 to Rs18/egg from Rs10 in the same period,” market sources told The News.

They said the prices shot up after supply of chicken to Sindh markets from Punjab almost choked off due to internal demand pressures, while poultry farms in Sindh were still struggling to get over monsoon damages.

“We are also getting chicken at higher prices, so we cannot sell it at lower rates,” said a shopkeeper adding that prices hiked because of an increased demand of chicken during the post lockdown period after government allowed the marriage halls and restaurants to reopen their businesses.

Taking to The News, Khalil Sattar, Chairman Pakistan Poultry Association, denied any involvement in the hike of chicken prices in the market.

“We even don’t know what the exact demand of chicken in Karachi and elsewhere is. It changes during marriages and during Moharram,” Sattar said and added, “There is a decline in grandparent and parent chicken stock, so shortage will stay for some time”.

The coronavirus lockdown, imposed earlier this year, across the country, had curbed sales and nearly halved the prices, whereas industry had damaged the chicks looking at the slump in demand.

One official said the closure of restaurants and wedding events had hit hundreds of poultry farmers as sales declined more than 50 percent.

Broiler chicken prices had fallen to Rs75-80/kg from around Rs150/kg before the pandemic, he said, adding that farmers were losing money as cost of broilers was Rs140/kg.

Now prices have increased up to Rs400/kg in some districts of lower Sindh.

Sattar further said the prices of poultry and eggs could not be controlled anywhere in the world and Pakistan was not an exception.

“Punjab government is forcing us to control the prices, which cannot be controlled,” he said.

“Since we don’t demand subsidies or concessions, we should not be forced to control the prices, which we can’t.”

If they were in control of prices, he said, they would not have allowed prices to go down, which usually go down in different seasons.

He said Pakistan Poultry Association during the lockdown had warned of such a situation. “The consumption has fallen and prices have crashed as such and no boiler farmer is prepared to place day old chicks at their farms, even for free, as a result of which hatcheries have stopped setting eggs for chick production,” the PPA had warned in a statement issued earlier.

It had said that on resumption of businesses, as usual, after opening of schools, hotels, restaurants, wedding halls, etc, the demand was going to spurt and due to extreme low availability of chicken, the prices would shoot up.

“If the government intervenes by way of price controls, the farmers who have lost during this period will suffer much greater losses and will not be inclined to resume production,” he added.