TAXILA, July 11: The prices of chicken at different markets and bazaars of Taxila and Wah Cantt on Wednesday touched new peak at Rs196 per kg while its meat was selling at Rs360 to Rs370.
The local wholesalers and poultry farm owners attributed this unusual raise in chicken prices to short supply of poultry birds as well as smuggling of 30 per cent poultry products to neighboring countries especially to Afghanistan.
Talking to this reporter, Mohsin Tahir, a government servant said that chicken, being low in prices, was affordable. “But now we are unable to purchase chicken meat due to its high rates,” he said.
A housewife, Mehwish Jabeen told this reporter that they used to bring chicken meat twice a week but now this commodity had become unaffordable for salaried and middle class.
Meanwhile, a wholesale dealer, Ch Naseer Ahmed while talking to this reporter blamed cartelisation for the rising trend in the prices.
“They fix poultry rates on daily basis. We are at their mercy and the local price control committee as well as local administration is paying no heed to this phenomenon,” he added.
A local poultry farm owner, Arshad Khan told this reporter that crippling long-hour electricity loadshedding coupled with scorching heat had hit the poultry industry hard as each unit of electricity at poultry shed is costing up to Rs40 to owners.
He said that poultry products are sold below price of their original cost during eight months of the year.
When chicken prices start going upward during the rest of four moths, the industry is able to make up its losses incurred throughout the year. He said that July, August and September are the worst months for poultry sector, as its farms’ cooling system, running on desert coolers, flopped completely putting the life of tens of thousands of birds at risk.
When contacted on phone, a spokesman of All Pakistan Poultry Association (APPA) in Rawalpindi said every poultry farm had suffered a loss of thousands of birds in the recent days due to long spells of power outages.
He said that most of the owners had already closed their farms due hot weather and massive load shedding. Responding to a question, he linked the price hike to the shortfall in the supply of poultry bird.