High feed costs: appetite for poultry farming decreases
In the wake of soaring production costs resulting from high feed prices, agriculture’s appetite to produce chicken meat is waning among farmers as demand for chicks has fallen, officials said yesterday. operators in the poultry industry.
Operators said prices of key feed ingredients – corn, soybean meal and soybean oil – have reached exorbitant levels, requiring greater investment.
At the same time, many have become uncertain about their ability to recoup their investments.
Industry operators have said a drop in livestock will affect the supply of chicken in the coming months, forcing consumers to pay more for the meat, one of the cheapest sources of protein, which would further affect their ability to purchase.
Consumers have already paid higher prices to buy eggs as production dwindled in the face of higher production costs.
“I’m just breaking even now. Making a profit has become very difficult against the backdrop of soaring feed prices,” said Abu Taher, a small-scale farmer from Gazipur, a poultry farming district near of the capital.
Yet this 46-year-old farmer who has been farming poultry for 20 years now buys a 50-kilogram bag of feed for Tk 3,165, up 49% from a year ago.
Due to the high cost of animal feed, three farmers in his locality have already suspended operations and kept their sheds empty since the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr in early May, he said.
On the other hand, Taher took the risk of maintaining his business.
He started raising a flock of 2,000 birds a few days ago buying day-old chicks for around Tk6 each.
“I’m not sure what will happen next,” he said, adding that its production cost would be 140 taka per kilogram at current prices.
Md Rakibur Rahman, managing director of a leading breeder Nahar Agro, said farmers have to spend Tk 130-135 to produce one kilogram of chicken meat due to high feed cost. A year ago, the cost of production was around Tk 100 per kilogram.
Supply chain issues, lack of grain availability in overseas markets and rising import costs for the weakening taka against the US dollar have fueled feed prices.
“As prices soar, the risk of losses is driving many farmers away from livestock,” he added.
Md Moshiur Rahman, chairman of the Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC), said feed makers could buy every kilogram of maize for less than Tk20 at this time in the past.
The price of cereals, which represent 55% of poultry feed, is now 36 taka.
“Many farmers are closing as they struggle to contain losses,” said Rahman, also chief executive of Paragon Group, a leading poultry producer.
As a result, demand for day-old chicks has plummeted, pushing prices up to around Tk10 each, he said, adding that chicks cost Tk17-18 in May.
Farmers are producing between 1.80 crore and 1.90 crore day-old chicks each week against demand of 1.70 crore to 1.75 crore, according to industry insiders.
In contrast, demand for chicken meat has not increased as many consumers find their budgets strained by the high price of other basic necessities.
Sayed Sultan Ahmed, managing director of Kazi Farms, said farmers have no control over the price of poultry feed and medicine. What they have power over is their choice to continue cultivating.
“Now, even though chick prices are low, farmers doubt they can recoup production costs due to higher input charges,” Ahmed added.