Egg prices in India have not risen as predicted at the onset of winter, putting poultry farmers in a difficult position.
Total egg production in the country stands at 600 million annually, and there has been only a 5% increase in production, according to trade sources.
Shabbir Ahmed Khan, the convenor of the Poultry Federation of India, said the production capacities had been increased as there was demand in the Indian market due to a rise in disposable income, but he suggested that middlemen have been reaping the benefits.
According to Khan the wholesale price was Rs 3.50 per egg during this month last year but has now slipped to Rs 3.22 per egg. At the same time, the cost of production per egg has increased to Rs 2.95 from Rs 2.80 last year.
Devinder Ahlawat of the Haryana Poultry Farmers Association, commented that prices are sticky as the number of poultry farms have proliferated in the past few years. This business has less hassles in terms of taxes (no sales tax and excise duty), but marketing is essential. The wholesellers negotiate their terms and the farmers get a lower price. The plight of poultry farmers down south is worse as they are selling an egg at Rs 2.60 against the cost of Rs 3.
“A drop in the cost of soyabean has resulted in the cost of poultry feed to fall from Rs 22 per kg to Rs 18.50 per kg. But we are still selling at a loss,” one poultry farmer from Tamil Nadu stated.
This year could end up as a loss-making year, experts have predicted.