Chicken Prices in Kathmandu Valley Decline

NEPAL - Chicken prices have started coming down in Kathmandu Valley lately, although they are yet to reach the level recorded in the days prior to the bird flu outbreak. The retail price of dressed chicken currently stands at around Rs 360 per kg as against Rs 450 recorded a month ago.
calendar icon 9 December 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

"Prices of chicken are going down lately as supply of the product has gone up," said management member at Balaju’s Valley Cold Store Sakshyam Ghimire. "However, it may take a few more months for prices to come back to the level recorded in the days prior to the bird flu outbreak."

The Himalayan reports that the price of chicken hovered at around Rs 280 per kg before the spread of the bird flu virus reached its peak in August. Then as the flu started creating panic among consumers, sales of chicken as well as their prices hit rock bottom.

But as the fear of the bird flu outbreak started subsiding, prices started going up as most of the parent broilers — that lay eggs for production of broiler chickens — had been culled during the outbreak.

The government had culled 1.5 million units of chickens, including parent broilers, during the outbreak inflicting a loss of over Rs seven billion on the poultry industry. It takes around six months for parent broilers to start laying eggs, according to general secretary of the Nepal Poultry Federation Rohit Niroula.

"As only four months have passed since the restoration of normalcy, we have not been able to raise many parent broiler chickens. This is why prices are still at the higher end," said Mr Niroula, adding, "Prices will come back to normal only after the new batch of parent broilers start laying eggs. Once parent broilers start laying eggs it will take only 45 days to raise broiler chickens."

So what exactly is triggering the drop in chicken prices lately?

There are two versions to it. According to Ghimire, supply from areas like Gaighat, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Gorkha and Makwanpur, that were not affected by bird flu outbreak, has gone up. "These areas were supplying chickens to us even after the bird flu outbreak, but prices did not come down then due to Dashain and Tihar festivals when demand goes up," Mr Ghimire said.

But office secretary at the Nepal Hatchery Association Dinesh Vaidya does not buy this argument. He said: "The main reason for the recent price drop is the hike in supply from bordering Indian cities."

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