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Poultry, egg prices fall on Covid-19 rumours

The egg industry has taken maximum hit as wholesale prices have slipped below the breakeven level.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2020, 07.56 AM IST
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Agencies
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He said poultry farmers are not able to pass on the input cost to wholesalers and are incurring loss on birds and eggs.
Wholesale prices of poultry and egg in the country have plunged by 15-30 per cent since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, in China, and poultry farmers blame it on fearmongering on social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook.

“The misinformation passed on through social media about spread of the virus through poultry and egg has reduced prices drastically in the last four-months,” said the director of leading poultry company in Haryana, who didn’t wish to be identified. It’s a double whammy for poultry farmers as birdfeed prices are up by 35-45 per cent compared to the last winter season, he said.

The egg industry has taken maximum hit as wholesale prices have slipped below the breakeven level as rising inventories force farmers to push sales.

“The supply of egg has swelled against shrinking demand and poultry owners are struck with inventories,” said Sukjinder Singh, a poultry farmer based in Punjab. “We are incurring loss per egg as the input cost is 40-50 per cent higher than a year ago.”

He said poultry farmers are not able to pass on the input cost to wholesalers and are incurring loss on birds and eggs.

Egg prices are down about 15 per cent year on year. As per data from National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), egg prices in Ahmedabad are down 14 per cent vis a vis February 2019, while it’s down 13 per cent in Mumbai, 12 per cent in Chennai and 16 per cent in Warangal.

Egg prices stood at ₹358 for 100 units in Delhi this week, down from ₹441 last year. The price of broiler chicken in Delhi has come down to ₹78 per kg this week from ₹86 in the third week of January 2020. In Andhra Pradesh, broiler prices have fallen by ₹10 to ₹87 per kg since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Winter months generally see higher demand for poultry and egg.

Poultry owners in Haryana alleged that traders were minting margins as retail prices are unchanged and the slide in prices was not being passed on to consumers. Poultry feed mainly consists of maize, bajra, soya extracts, groundnut extracts, rapeseed extracts, de oiled rice bran and rice bran. The prices of all these commodities have gone through the roof in the current financial year.

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