A member of Pakistan Poultry Association claims prices have been skyrocketting across the country due to short supply.
A member of Pakistan Poultry Association claims prices have been skyrocketting across the country due to short supply.

KARACHI: The poultry industry has jacked up live bird and chicken meat prices to an all-time high of Rs270-280 and Rs480-500 per kg, respectively, denting the household budget hard in the current month.

Retailers attributed the rising prices to dwindling supplies from farms against soaring demand due to the marriage season which started after Ashura.

“Big poultry farmers have been holding supplies to make windfalls,” a chicken dealer said, adding that prices in Punjab are also crawling up.

According to him, the rate of chicken boneless hovers at Rs650-700 per kg which is more than boneless beef (veal) rates.

Interestingly, with chicken prices moving up, the official rates issued by Commissioner Karachi for broiler live bird and its meat are Rs250 and Rs388 per kg. However, these rates, deemed unrealistic by the poultry industry, do not exist in any parts of the city.

A member of Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA), Abdul Maroof Siddiqui said farmers had not put up one day old chick for production in the last two months owing to losses. As a result, the market is now facing shortage of live poultry bird.

“Live bird and its meat should not exceed Rs252 and Rs410-415 per kg respectively; but it seems that market people are taking full advantage of high demand against low supply,” he said.

According to the PPA representative, slaughtering of poultry birds has fallen to 400,000-500,000 per day in Karachi from 800,000-900,000 birds few months back.

Maroof said the price of imported poultry feed ingredients (soybean, vitamins and minerals) has risen due to rupee devaluation against the dollar.

He claimed that poultry prices had been under pressure all over the country and not in Karachi alone.

During Eidul Azha days, when poultry demand usually drops due to abundant meat of sacrificial animals, chicken rates remained high at Rs210-220 per kg for live bird and Rs350-360 per kg for its meat.

The ordeal of consumers does not end here.

Consumers are also braving another shock of paying Rs110-140 per litre for loose milk in different areas despite no new notification from the Commissioner Karachi office. The price of yogurt is hovering between Rs140-180 per kg depending on the area.

President Dairy Cattle Farmers Association, Shakir Umar Gujjar agreed that dairy farmers had raised milk price by Rs8.60 per litre to Rs93.60 per litre as against the demand of Rs24 per litre sent to the Commissioner keeping in view of rising cost of doing business.

The retail price fixed by the Commissioner two years back was Rs94 per litre which needs to be enhanced keeping in view rising cost of production, he said.

Shakir said retailers have increased price by Rs46 per litre, taking the price by up to Rs140 in many areas, thus creating problems for the people as well as for dairy farmers.

He said the commissioner in the last six months had so far not paid any heed to dairy farmers’ demand of raising milk price by Rs24 per litre.

For wheat flour, millers in Sindh had given at least nine price hikes to consumers from April till September 2019 which also went unnoticed. Millers had raised the price of five kg and 10 kg flour bags to Rs270-280 and Rs530-540 from and Rs220-230 and Rs420-440. This increase was attribute to the rise in 100 kg wheat bag price to Rs3,900-4,000 from Rs3,000 in open market.

Consumers believe that only meetings are being held but no practical steps have been taken so far to check whether the prices are being raised artificially or if any demand and supply gap exists.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2019

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