Poultry farming in Eastern Uttar Pradesh is on the verge of destruction after a sudden increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of maize and soya bean, which are used as poultry feed. Not just that, the state government’s decision to stop taking eggs for mid-day meal and increasing costs of electricity, labour, transportation and medicines have added to the misery of poultry farm owners.
According to poultry farm owners, the cost of one egg comes to Rs 4.25 but the cost of one egg in the wholesale market is Rs 3.15 to 3.25. Thus, they are losing one rupee per egg. As a result, many egg producers have lost millions in the past six months. They are also struggling to repay the loans taken from banks.
Last week, egg producers took out a procession in Gorakhpur and submitted a memorandum to the District Magistrate (DM), seeking immediate intervention of Chief Minister Adityanath. They also complained that if the situation does not improve soon, they will have to close their layer farms. This will make hundreds of people unemployed and their capital will be drowned.
Zakir Ali is one of the largest distributors in Gorakhpur and has a layer farm with 60,000 chickens has been losses since March. Layer farm is where chickens are reared primarily for the purpose of eggs in a poultry farm. Zakir’s farm produces 60,000 eggs everyday. He claimed that he has been losing at least Rs 60,000 a day since March, which is, one rupee on each egg. There are several owners and small egg producers like Zakir whose poultry business are on the verge of destruction.
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Speaking to NewsClick, he said, "During the previous Akhilesh Yadav regime, a policy was introduced to increase egg and meat production in Uttar Pradesh to provide livelihood to the unemployed. The Samajwadi Party (SP) government provided subsidy on land and loans at nominal interest. Several people especially youths made a bee-line in various districts like Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Basti and Maharajganj to set up layer farms.”
He added, "Initially, the business was very good, but due to lack of protection from the government, their condition is now in a bad state. The worst came when the government increased the MSP of maize and soya in March, due to which the price of poultry feed increased significantly. The price of feed costs has gone up to Rs 25 per kilogram per kg, which was only Rs 19 last year.”
Arun Kumar Singh, a poultry farm owner told NewsClick, "Recently, egg was in the menu chart in the mid-day meal at primary schools and prisons but ever since a controversy erupted over this, the government has removed eggs from the menu. This is also a reason that our business is in huge loss. The government should include eggs to save our poultry farms from closure."
The committee officials claimed that they are forced to sell eggs at cheaper prices because the price of their eggs is quoted by the traders of Barwala, Haryana, who open the sale of eggs at a cheaper rate and dump the eggs in cold storage. Later on after selling their eggs, they drop the rate. In addition to that, electricity is expensive in Uttar Pradesh as compared to other states.
They demanded that UP government should decide the price of eggs, not Haryana. Barwala is an old egg-production centre and produces one crore eggs in a day.
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