Chicken prices have seen a significant surge before Eidul Azha, marking a departure from the usual trend where rates typically decline due to lower demand during the festive period.
Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf, the central chairman of the Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA), expressed his astonishment, stating, “In my 35 years of experience, this is the first time that chicken rates have reached a record high before Eid ul Azha.”
The price of live poultry has escalated to Rs560 per kilogram, while clean meat is being sold at Rs820-850 per kilogram. Surprisingly, boneless chicken prices have soared to Rs1,400 per kilogram, surpassing the rate of veal meat (beef) which is priced at Rs1,100-1,200.
Ashraf attributed the crisis to feed shortages and high prices, a concern that the PPA had raised six months earlier. The scarcity was primarily caused by restricted imports of soya bean meal, followed by limitations on opening letters of credit for importing other essential inputs such as vitamins and amino acids required for poultry feed.
“The poultry industry is currently facing a severe shortage of soya bean meal, a crucial component of poultry feed, as we are receiving only 5 to 10 percent of our requirement, primarily from Africa,” stated Mr. Ashraf. He also mentioned that some supplies were entering from Afghanistan through illegal channels, but the quality was questionable.
He further revealed that he had recently met with PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the ongoing poultry crisis.
The shortage of feed and its increased prices have led to a supply imbalance, with only 40% of live broiler birds available in the market. This situation has resulted in price disparities.
In Punjab, the farm rate for live poultry stands at Rs460-470 per kilogram, with an additional Rs32 per kilogram added for transportation charges and retailer profit margins.
Kamal Akhtar Siddiqui, secretary general of the Sindh Poultry Wholesalers Association, highlighted that despite many individuals refraining from sacrificing animals this year, there has been a significant influx of buyers in the market, exacerbating the poultry supply shortage.
Siddiqui remarked, “This is the first time in my professional career that, on the eve of Eid, we are still loading poultry birds onto five vehicles from farms in Tando Mohammad Khan to meet the demand.”
In early June, live bird rates in Karachi ranged from Rs440 to Rs470 per kilogram, with meat available at Rs680 per kilogram.
According to the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), the national average for live poultry rates earlier this month was Rs388-520 per kilogram, compared to Rs416-600 per kilogram a few days ago.
The Economic Survey 2022-23 emphasizes that the poultry sector is a crucial component of Pakistan’s livestock industry, providing employment to over 1.5 million individuals. With a significant investment exceeding Rs1.056 trillion, the industry has demonstrated impressive growth, averaging an annual growth rate of 7.3% over the past decade. Pakistan currently ranks as the 11th-largest poultry producer globally, offering immense potential for future expansion and progress.