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Broiler Industry Approaches Crisis-Point

by 5m Editor
9 August 2011, at 9:26am

BANGLADESH - Hundreds of poultry farmers have closed down their farms during the last couple of months as the result of the high costs of day-old chicks and feed.

An unusual rise in the price of one-day-old chicks and poultry feed has come as a serious blow to the already limping poultry industry in eight districts of Rangpur division, according to Daily Star of Bangladesh.

Consequently, closure of a large number of poultry farms may lead to crisis of broiler chicken, a vital source of protein and also used in preparing delicacies, during the ongoing Ramadan and ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festival of the Muslims.

Failing to cope with continuous losses, hundreds of poultry owners closed down their farms during the last couple of months, said sources of Bangladesh Poultry Farm Association (BPFA).

Mahbub Alam, president of Rangpur divisional unit of BPFA, said: "We have become hostage to a syndicate of hatchery owners and feed producers, who are deliberately raising prices of one-day-old chicks and poultry feed to make windfall profit. Prices of each one-day-old broiler chick increased to 65 to 70 taka [BDT] to BDT25 to 28 within only three weeks."

Broiler rearing is hit by rise in price of both day-old chick and poultry feed.

Although prices of day-old layer chicks has remained stable at 22 to 24 taka (BDT), rearing of layer chickens for eggs is affected by the recent rise in poultry feed price.

On 7 August, a sack of broiler chick feed sold at BDT1,800 to BDT1,885 and a sack of layer chick feed BDT1,500 to 1,525, said Shahadat Hossain, a big poultry feed dealer in Rangpur town.

But the prices were at least BDT100 less for each sack two weeks ago, said farmers.

Shukhdev Kumar, owner of Ma Tara Poultry Farm in Saidpur upazila under Nilphamari district, explained: "Due to present high price of broiler chicks and poultry feed, we have to spend BDT190 for rearing a broiler for one month when it attains 1.5kg weight. But we have to incur loss as it is to be sold at BDT142. Similarly, production cost of an egg now stands at BDT5.50 but farmers have to sell it at BDT5.20."

BPFA sources said there are 7,609 listed poultry farms in Rangpur, Dinajpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts.

But half of the farms have been closed down during the last two years due to continuous increase in price of chicks and poultry feed, said Dablu Shah, president of Nilphamari district unit of BPFA.

Earlier, the government at a meeting with hatchery owners, feed millers and poultry farmers fixed highest price of one-day-old broiler at BDT30 and layer chick at BDT32 in order to reign in prices at the unstable market.

But shortly afterwards, the hatchery owners took a stay order from the court against the government order, said BPFA sources.

The government should re-fix selling prices of chicks and poultry feed to save the poultry sector, said Istiaq Ahmed, general secretary of Rangpur divisional unit of BPFA.

Dr Binoy Kumar, assistant section manager of CP Bangladesh Ltd, one of the largest poultry feed producers and breeders in the country, told Daily Star: "Prices of one-day-old chicks have marked some rise in the recent weeks as poultry farmers across the country started purchasing chicks in a competitive way, eyeing good business ahead of the Eid."

He, however, said that the price of one-day-old broiler chick is gradually coming down now after a sharp rise.

Dr Shahidul Islam, deputy director of divisional office of livestock directorate, said: "Price rise of poultry chicks and feed is not acceptable at all. We are asking poultry feed producers and breeders to take reasonable prices as directed by the government."