Agri Business

Telangana poultry industry still reels under bird flu fears

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on February 11, 2021

The bird flu scare that hit the poultry industry very hard last month refuses to die down, dragging the chicken prices down and spoiling the key season for the poultry farmers.

That the live bird prices at the farm gate are ruling at ₹40-50 a kg on Thursday as against ₹90 in a normal market shows how deep the sentiment is.

In the retail market, the chicken is sold in the range of ₹ 150-160 a kg. It used to be sold at ₹200-220 before the bird flu reports emerged.

Demand limps back

Eggs are faring relatively better with prices increasing to ₹3.90-4.05 an egg at the farm gate. The price of eggs, which fell to as low as ₹3.18 a piece in the second week of January, is slowly picking up on renewed consumption.

“The sentiment in urban areas is yet to pick up with regard to broiler chicken. Prices are half of what it should be,” Errabelli Pradeep Rao, a senior poultry industry leader, told BusinessLine.

He, however, said that the demand in rural areas has picked up, though it did not reflect in the pricing.

He said the peak season for poultry industry is November-February every year. “The industry survives on the returns that we get during the season. But this year, the bird flu scare has done serious damage,” he said.

Eggs fare better

Subba Raju, who represents the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), has said that the layer (egg-laying) side of the business has shown signs of revival with prices going up to ₹390 (for 100 eggs) on Thursday from about ₹320 a month ago.

“The year 2020-21 was very bad for the industry. During the initial days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand fell drastically due to the rumours that the infection is spreading through eggs and chicken,” he said.

“The demand later picked up after doctors and scientists advising people to eat chicken to boost immunity. It, however, plummeted again after the bird flu reports hit the headlines,” he said.

Telangana produces 4-4.5 crore eggs a day, with half of it consumed locally. The Hyderabad market itself consumes 75 lakh eggs a day.

Published on February 11, 2021

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