KARACHI: Chicken prices have almost come at par with veal and beef rates owing to the city government’s frequent increases in official prices, thus giving a free hand to stakeholders to fix prices at their whims.
The meeting between the officials of Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) and the commissioner of Karachi on Dec 22 aimed at controlling prices has so far proved hard on the pockets of consumers.
The new official rate of live bird and its meat on Wednesday was fixed at Rs204 and Rs316 per kg which prior to the meeting was Rs186 and Rs288 per kg. The commissioner’s rates of broiler live bird and its meat prevailing in middle of November were Rs124 and Rs192 per kg.
The city government has raised the price of live bird and its meat by Rs80 and Rs124 per kg from mid-November till to date then the blame on stakeholders for overcharging holds no importance.
In the absence of any government’s writ, the owner of Muneer Chicken outlets in various areas took up the rate of live bird and its meat to new heights of Rs230 and Rs400-430 per kg on Wednesday from Rs210 and Rs360-370 per kg a few days back.
Other retailers jacked up live bird and its meat price to Rs220-230 and Rs345-350 per kg from Rs200-210 and Rs300-310 per kg. In mid-November live bird and its meat rates were selling at Rs135 and Rs190 per kg.
Good quality veal beef (with and without bones) sell at Rs420 per kg and Rs520-540 per kg. However, big cow meat is available at Rs380-400 per kg with bones and Rs480-500 per kg without bones.
General Secretary, Sindh Wholesalers Poultry Association (SWPA), Kamal Akhtar Siddiqui said the industry as well as the market traders had suffered losses due to low rates in the last six months due to which farmers did not go into bird production. As a result, the supply from the farms is low against high demand especially from ongoing marriage season.
“Chicken prices may remain under pressure for more days due to low supply problem,” he said. In overall chicken sales — the market share of marriage and commercial (hotels and outdoor dining) is 33 per cent each while the share of households sale is 34 per cent, he said adding around 700,000-800,000 birds are being daily slaughtered in Karachi alone.
He said consumers appear to have shown some resistance in their chicken buying after rising prices but robust demand for ongoing marriage season had offset depressed sales from households.
It was observed that those who were procuring one kg bird meat are now lifting half kg chicken waiting for the price reduction. By compromising on the quantity, consumers are also seen asking for slaughtering of low weight bird in order to pay less money.
This is the second time in the current year that consumers witnessed massive jump in prices when PPA had initiated two costly media campaigns — one in February rejecting allegation leveled by All Pakistan Solvent Extractors Association that soybean meal imported from India and other countries might not be halal; the other was a recent campaign to counter the ‘negative propaganda’ triggered by social media regarding the use of hormones and steroids during the various phases of bird production.
However, Kamal showed disassociation from the PPA media campaign.
Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2017