The problem the poultry industry is facing is the rising input costs. The Covid induced weekend lockdowns have impacted the poultry industry as Saturdays and Sundays are the two days of the week when chicken sales pick up. Sales of chicken have fallen 25%-30% since beginning of April with prices falling more than 40% in southern, western and northern India.
Industry leaders like Suguna Foods and others have approached the respective state governments to treat chicken shops at par with essential food items like vegetables, fruits and milk and allow them to remain open for a limited period on weekends. Last year, due to rumours that Covid spreads from chicken and the lockdown, poultry sector faced a loss of Rs 22,500 core.
“In most of the states, chicken shops are remaining closed on weekends. But vegetable and fruit shops as well as shops selling milk are open as they fall under essential items category. Poultry too is an essential commodity. Also, people are not stepping out of home in fear of Covid. So the sales have dropped significantly by 25%-30% in last one month,” said Vignesh Soundarajan, executive director, Suguna Foods.
Prices too, with higher supplies and low demand. “Live birds, which were selling at Rs 90-95 per kg has now dropped to Rs 40 -Rs 45 per kg in the southern states. In western India, the price may be around Rs 45 – Rs 50 per kg whereas in northern India it is hovering around Rs 50-Rs 55 per kg,” Soundarajan said.
“We have initiated talks with the state governments to help the retailers to reopen their shops for a limited period so that sales can pick up in the weekends. We are educating the retailers to maintain the Covid protocol too,” he said.
Chicken sales started falling after the Maharashtra government announced lockdown, industry officials said.