Consumer demand for fish and chicken has gone up as people are locked indoors and avoiding eating out, pushing up prices.
“The poultry sector of the country had been severely hit due to the Covid-19 outbreak with myths and misinformation reducing the consumption of chicken and leading to extremely low sales. This forced farmers to cull chicks. They had to face huge financial stress. Now, the supply side has not gone back to the earlier level. Also, these sporadic shutdowns is impacting chicken supply resulting in prices moving up,” said Ramesh Khatri, president of Poultry Federation of India.
Chicken prices, which had come down to Rs 160 -170 per kg a week ago have risen to Rs 210-Rs 220 per kg. “The demand is increasing as people are not going out to eat at hotels and restaurants. They are eating at home. Since eating at home is more affordable than eating out, consumption of chicken is increasing at home,” explained Ranjith Reddy, president, Telangana Poultry Association.
Fish prices too have shot up for consumers as the sporadic shutdowns kept retailers away from the wholesale market. Secretary of Howrah fish market in Bengal, Syed Anwar Maqsood, said “Prices at the wholesale level has not gone up. Since the retailers cannot come to the market, the supply at the local markets has dwindled.”
Fish prices have increased by 10% -20% at the consumer level depending upon the variety and quality of fish.
Suresh Rathode, owner of Suresh Fish Point in Mumbai’s Chembur area, said not only have fish and chicken prices gone up, mutton too has jumped in the city.
“Only a few days back we were selling mutton at a price of Rs 700 per kg. It has now shot up to Rs 900 per kg. Boneless chicken, which was selling at Rs 300 per kg, is now fetching Rs 400 per kg. There is a supply crunch due to spread of coronavirus in certain pockets of Maharshtra, where the movement has been restricted,” Rathode said.
Madan Mohan Maity, general secretary of West Bengal Poultry Federation, said poultry farmers in the state have lost Rs 1,450 crore due to Covid-19 and supercyclone Amphan.
“Their production cost is now hovering around Rs 90-Rs 100 per kg and they are selling it at Rs 127 per kg. If they have to survive, then they cannot sell it at a lower price. So prices at the consumer level have gone up,” he added.