Poultry prices up by more than 50% in a year as animal feed drives up costs

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A sharp increase in soya meal cost has driven up poultry prices by more than 50% over the past one year.

While the price of the key ingredient in poultry feed has increased 82% in a year, the jump has been sharper in the past one month, when it has risen 28%. Poultry has become costlier by 32% in a month.

Soya meal, which is obtained after crushing the soyabean, is used in animal feed. High-protein soya meal is now selling at Rs 67 per kg, compared with around Rs 52 at the beginning of March.

Soymeal has a 30% share in the feed composition. In March last year, soymeal was trading at Rs 30 a kg in the Indore market.

Soyabean trade executives said speculators were at work, hiking prices artificially.

The Indian livestock feed industry had witnessed a Rs 26,000 crore loss last financial year due to the lockdown and the spread of Covid-19, Anmol Feeds managing director Amit Saraogi told ET. “This led farmers to cull birds fearing zero return on investment. In the second wave of Covid, we are facing a new challenge of rising raw material prices. In fact, the price of a one-day-old chick which was Rs 30-40 last month has now shot up to Rs 60.”

BV Mehta, executive director of Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors Association of India, said: “Speculators have entered the market hoping that they will make money from soybean trading. Nearly 50 lakh tonnes of soybean have been crushed in the period October–March. We are now left with 25 lakh tonnes of soybean to be crushed till the new crop arrives in the market. This is why speculators have become active.”

Exports of soybean meal have gone up by almost four times during October-February from a year earlier owing to strong global demand. According to the Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA), shipments totalled 14.35 lakh tonnes during the period, compared with 3.65 lakh tonne a year earlier.

“All these are impacting the price of the feed cost which has gone up by 25% in the last one year. We have no room to increase prices further as we may lose customers. We are absorbing the increased price,” said Saraogi.

The SOPA has pegged exports of soymeal at 18 lakh tonnes for the 2020-21 oil year — more than twice the previous year’s 8.6 lakh tonnes.

Saraogi said the government should allow import of soya beans that are not genetically modified seed at zero percent import duty and temporarily stop exports of soya meal to arrest the rise in prices in the domestic market.

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Tagged animal feed, COVID-19, Poultry prices, Solvent Extractors Association of India, soya meal cost, Soybean Processors Association of India

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