End of diet curbs may fuel poultry price

Since mid-June, poultry prices have been on the rise due to a combination of factors, including logistics and higher raw material costs, according to industry experts.

Puja Das
Updated20 Aug 2023

After vegetables, poultry products including eggs and chicken are expected to see a sharp rise in sales and, consequently, prices starting September -- following the two-month-long Shravan restrictions.

Hindus in parts of northern and western India follow dietary restrictions during the Shravan period. Sales dipped by 15-20% in North and West India during July and August.

“Shravan month generally indicates15-20% lower sales. This year, the effect will be multiplying because it is being observed for two months,” said Nishant Lakkar, founder at AAA Rating Consultants and Advisors.

“As soon as Shravan gets over, the industry is expected to witness a strong rebound in terms of sales, and it is likely to grow more than 10% year-on-year in September alone.”

Since mid-June, poultry prices have been on the rise due to a combination of factors, including logistics and higher raw material costs, according to industry experts. “Broiler chicken prices at the farmgate of Delhi’s Gazipur are expected to touch 150-160 a kg from 120-125 at present,” said Tarun Satsangi, global commodity research specialist with Silkroute.ag.

“This is because of a substantial demand is anticipated in September from people who fall under low-and-marginal-income group amid soaring vegetable prices and as prospects of kharif crops -- maize and soybean -- remain poor amid deficient rainfall in August, raising yield concerns.”

Egg prices are expected to go up in tandem with chicken prices. While egg is available at 426-501 per 100 pieces in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai, the average price of chicken at the farm gate is around 118-121 a kg in Bengaluru, Kolkata and Delhi.

“Prices of chicken and eggs shot up in April-June because of extreme heatwaves in some pockets of the country causing higher mortality in chicken, weighing on production and consequently supply. This gradually eased off in July due to a change in eating habit and less demand from North and West India during Shravan,” said farm commodity analyst Indrajit Paul.

“Additionally, prices rose but marginally in sync with raw material costs.”

Wholesale prices of maize shot up to 1,935-2,100 per quintal during June-August from 1,800-1,900 during April-May in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh after touching 2,400 a quintal in March. This current rise in prices is attributed to dry or inclement weather conditions so far in the four-month monsoon season ending September, among others.

Soybean prices are either stable or have been falling since February. Maize and soybean are major feed for animals including poultry.

Rahul Guha, director CRISIL Ratings Ltd sees sluggish demand again in October and November as North and West India celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri. “However, in other pockets, demand and prices will firm up.”

Queries sent to the agriculture and farmers welfare, consumer affairs, and statistics and programme implementation ministries remained unanswered at press time.

Retail inflation in chicken and eggs, account for 1.23% and 0.43%, respectively in the food and beverages basket of Consumer Price Index, rose to 0.3% and 3.8% in July 2023 from (-) 1.5% and 7% in June 2023.

Prices of feed (maize and soya) account for 70-80% of the total cost while transportation, marketing, medicines and maintenance form another 5-10%. Typically, a chick consumes feed amounting to 2-2.5X times of its body weight. Thus, the prices of feed cost have a direct impact on the profitability. “Last year as prices of feed rose and passing on of the same was not possible fully, margins for the poultry players dropped. With moderated input prices and fresh crop arrival in H2, margins will go up to 5.5% in fiscal 2024,” said Guha.

“Thus, poultry industry’s revenue is expected to grow at 10% in FY2024. This would have been higher if not for the price moderation seen in the current year. Last fiscal, realisations had gone up significantly due to input cost inflation, leading to a growth rate of 25%.”

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