PALAKKAD:The supply shortage of chicken has hit the poultry market in the state leading to steep rise in prices ranging from Rs 125 and Rs 130 per kilogram against last month’s Rs 90. With Tamil Nadu enjoying an upperhand in fixing the prices, the domestic market here is virtually clueless to tide over the crisis. “The poultry production in the domestic market has reduced considerably. The Broilers Co-ordination Committee of Tamil Nadu decides the prices of live chicken. In the last few months, the poultry units of TN were selling their produce at a deep discount,” said state vice-president of the Kozhi Karshaka Samyuktha Samithi Jiji Madathil.
The production cost of a chicken comes to around Rs 75 and the cost of a chick comes to Rs 30 in the local poultries while the production cost is just Rs 62 per kg in Tamil Nadu. Selling live chicken in Kerala at a discounted rate even after paying 14.5 per cent advance tax, has dealt a heavy blow to the domestic industry. District president of Kerala Poultry Farmers Association Thajudheen pointed out that the farmers in Kerala are supplied two-day old chicks at the rate of Rs 30 by neighbouring states. They would buy back the chicken after 40 days. “During certain months these units will not supply chicks to create an artificial shortage in live chicken availability. It is then that they jack up the prices.”
Lack of Brood Stock
The only hatchery in the state is operated by the Kerala State Poultry Development Corporation with a tie up of a Tamil Nadu-based poultry major. The production of brood stock is insufficient to meet the needs of at least one district, said Thajudheen.
Moreover, the domestic farmers have the burden of paying one per cent tax on poultry feed. Jiji said that numerous representations were made to the UDF Government for subsidised feed and lowering of turnover tax on units operating in the state but nothing was done. Veterinarian Dr Sudhi felt that usually the placement of chicks with the growers here was low in the months of March and that was the reason for the low production.
Chairman of Kerala State Poultry Farmers Association Baiju K Kadavan said many poultry sheds were empty in Kerala and Tamil Nadu due to lack of water which needs to be pumped for the chicks especially in the months from March to May. However, Nadupunni checkpost sources through which 80 per cent of live chicken comes to state, said 125 loads of live chicken had come on Friday against an average of 60 loads.
Therefore, it is clear that the lack of domestic production of chicken has resulted in the shortage of supply and the consequent windfall profits for neighbouring states.