The poultry industries in neighboring South Asian countries Pakistan and India are experiencing a contrast in fortunes. While poultry product prices in India are again on the rise, Pakistan's poultry sector is being squeezed by low prices and high feed costs.
Poultry price rises put Indian farmers back in the black
Upward prices for poultry meat and eggs are being welcomed by Indian producers, according to Business Standard India. It reports increases of between 25 and 30 percent over the last two months, the result of tight supplies as farmers responded to a long period of low prices and cut back on production.
Already below the cost of production last July, prices fell further to hit benchmarks of INR55-60 (US$830-900 million) per kilogram for chickens and INR2.60-2.75 per egg. These prices compare with average costs of production of INR85 and INR3.50, respectively.
This led producers to scale back production by an estimated 10-15 percent, and a period of high temperatures reduced output further due to heat stress, said Balram Yadav, managing director of Godrej Agrovet Ltd.Mortality approached 10 percent, compared to the usual level of 2-3 percent.
Tighter supplies have helped return chicken prices to INR80-90 per kg wholesale and INR110-120 per kilogram in retail markets. Eggs have also moved up to INR30-36 a dozen wholesale and INR45-50 in retail markets.
Ramesh Khatri, president of the Poultry Federation of India, put the recent mortality rate at 25-30 percent due to the temperature rising to more than 40 C. He also commented on water shortages in the major poultry-producing states of Andhra Pradesh and Telegana.
Financial losses cause widespread poultry farm closures in Pakistan
More than 40 per cent of poultry farms in Pakistan have closed, reports The News International. Worst affected are those in the Potohar region of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, where the number of farms has fallen from 25,000 to 14,500 over the last two years.
Losses over the last 9 months are estimated at PKR22 billion (US$210 million), the result of a steep rise in the cost of feed ingredients, increasing taxes and political instability.
Traditionally an affordable protein for the poor, chicken meat is now being sold in shops for PKR320. At the start of this year, it stood as PKR110.
Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) Central Chairman, Khalid Saleem Malik, attributed the high prices to tight supplies after the closure of so many poultry businesses. He put the average costs of production at PKR123.41 per kilogram of chicken meat and PKR6.87 per egg, levels that have risen since the government imposed taxes and duty on soybean meal, sunflower meal, rapeseed meal and other feed ingredients.
Another consequence of the poultry farm closures is rising unemployment. The sector provides work and income for 1.5 million people.