Pune: Lack of supply and increase in demand is seeing retail prices of chicken and mutton soaring in Pune. The poultry industry is one of the many sectors facing tremendous losses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
The retail price of chicken has increased to Rs 220-240 per kg. Demand has recently picked up, aided by the start of the holy month of Ramzan.
As supply had been low as in the second week of March, the placement of birds -- the production of birds in tune with demand after 35-40 days -- in Maharashtra was cut drastically foreseeing a drop in demand.
Industry estimates reveal that the placement of birds was reduced by 70 per cent.
“The retail price of chicken has increased in the last one week as the supply of chicken has reduced by 50 per cent. The reduction was due to less production as many farmers had already gotten rid of their surplus stock -- burying birds or simply abandoning them as they didn’t fetch the desired price -- in March. As the supply is hampered and overall demand has increased, the prices have increased,” explained Sachin Kamble, owner of Saamarthya Food, Shivajinagar
Madhu Punde of Kukdoo Ku chicken, Wanawadi said, “The retail price of chicken which was around Rs 150 -170 per kg has increased to Rs 240 per kg since last one week. Due to lockdown, some people are now cooking chicken at home (as eating out is not an option any more) and Ramzan has also started, which eventually increased the demand.”
Rajendra Thorat, Executive Member of Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (MH) said rumours about the association of coronavirus with chicken consumption damaged the industry. “Farmers did not have much money left, so they reduced the placement of birds by 70 per cent. In the State, as many as 4.5 crores of birds are placed in a month while only 1.5 crore birds were placed last month which is now ready for the sale.”
The retail price of mutton has increased to Rs 700-750 per kg in Pune.
Ifteqar Patel, a mutton and chicken shop owner, said, “The price of mutton which was Rs 600-640 per kg has increased to Rs 700 per kg. In some parts of the city, it is also sold at Rs 750 per kg at present. This increase in price is due to a lack of supply.”
He explained that since the lockdown was imposed, the weekly wholesale market was not held.
“This has completely distorted the supply chain and also individually we have to manage transport for live goats and sheep from the villages. Because of the scale of COVID in Pune, villagers are scared and do not allow our vehicles, disturbing the overall supply of mutton.”