National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) has stated that thousands of small and marginal farmers and breeders have shut down poultry businesses or suspended or scaled down their operations because of heavy losses.
“Unable to withstand such continuous losses, thousands of small and marginal farmers and even breeders have already shut down or suspended or scaled down their operations. Most of the farmers and breeders are on the verge of insolvency,” said the NECC in a press statement.
The apex body for poultry trade has appealed to the Union government to allot at least 2 million tonnes of damaged wheat, paddy, and broken rice unfit for human consumption — for use in poultry feed, as a partial substitute for maize to tide over the unprecedented crisis caused by acute shortage and steep increase in the price of maize and soyameal in the domestic market.
According to the industry, it is one of the worst crises in the history of the poultry industry. NECC sources said that during the past few years, and particularly during the last year, there was a jump in maize prices due to factors such as increased exports and diversion of significant volumes of maize for production of bio-fuel in Bihar, which is a major maize-producing State.
The price of maize in the domestic market is up from last year’s Rs 18,000 per tonne to approximately Rs 25,000 and is expected to increase further to Rs 30,000.
NECC has stated that due to such an increase in maize price, the average cost of production has gone up from Rs 4 per egg last year to Rs 4.75-5. However, the average farmgate price is hovering around Rs 3.50 per egg thus resulting in a net loss of Rs l.50-1.75 per egg for the farmers.
Under these circumstances, partial substitution of maize with other cheaper commodities is the only viable option to help the farmers to retain their means of livelihood, as well as to ensure that proteins continue to be available to the poorer sections of the consumers at an affordable price.
NECC sources said, “We are hopeful that the government would respond favourably to our appeal and come to the rescue of farmers and allot the damaged grains for production of poultry feed, and enable the farmers to tide over the crisis and continue to retain their only means of livelihood”.
Source: The Business Line