Heatwave hitting Indian poultry sector

Heatwave conditions in large parts of the country have hit the poultry sector hard, with prices of chicken crashing over the past weeks as farmers offloaded the chicks in the market owing to fear that high temperatures might kill the birds.

Fish prices, on the other hand, increased 10-20% during this period amid supply constraints as ponds, where fish are cultivated, were drying up.

“The heatwave is resulting in a big loss for poultry farmers,” said Bittu Dhanda, President, Poultry Federation of India. “Already, there is overproduction and now the farmers are being forced to sell the chicks due to the heatwave at a price which is much lower. Chicken meat is being sold at a price which is 50% lower than it was in the February-March period.”
Poultry farmers in West Bengal are facing a different crisis.

The prices of dressed chicken have fallen sharply owing to the Assam government’s continued shutting of western borders to poultry from the neighboring state since the first week of March over bird flu fears in Jharkhand. The closure has stopped the movement of poultry meat from West Bengal to all the northeastern states, resulting in the distressed sale of poultry meat.

Poultry farmers from the state said that since the temperature is rising, many are avoiding chicken meat. “Also, there is a fear that chicks will die if this high temperature continues,” said Chandan Das, a poultry farmer from Hooghly district.

Meat production from poultry amounted to 4.78 million tonnes in 2022, contributing about 51.44 percent to the total meat production of 9.29 million tonnes in the country. The volume was 6.86 percent higher than in the previous year.

Fish prices have also been impacted by the heat wave. “The supply side is under strain due to the rising temperature. The ponds where fishes are cultivated are drying up due to this heat. So, the prices are increasing in the market,” said Vijay Samal, a fish cultivator from Odisha.

In West Bengal, fish prices increased 10-20% over the past week and may go up further if the heatwave persists, said experts. Fish cultivators and traders are worried about the Indian Meteorological Department forecast that there will be no dip in temperature in the coming few days, they said.

Source: Economic Times of India