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TN: Egg Production Cost Shoots up, Poultry Farmers in Crisis

Sruti MD |
Poultry farmers say that production cost increased by roughly 30%, and has put immense strain on their earnings.
egg production

On June 27, the price of a single chicken egg reached Rs 5.5 in the wholesale market in Tamil Nadu. This was the highest the egg price has touched in the 50 years of poultry history of Tamil Nadu.

Since early June 2022, the price of eggs has steadily increased. On June 1, it was Rs 4.80, by June 13 it touched Rs 5.05, it increased to Rs 5.35 on June 24 and then touched Rs 5.50 on June 27. It has been steady for the past four days.

The last time the egg prices spiked high was in October 2010, when the price was Rs 5.25 for 12 days.

The poultry farmers say that the production cost increased by roughly 30% and has put immense strain on them. They are still running under losses. Also, the Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers Association (TNPFA)  has announced that the wholesale price would cross Rs. 6 in the coming days.

NAMAKKAL POULTRY FARMS

About 75% of egg poultry farms of Tamil Nadu are located in and around Namakkal district, which houses thousands of farms that have 5 to 7 crore birds that produce nearly 50 crore eggs per day.

The arid weather condition of the region is not conducive for agriculture, which is why in the 1980s widespread egg farming was introduced. Since then, egg farming has advanced in the region and large farms have taken over house-based production.

Around 40% eggs produced in Namakkal go to the Tamil Nadu nutritious meal programme and are exported to Kerala, and the rest go to the retail market in other parts of the state.

But, in the past few months, the high price of chicken feed and labour has made it difficult for farmers to sustain their  business and many of them have sold off their farms.

PRODUCTION PRICE RISE

Namakkal poultry farmers say that price rise is not of eggs, but of the production costs.

The TNPFA website reads “these farmers met with a lot of hardship due to the shortage of raw materials like Maize, soya DOCs etc. which defines the rate of eggs and thus the livelihood of thousands of the poultry farmers and their labourers”.

“In the recent past, the egg poultry farmers incur heavy losses due to the non-availability or the soaring prices of raw materials in the markets. Thus running a poultry farm turned into a very difficult task,” it further read.

Ramasamy Kaliannan, a poultry farm owner in Namakkal, said: “The cost of 75 kg of feed is Rs 2,500, a chicken requires 110 grams of feed per day and it should be fed for 75 weeks in total and each produces approximately 300 eggs. Added to this are the other input costs”.

Besides the feed cost , the farmers have to spend on maintenance and labour, whose costs have also increased.

FARMS CLOSED

Unable to cope with the steep increase in production costs, many egg farmers have sold off their farms or left a large portion of their farms vacant.

Singaraju, a poultry farm owner, said: “All over India 40% farms are vacant. Farmers are facing a loss of Rs 200 to 250 per chicken. If someone has one lakh chickens, you can understand what their situation would be. Many have stopped producing chickens, sold them for meat and shut the poultries”.

“Given that production has overall reduced, in the place of 100 eggs only 60 are produced, which means consumption has also reduced”, he added.

There is a rumour that the increase in price is due to rise in demand due to schools reopening, increased consumption due to rainy days and the state’s nutritious meal programme. Poultry farmers clarified that these are false reasons, and the price rise is due to increase in production costs.

Kaliannan said: “We are using agricultural products, and a lot of farmers will be affected if we stop buying from them. Several lakh tonnes of feed are used in Namakkal each day”.

In the next two weeks, the wholesale price of eggs will touch Rs 6 per piece and the retail price would go up to Rs 6.50.

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