Chicken and fish prices may begin to rise in six to seven weeks when festive consumption is expected to drive up demand even as production is hampered by higher poultry feed costs.
In the last year, the price of soya bean, the main component of poultry feed, has more than doubled, raising the price of the feed as well. As a result, many small and marginal farmers have reduced or ceased production, wiping out small poultry feed manufacturers.
According to Balram Yadav, the managing director of Godrej Agrovet Ltd., one of India’s leading diversified agribusiness and animal feed corporation, ‘fish and chicken prices will begin to go up in the upcoming festival seasons. The shortages of supply will occur when demand is at its peak, which will be around the Diwali festival,’ he predicted.
According to Yadav, supplies from the country’s fisheries industry have also decreased by 20% since pre-Covid times. ‘Exports have been harmed for a variety of reasons, while labor availability at inland shrimp farms has been impacted by the lockdown,’ he added.
According to Vasanthkumar Shetty, president of the Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (PFBA – Maharashtra), ‘small farmers have stopped placing chicks due to high feed prices. That is not an option for poultry integrators. However, they have reduced chick placement by about 15%.’
‘In Maharashtra, the current farm gate price of chicken is Rs 87 per kg. The market is expecting prices to rise by 10% to 15%, which may help us to recover our production costs, which are around Rs 95/kg,’ Shetty mentioned.
According to Yadav, demand for chicken may rise after the month of Shravana because restaurants can now open in the evening/night and out-of-home consumption is expected to increase.
Further, Yadav added that ‘Approximately 40% of chicken consumption occurs outside the home. While there has been some increase in at-home consumption of chicken, it has not been able to compensate for the decline in out-of-home consumption.’