With rising prices, chicken may be missing from Kerala's hotel menu

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on October 08, 2021

Hotels body threatens to knock out poultry menu citing live birds price reaching ₹155 per kg.

Kerala Government’s decision to allow dining at hotels may be a major relief for restaurants across the State. However, for the connoisseurs of non-vegetarian delicacies, the decision seems to be at an inappropriate moment when broiler chicken prices are heading north.

The result is that those looking for chicken dishes could get disappointed since Kerala Hotels and Restaurants Association (KHRA) has threatened to knock out poultry meat from their menu, with the price of live birds reaching a dizzying ₹155 per kg.

To circumvent the issue, KHRA has sought government intervention to supply broiler chicken from government-owned farms, available at reduced prices compared to those from private farms across neighbouring states.

Artificial shortage

Moideenkutty Haji, president of KHRA, said, many hotels are limping back to normalcy after the pandemic, but the rising broiler chicken prices have dashed their hopes of a business opportunity arising from lockdown relaxations and ensuring festive season.

Besides poultry meat, there is also a steep spike in LPG and onion prices, hitting the business badly. If no remedial measures are taken, hotels in the State would be forced to increase prices of chicken dishes or drop them from the menu,” he warned.

He further alleged that a lobby in neighbouring states is controlling the broiler chicken market in Kerala and its prices, by creating an artificial shortage. The prices have almost doubled in the last one month.

Rebuttal from poultry farmers body

However, Poultry Farmers and Traders Samithy state president Binny Emmatty lambasted KHRA to boycott chicken items. “Why were the hotels reluctant to reduce prices of chicken dishes when broiler chicken prices nosedived earlier?” he wondered.

The current trend of rising prices, according to him, is uniform in almost all Southern States and is directly the result of the hike in poultry feed prices, which is expected to continue for some more time.

Emmatty further added that chicken is the most affordable item for non-vegetarians than fish or other meat products. He also felt state-owned farms could not be of much help to KHRA.

“State-owned farms produce only 50,000 birds per day whereas the demand for chicken in Kerala stands at one-crore kilogram a week approximately costing about₹150 crore. “It is because of this, Kerala has to depend on neighbouring states,” he added.

T.P.Sethumadhavan, former Director of Entrepreneurship, Kerala Veterinary & Animal Sciences University, said that the raw materials required for poultry feed production, such as soya meal, maize, and rice bran oil, show a quantum jump in price, which facilitated the increase in the cost of feeds. The price stabilisation at around ₹150 may continue till the decline in raw material prices or the onset of the harvest season of soya and maize, he said.

He also sought relief measures to sustain the poultry industry and improve the livelihood of more than five lakh poultry farmers in Kerala. At a time when FPO's are acquiring momentum, Kerala requires cluster-based poultry production and poultry based farmer producer organisations.

Published on October 08, 2021

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