LAHORE: Breeders have started culling day-old chicks for want of buyers after poultry farmers refused to further prepare flocks of chicken owing to massively high cost of production as well as imposition of 17 per cent tax on import of raw material and declining price of chicken meat.
“A day-old chick, which used to cost around Rs40, is now available in the market for Rs1 or Rs2. In certain circumstances, it is even available for free at the hatcheries since there is no demand in the market,” Chaudhry Muhammad Nusrat Tahir, the Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) vice chairman (Northern region), told journalists at a press conference on Saturday. “The situation has worsened big time. It has even forced them to cull 50 per cent of the unsold chicks.”
Poultry contributes 40 per cent to the total meat consumption and generates employment and income for thousands. Even in the current scenario, it is the cheapest source of protein available.
Poultry body warns of closing down units over lack of govt support
Tahir said that while the prices of all the commodities were rising fast, the PPA managed to supply chicken meat and eggs on affordable rates.
“Prices of chicken and eggs always fluctuate as per demand and supply, while more than 40pc ingredients of poultry feed are imported. Due to the hike in rate of dollar and imposition of 17pc tax on import of raw material, these ingredients have got out of the reach of feed millers, adversely impacting the cost of production of poultry feed as well as chicken meat and eggs,” Mr Tahir, who was flanked by association Secretary retired Maj Javaid Hussain Bukhari, explained.
He further said that poultry farmers were reluctant to keep chicks on their farms because of costly feed and low market rate for their product. Similarly, the cost of production of day-old chicks has also increased massively. These problems are compounding by the day and will soon lead to an acute shortage of poultry meat and eggs, he predicted.
“This shortage cannot be bridged in a short time. It will end up in chicken meat price skyrocketing, taking it out of the reach of the poor,” he warned.
The association sought immediate government support for the poultry industry by reducing the heavy taxes on import duty of all kinds of ingredients and poultry medicine. “If the government does not hear us, the poultry farmers will have no option but to close down their production units. It will also deprive the country of cheap source of protein,” he further warned.
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2019