Despite the slight uptake of consumption, rates of broiler poultry and eggs continue to decline as sporadic cases of bird flu continue to be reported from different parts of the country. The industry has protested against the indiscriminate market closures by some state governments, which feel they have a long-lasting impact on their trade.
Since the first week in January, different states have reported incidents of bird flu. The first reports were mainly from wild and migratory birds, followed by reports of backyard injury, and then organized birds as well. Currently, 10 states, including Maharashtra, have reported positive cases of bird flu. Birds are being culled one kilometer from the epicenter to control the spread of the disease.
Even as central and state departments continue their efforts to control the spread, the organized poultry industry is reporting sharp drops in the prices of both poultry meat and eggs. Egg prices in Namakal in Tamil Nadu – a major center of poultry (egg laying) – have decreased from 4.95 rupees per egg on 1st Jan to 4.20 rupees currently. Likewise, consumer centers such as Pune (5.50 rupees to 4.16 rupees), Mumbai (5.45 rupees to 4.25 rupees), Delhi (6 rupees to 4.45 rupees) and Bengaluru (5.10 rupees to 4.10 rupees) have also seen a sharp drop in egg prices.
Prices for birds raised for their meat or broilers were no different, as the industry reported a sharp drop since the start of January. The prices for the former farm in Pune, which were around 90 rupees per kilogram, have since decreased to 55 rupees per kilogram. Prices in Punjab have been corrected from 95 rupees per kilogram to 50 rupees while those in Karnataka from 100 rupees per kilogram at the beginning of the year to 70 rupees. The sharp drop in depreciation of 25-30% is the main reason for this price slide. The drop in prices comes at a time when the industry is reporting strong sales as people turn to chickens and eggs to beat the winter cold.
Rohit Pawar, CEO of Baramati Agro Limited, said that nearly 80 per cent of the 1.3 crores birds and 30 crores eggs consumed in India on a daily basis come from the regulated sector, where biosafety measures are taken care of. “The majority of bird flu cases have been reported from wild birds, unregulated birds, or backyard poultry. But general distrust has kept consumer morale low. Pawar noted that eggs and well-cooked poultry at temperatures above 100 ° C are safe to consume. On a positive note, Pawar said they have seen a slight rise in consumption, which he attributes to consumer awareness.
However, the industry has protested against some countries’ tendency to arbitrarily stop transporting chicken and eggs. Rep. Satish Babu, Chairman of Mysuru Zonal of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), cited the example of Delhi, which with Uttar Pradesh suspended eggs and chickens from entering from outside. “Our intervention helped open the Delhi market, but the damage is already done,” he said. The Delhi government lifted the ban on Friday after the center intervened. The Central Ministry of Animal Breeding and Fisheries also requested states not to ban the entry of eggs and chickens. “We hope that prices will rise after the opening of the Delhi market on Monday,” he said.