Visakhapatnam: The price of broiler chicken reached an all-time high in Andhra Pradesh while the price of eggs remained unchanged. This despite an abundant availability of sea and freshwater fish. Retailers said skinless chicken was being sold at Rs. 300 to Rs. 310 per kg while live birds were sold at Rs. 155 per kg. Country chicken prices are stable at Rs. 700 per kg. The prices began rising in mid-February due to the hike in the prices of input ingredients, farmers said.
The state produces around five crore birds per month and the average demand for chicken meat is around 10 lakh kg per day in Andhra Pradesh.
The increasing temperatures in the state are also pushing the prices of chicken as the hot weather conditions are the reason behind the death of the birds. Twenty out of every 100 birds are dying due to high temperatures.
"We never experienced such a situation in March. We are trying hard to save the birds by arranging coolers and cool roofs. But that is increasing the expenses," said poultry farmer K. Appala Naidu from Vizianagaram district.The cost of feed and medicines have increased in the last three years. A minimum price or Rs. 180 per kg per live bird is required, he added.
A popular retailer in MVP Colony in Vizag city, K. Subba Rao, said one lakh birds are sold on Sundays while 20,000 are sold on weekdays in Visakhapatnam city.
North Andhra Poultry Farmers Association president Thataraju Appa Rao said rice bran oil that is mixed with chicken feed is being quoted at Rs. 145 per litre which was just Rs. 100 last month. Similarly, the cost of maize rose to Rs. 2,500 per quintal which was Rs. 1,800 last month. This is maize harvesting season and yet the prices are high, said Mr. Appa Rao. He added that each chicklet was being sold at Rs. 45 which was just Rs. 35 two months ago. The farmers have pruned their production due to high input costs and as a result, the prices of meat have gone up, he said.
"Chicken at Rs. 300, mutton at Rs. 900 per kg will soon become out of reach for the middle class,'' K. Siva Kumar, who consumes chicken five days a week, said.