Poultry Farming Moves away from Chitwan Centre

NEPAL - Rising land prices are forcing poultry farms in Chitwan to make way for residential plots.
calendar icon 13 October 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

Booming land and housing transactions may have brought cheers from people in Chitwan but the ever growing realty sector has weakened the poultry sector's dominance in the district, which once used to command more than 80 per cent of total poultry production in the country.

MyRepublica reports that the skyrocketing price of land spurred by increasing trend of migration to the district and subsequent problems in maintaining biosecurity – sanitation on the poultry farm to prevent diseases – has been repelling poultry investors from Chitwan.

"The identity of Chitwan as a poultry hub would be no longer the same in the next five years if the current boom seen in realty sector continues," said Guna Chandra Bista, a leading poultry entrepreneur in Chitwan, former president of the Nepal Hatchery Association and owner of the country's largest hatchery, Abinash Hatchery.

The poultry boom in Chitwan began in 1995, following a poultry expo in the district organised with the initiation of local business people. The district, which holds more than 50 per cent share of total poultry business in the country, alone records an annual poultry transaction of five billion rupees (NPR). Poultry entrepreneurs have invested more than NPR 10 billion in the district alone.

"Registration and operation of new poultry farms in Chitwan is almost nil in the last couple of years. Worse still, poultry farms in the district are searching new places to shift their farms outside Chitwan in recent days," said Mr Bista.

"Areas connected with wide roads and those that have electricity facility are considered ideal for poultry farming. But such places are fast converting into residential areas," he added.

Poultry investors are now shifting to other less crowded and cheaper places in Tarai and mid-hill districts, which have roads and electricity. Mr Bista has also opened a poultry farm in Nawalparasi, a neighbouring district.

He said that some poultry farms are facing foreclosure after failing to repay the bank loan due to adverse business climate that seriously affected the poultry sector.

"Even we are opening poultry farms in Itahari and Kohalpur, which are more feasible than Chitwan," said Dr Til Chandra Bhattarai, a poultry researcher and managing director of Pancharatna Poultry Group, one of the largest poultry farms of the country.

Dr Bhattarai told MyRepublica that production of broiler chicken in Chitwan has dropped to around 20 per cent of the total production across the country from around 30 to 35 per cent recorded a couple of years ago. The district's contribution to total egg production has also declined to 60 per cent from more than 80 per cent of the total production. Dr Bhattarai also points out growing competition among poultry farmers as another reason behind the declining number of poultry farms in the district. More than 30 per cent of around 600 poultry farms in the district have been closed over the last couple of years because they were unable to compete with larger farms.

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