Broiler chicken prices in India have fallen by almost a third in a week with consumption dropping after an outbreak of avian influenza was reported in six states, industry officials told.
The sudden drop in demand and prices is compounding the woes of millions of small poultry farmers in an industry that only recently started to recover from the coronavirus outbreak-led disruption that hit sales during 2020.
“Demand has fallen nearly 30%,” said Uddhav Ahire, chairman of Anand Agro Group, a poultry company based in the western city of Nashik.
Broiler chicken prices have fallen to 60 rupees ($0.8192) a kg from around 90 rupees a week ago, he said, adding that farmers are incurring losses as the production cost is more than 75 rupees.
Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, was reported in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana and Gujarat earlier this week.
The central and state governments have been trying to allay consumer fears, saying consumption of chicken and eggs is safe after cooking.
“The industry might see some temporary disruption, but we don’t see this to be a long term phenomenon and this might correct itself in a period of 15-20 days,” said Prasanna Pedgaonkar, general manager of poultry-focused Venky’s, which has seen its shares slide more than 10% this week.