Covid-19: Impact on the global poultry sector

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Bangladesh poultry production plummets

Following a staggering drop in demand for poultry meat and eggs in Bangladesh since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, production has plummeted by at least 50%.

The sector has been battling for about 8 months already, and the coronavirus has dealt a fresh blow, reports The Daily Star.

Demand for chick and eggs crashed

As measures were put in place to ‘flatten the curve’, many hotels, restaurants and fast food establishments were shut, and events and gatherings like weddings were cancelled. Added to this, a loss of income meant lower consumer purchasing power. This countrywide shutdown meant the demand for chicken and eggs crashed. Hatcheries were forced to sell hatched eggs at throwaway prices or dump chicks, and prices of both chicken eggs and meat hit a 12-year low in April, reports The Financial Express.

Covid-19 virus costs Bangladesh poultry dearly. Photo: Adam Nieścioruk
Covid-19 virus costs Bangladesh poultry dearly. Photo: Adam Nieścioruk

Prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic, breeders were hatching 14 million day-old chicks every week, but this number has dropped to as low as 7 million, according to industry sources.

Sharing poultry production best practices in Bangladesh
Voluntary organisation PUM Netherlands senior experts (PUM) in The Hague operates in about 30 developing countries around the world. One of the volunteers is former Poultry World editor Ad Bal. He visited Bangladesh last November to discover the best way PUM can offer advice there.

Selling poultry products below production costs

Fazle Rahim Khan Shahriar, MD of Aftab Bahumukhi Farms, says the supply-demand mismatch for poultry would continue for a minimum of 6 months. The prices of eggs and broiler chickens also dropped, and farmers had to sell the protein below production costs. Farm eggs have been selling at Tk4 (US$ 0.05) at farm level in some regions of the country against production costs of at least Tk6 (US$ 0.07). The average price of a farm egg was Tk7 – 8 (US$ 0.08 – 0.09) before the beginning of the shutdown. According to the Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council, broiler chicken prices fell to Tk55 (US0.65) per kg at farm level in different districts against production costs of about Tk120 (US$ 1.41) a kg.