Odisha: Bird Flu Scare leads to Slump in Demand of Poultry Products
The spread of the bird flu to several states in India has ingrained a certain level of fear among residents in Odisha, leading them to shun poultry products such as eggs and chicken and opt for other diets. This decision to stay away from such products has led to a slump in demand, resulting in a decrease of upto 20-25% in sales of these items at the farm gate and at retail counters.
This declining trend in volumes does not augur well for the poultry industry in the state, which has only started recovering from the blows of the pandemic-induced losses last year. This latest dip in sales puts added financial stress on producers, dealers and middlemen involved. As the products are perishable by nature, they cannot be preserved indefinitely en masse to stem the losses.
“We had sustained heavy losses as consumption was negligible in March and April last year,” said Harmohan Dash, president of All Odisha Poultry Forum. “With the withdrawal of the lockdown, the industry was able to regain its working capital in two to three months. Demand exceeded supply as we were producing at 70% to 80% of our capacity. Just before the bird flu outbreak began elsewhere, farm gate price of chicken was Rs 80 to Rs 90 per kg while retailers sold it at Rs 180 per kg,” Dash added.
Recently, after the lockdown, retail prices had shot up by 10-15% on account of rising demand. Currently, the farm gate price of chicken is between Rs 60 and Rs 70 per kg, while the product is being retailed at Rs 150 per kg. The market price of eggs has also fallen considerably, with farms selling them at Rs 3.90 per piece from the earlier price of Rs 5.25 per piece.