Authorities in Indonesia have told broiler farmers to cull around three million birds over the next fortnight to help alleviate plunging prices.
The government action followed complaints by chicken farmers, who say that live bird prices have been below a government floor price and cost of production for months.
Broiler farmers increased production, according to Reuters, to cash in on an anticipated upturn in demand during the recent Muslim Eid al-Fitr holidays but the Agriculture Ministry said demand turned out to be lower than expected.
With farmers protesting by giving thousands of live birds away for free, the government told them to cull 68-week old chickens over a two-week period until 9 July. It is estimated this will take out three million birds, reducing the supply of day-old chicken s by 1.5 million per week.
The Agriculture Ministry reported the average price of live birds in Indonesia was 20,216 rupiah ($1.43/kg) last week, compared to a government floor of 18,00o rupiah per kg.
However, some farmers have reported they had to sell birds for as little as 7,000 rupiah ($0.48/kg), leading the Association of Yogyakartan farmers to complain their businesses were dying and almost bankrupt: “Some of us are afraid to raise chickens,” it said in a statement.
It is not the first time Indonesia has taken such draconian action. Four years ago, it ordered the culling of six million broilers to control oversupply issues.
And it is prepared to go further this time: “If the prices of live birds are not yet in line with benchmark prices… culling of parent stock of 60-week old chickens will be launched,” according to I Ketut Diarmita, director general of livestock and animal health at the Ministry of Agriculture.