Hit by a spurt in raw material costs and unremunerative prices, the poultry industry has sought a relief package to ride out the downturn.

A delegation of National Egg Coordination Committee, consisting of poultry farmers, breeders and other stakeholders of the industry, led by its Chairperson Anuradha J. Desai met the Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar last week and urged the Government to extend a revival package for the Rs 57,000-crore industry.

“We have sought a relief package to provide immediate succour to farmers, who are facing the worst crisis due to an unprecedented rise in the price of poultry feed raw materials - soyameal and maize,” Desai said in a press release.

rising prices

The delegation said that during the past two years, prices of these two ingredients have been constantly increasing, and have now reached unaffordable levels, due to various reasons such as forward trading, exports and speculation and hoarding by traders and multi-national companies in anticipation of a substantial increase in the volume of export of these commodities.

Maize prices increased from Rs 1,170 a quintal in March 2011 to Rs 1,630 currently. Similarly, the price of soyameal increased from Rs 1,821 a quintal a year ago to Rs 3,512 in March and currently, it is hovering at Rs 3,900.

Soyameal prices in the international markets have been steadily falling during the past few months, and, are presently available for import at $515 c.i.f. (approximately Rs 27,000-28,000 a tonne). In contrast to this trend, the price has increased from Rs 28,000 to Rs 39,000-40,000 during the past 15 days alone.

As a result of such steep increase in the cost of production, farmers have incurred heavy losses, and, the working capital of farmers – and even many breeding farms and hatcheries – has been wiped out, the release said.

proposals

The delegation sought a moratorium for one year on repayment of interest and instalments towards term loans availed by the poultry industry, interest subvention of at least six per cent for a period of 2-3 years, allocation of 2 lakh tonnes each of damaged wheat and rice/paddy, for exclusive use of poultry farmers at a subsidised price of 50 per cent of the Minimum Support Price, besides a waiver of customs duty on import of soyameal by the poultry industry for captive consumption, for a period of one year.

gayathri.gururajan@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 8, 2013)
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