Dam Row Pushes up Chicken and Egg Prices

KERALA, INDIA - The controversy over the Mullaperiyar dam between Tamil Nadu and Kerala has hit the poultry market hard.
calendar icon 22 December 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Chicken and egg prices in Kerala, which normally drop during this time due to the Sabarimala pilgrimage season, have shot up because of the trade disruption near the border between the two states.

Chicken prices have soared to Rs80 per kg from Rs55-60 per kg, The Economic Times reports.

Till a few years ago, Kerala used to depend heavily on poultry products from its neighbouring state. With local producers stepping up the supply, the flow from Tamil Nadu has waned a bit but is still significant since there is a heavy demand.

Egg and poultry sales turn sluggish with the onset of the Sabarimala pilgrimage season in Kerala, when there is a rush of pilgrims from southern states. Prices shoot up briefly around Christmas and New Year.

But this time, the dam row has triggered a price rally with the obstruction of traffic at several border points. "Retail prices have jumped from Rs55-60 per kg to Rs82 per kg and could rise further," said Mr Basheer, a local chicken merchant.

A few merchants are expecting the prices to touch Rs100 per kg. The supply to Kerala happens basically through four routes: Coimbatore-Walayar, Cumbum-Kumily, Shenkottah-Kollam and Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram.

Of these, the Coimbatore-Walayar belt seems to be the least affected. Namakkal in Tamil Nadu is a chief market for eggs. "The trade through the other three borders has been hit. A part of the trade is being re-routed through the Coimbatore-Walayar border.

Egg prices which were hovering below Rs3 have touched Rs3.20 per egg. A cold wave in nNorth India has also contributed to this," said Dr P Selvaraj, chairman of Namakkal National Egg Co-ordination Committee.

Coimbatore-based Suguna PoultryFarms, a leading player in the poultry business, is experiencing some difficulties in sending goods to Kerala.

"We had reduced the supply to Kerala over the last few months as our products were fetching lower prices in the state. The dam row has partially affected the sales," said Ravindran K, director of sales and marketing of Suguna Poultry.

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