Chicken meat prices surge amid lack of govt action

Published May 12, 2021
Chicken boneless meat price has come on a par with veal boneless meat selling at Rs800-850 per kg. — Reuters/File
Chicken boneless meat price has come on a par with veal boneless meat selling at Rs800-850 per kg. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: With Eidul Fitr only a couple of days away, poultry retail prices hit the highest-ever rate of up to Rs350-360 per kg for live bird, Rs520-640 for meat (with and without giblets) and Rs800 per kg for boneless, showing a jump of Rs100-150 per kg in the last one week.

Poultry sector people say that massive price hike was because of short supply of birds from the farms which are hit by “Rani Khet” disease, causing a huge loss of birds at the farms.

Chicken boneless meat price has come on a par with veal boneless meat selling at Rs800-850 per kg.

Neither the retailers nor any wholesalers have put on display any daily price list issu­ed by the Karachi commissioner while markets also lack any effective price regulatory mechanism. As a result, retailers are charging prices at their whims and taking full advantage of rising demand ahead of Eid.

Live bird sells at Rs360 while boneless meat at Rs800 per kg

Consumers are also facing same ordeal in red meat prices which have been raised by Rs150 per kg by traders in Ramazan, while the price regulator doesn’t bother to take any action and remains inactive.

Surprisingly, the commissioner’s price list for May 11 quoted broiler live bird and its meat rate Rs138 and Rs214 per kg, respectively.

A complainant told Dawn that he phoned an assistant commissioner to ask him why shopkeepers fleecing consumers are not being arrested or fined to ensure availability of all essential food items especially red and white meat at the official price list issued by the commissioner office, the official said “we have only two powers: either to impose fine or arrest the violator, but we can’t take action on your demand’.

The latest price shock came after an inquiry report of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), released on May 7, found that 19 poultry feed companies have been involved in price coordination and their alleged anti-competitive conduct has caused poultry feed price rise.

Poultry feed comprises approximately 75-80pc of the cost of broiler meat and eggs. The CCP inquiry report also disclosed that from December 2018 to December 2020, the feed mills colluded to raise the poultry feed prices by Rs825 per 50kg bag, thus making the feed 32pc costlier for the poultry farmers.

Member Executive Committee of the Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) Abdul Maroof Siddiqui said that “Rani Khet” has surfaced again in the last one and a half months after 2012 and it has caused around 30-35pc mortality at farms all over the country. This situation has led to restricted supply of birds in the markets from the farms.

He said PPA has engaged experts to control the outbreak while vaccination process is also going on to further contain mortality of birds.

Mr Maroof said farm rate of live bird on May 11 in Karachi was Rs304 per kg followed by Rs280—300 per kg in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar etc.

“The live bird should not cost more than Rs320 per kg at retail stage,” he said, adding that the prices of poultry products had skyrocketed all over Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2021

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