30-35 pc of poultry industry may be forced to close down

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Pune, Mar 22 (UNI) An estimated 30 to 35 per cent of the poultry industry particularly the small and marginal farmers might be forced to close down due to the unprecedented increase in the price of maize and soya meal and the recurring declarations of Bird Flu in backyard farms.

A delegation of poultry farmers led by the National Egg Co-ordination Committee met Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in New Delhi on March 19 and appraised him of the deep crisis faced by the poultry farmers.

Though Bird Flu was reported only in backyard farms, which account for just two per cent of the industry, and the organised sector, which is technologically one of the most advanced in the world, is totally free from Bird Flu. Repeated announcements of the disease in backyard farms and the consequent ban on movement of eggs have forced the farmers to divert the eggs to other markets at distress prices.

This, in turn, has led to an unmanageable surplus and a drastic fall in farm-gate price of eggs and broilers all over the country resulting in the loss of at least Rs 3,000 crore to the farmers.

On the other hand, forward trading in maize, export of soya meal and the resultant speculation and hoarding by traders and multi-national companies, has pushed the price of maize in the domestic market from Rs 500-525 per quintal last year to Rs 900-1,000 per quintal this year. Similarly, the price of soya meal has also increased from Rs 9,000 per ton last year to Rs 17,000 per ton this year.

As a result, the break-even level for egg production has gone up from Rs 0.90/1.00 to Rs 1.90/2.00 and the break-even level of broiler production has increased from Rs 27/28 per Kg to Rs 37/38 per Kg. In the absence of a corresponding increase in farm-gate prices, poultry farmers have suffered a loss of atleast than Rs 15,000 crore during the past one year, a NECC release said.

UNI DWN NM KK BD1846

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