Poultry trade sees ray of hope | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 13, 2008

Poultry trade sees ray of hope


A poultry farm at Enayet Bazar in the port city. Photo: STAR

Poultry traders in the port city receive a ray of hope again with the increased sale of eggs and chickens since early this week after the business facing a severe crisis during the last two months due to avian influenza in the region.
But most of the small traders who were forced to shut their farms due to poor trade since middle of last year need government support to resume their business.
While visiting different kitchen markets in the city on Friday and Sunday, sale of chickens and eggs was seen gaining a momentum once again.
Abu Bakar Khan of Hen's Garden at Karnaphuli Market said they used to sell 300 to 400 kilograms of chickens a day before the bird flu outbreak that plummeted to 50kg to 60kg last month.
He said the sale has started increasing significantly since March 6.
Bakar said they have sold 120kg chickens on Friday and the number of customers is increasing gradually though consumption of chicken at functions like marriage is not noteworthy.
A total of 437 broiler farms, 153 layer farms and 10 hatcheries are registered in the district, sources at the District Livestock Office said.
But, the poultry owners said the unofficial number of broiler farms is over 5000 while that of layer farms over 800.
Around 70 per cent of the broiler and layer farms have been shut in the district over the last few months due to price hike of poultry feed and poor business and the bird-flu scare has worsened the situation, sources said.
Traders of seven hatcheries, out of 19, have suspended their business so far, they said.
The poultry industry that has an investment of over Tk 5000 crore in the district had so far incurred a loss of over Tk 500 crore due to bird flu, said Nurul Islam, a member of Poultry Industries Coordination Committee Chittagong unit.
It also rendered some 13,000 people involved with the business jobless, he added.
According to the poultry farm owners,
The situation started worsening since September last year when the prices of different poultry feed like bhutta (maize), Soya meal, different vitamins and mineral items, marked a rise in the international market.
Mohammad Yunus, a layer farm trader, said price of maize has increased to Tk 18 per kg from Tk 10 per kg and soya meal to Tk 37 a kg from Tk 18 to Tk 20 a kg.
Traders said they have suffered much due to low market price of products compared to the production cost.
Nurul Islam, general manager of MM Agha Limited, said they had to sell a day-old-chick (broiler) at Tk 3 against the production cost of Tk 22 over the last few months.
The poultry traders said they had to sell a day-old-layer chick at Tk 2 against the production cost of Tk 20, a one-kg chicken at Tk 75 against Tk 50 and an egg at Tk 3.20 against the production cost of Tk 4.20.
Such a poor business pushed Abdur Rahman to close his 13 farms, including eight broiler farms and five layer farms in the Baluchara area in the city.
Nurul Islam of MM Agha Limited said they usually supply parent chicks to 30 breeding farms throughout the country without any order from them during the last six months.
Besides, they had to suffer a loss of around Tk 5 crore over the last few months due to price hike of feed and other items, he said, adding that the bird flu has only increased the suffering.
Around 32,403 fowls have been culled and 53,570 eggs damaged at eight poultry farms in Chittagong during the bird flu outbreak.
Leaders of the coordination committee urged the government to form a committee to set up new farms and rehabilitate the affected farm owners to start their business anew.

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