Chicken Prices Surge After Indian Heatwave

INDIA - Chicken prices have risen and feed prices are declining, following the deaths of millions of chickens during the heatwave in India.
calendar icon 2 June 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

Chicken prices soared to a record high after a heat wave killed more than 17 million birds in May, reports the Times of India.

Temperatures regularly above 40 degrees Celsius led to mounting casualties among livestock as well as humans.

After the deaths, wholesale chicken prices in western India jumped to a record 95 rupees ($1.49) per kg, up 35 per cent over a month.

A ban imposed by the western state of Maharashtra on beef also contributed to the rise in chicken prices, offsetting a drop earlier in the year when a bird flu outbreak pushed down prices to below production costs.

Chicken is set to become more costly if temperatures continue to rise in June, industry sources said.

Broiler chickens cannot survive if the temperature stays above 45 Celsius for long, said Vasant Kumar, president of the Poultry Breeders Welfare Association of Maharashtra.

May and June are typically India's hottest months but this year temperatures have been above normal in some regions partly due to the emergence of an El Nino weather pattern, which in 2009 brought the worst drought in four decades to the country.

The millions of dead birds will be a major blow both for the growing poultry sector in the world's second-most populous country, as well as for local corn producers who were hoping rising feed consumption would soak up their grain supplies.

"In the last two-three weeks poultry feed demand has fallen nearly 30 per cent," said K V Krishna Charan, general manager at feed producer Komaral Feeds and Foods Pvt Ltd.

Prices of corn and soymeal have dropped nearly 4 per cent in May due to the weak demand driven by higher bird mortality.

India was expecting monsoons to bring some relief, but the arrival of the June-September rains over the southern coast of Kerala has been delayed. The rains are now expected to reach by June 4, instead of May 30, a weather department official said.

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