A three-month trend of falling prices and rising production costs for poultry products is causing problems for India, as farmers lose about 65 paise (US$0.01) per egg produced and up to Rs 8–10 (US$0.18–$0.23) per kilogram per live bird.

Typically, about 180.3 million eggs are produced every day across the country, according to records. The selling price now is about 60 paise less than the cost of production of Rs 2.50 (US$0.06) per egg. “The poultry industry is losing about Rs 90 million (US$2.03 million) a day due to under recovery,” said Kohinoor Hatcheries’ Dr. Raghava Rao.

The cost of production of broilers is also up, to about Rs 58 (US$1.31) per kilogram live body weight, and farmers on average get prices of Rs 50 (US$1.13) per kilogram. About 7 million broilers are produced in the country, and the industry is currently losing about Rs 700,000 (US$15,770) per day from broilers. “Chicken prices have crashed to nearly half from Rs 84 (US$1.89) per kilogram of live bird on March 24 to Rs 43 (US$0.97) per kilogram on April 14,” said Rao, adding that the price fall in summer is cyclical but the fall is steep this year.

Increased feed costs, mainly of maize, are pushing up the cost of poultry production, according to the industry. Maize is now selling for about Rs 1,350 (US$30.41) per quintal (100 pounds) compared with Rs 700 (US$15.77) to 800 (US$18.02) per quintal two years ago. Another ingredient, soya, which was Rs 900 (US$20.28) per quintal, is now priced between Rs 2,400 (US$54.07) and Rs 2,600 (US$58.57) per quintal.

India's poultry industry needs 14 million metric tons of maize per year and is growing by 20% annually. The maize production in 2010–11 is estimated to be 20.23 million metric tons across the country. High domestic demand, reduced acreage due to drought, farmers shifting to cotton and a good export market are keeping the prices of maize high, said Dr. G. Ranjith of SR Hatcheries. India's Andhra Pradesh Poultry Federation is calling for the government to relax the 15% duty on maize imports while panning maize and soya exports to help reduce feed and production costs.