CHENNAI: Due to supply shortage and issues in transportation, prices of chicken, mutton and eggs have shot up. On Sunday, chicken was being sold between Rs 200-250 per kg and mutton was priced at a whopping Rs 1,000-1,250 in retail.
“When the lockdown began, rumours spread saying COVID-19 could spread through consumption of chicken. Due to that, we witnessed a heavy fall in demand, and had to sell chicken at throwaway prices. As a result, they stopped production and the impact is being felt now,” said R Nallathambi, founder of the Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers Association.He added that there were difficulties in sourcing fodder in the beginning of the lockdown.
However, production has now begun again and prices will stabilise within a week.Due to this, egg production also saw a drastic fall. As against the State’s production of 4.5 crore eggs per day, only 2 crore eggs are being produced currently.
“The demand too has reduced. Chennaiites used to consume 40 lakh eggs per day, and the demand is fluctuating ever since the lockdown began. An egg is being sold at Rs 4-4.5. This is actually a break even point for sale of eggs. The prices may not further reduce.” said Ashok Kishan, manager, National Egg Coordination Committee, Chennai.
Similarly, mutton prices rose due to logistical issues. “The supply reduced and we have been told that the police are not allowing these vehicles at times. Also, as chicken prices soared, the demand for mutton increased. So, the market decided to raise these prices too,” said R Hameed, who runs a meat store at Velachery.