Slow pace in layer chicken farming may lead to egg price hike | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 03, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 03, 2008

Slow pace in layer chicken farming may lead to egg price hike

A vendor arranges eggs at a store. Poultry industry operators fear stagnation in layer chicken farming may lead to price hike of eggs.Photo: Amran Hossain

When broiler chicken farming marks a slow recovery, layer chicken farming is not picking up amid farmers' worry over the possible return of bird flu disease in the coming winter, according to industry operators.
They fear eggs, one of the nutrition sources, might turn dearer on such worry among the layer chicken farmers seeking ensuring bio-security.
Bio-security is a precaution taken to minimise the risk of introducing an infectious disease into an animal population.
“Layer chicken farmers don't want to take any risk. They are afraid of losses because they think the bird flu disease may return in the winter,” said Kazi Zeeshan Hasan, director in charge of marketing and sales of Kazi Farms, one of the biggest poultry breeders in the country.
Sources said a day-old chick requires over five months to start laying eggs, which means if a farmer starts farming of layer chicken today, he or she will have to wait until October, a month that may experience any outbreak of the avian influenza, or bird flu disease. This time-consuming factor usually results in such unwillingness on the farmers' part to go for layer chicken farming.
The bird flu, which hit the country's Tk 10,000 crore poultry industry early last year, led to the closure of thousands of farms and joblessness of many, with layer chicken farmers hit hard mostly.
According to official estimates, the industry has incurred a loss of over Tk 4,000 crore after the outbreak of bird flu.
However, the sector started regaining on a slow recovery in the demand for meat and eggs as the spread of bird flu disease has declined due to the rise in temperature.
The increased demand for both poultry meat and eggs has also resulted in the rise in the prices of the items, supply of which are scarce.
According to the retail market, broiler chicken was selling yesterday at Tk 122-125 a kg, up from Tk 90 by the end of March. The price of egg also shot up to Tk 22-24 a 'hali' (four pieces) from Tk 16-18 a 'hali' early this year.
“We could have sold all our day-old layer chicks the previous days. Now we have to sit idle with unsold chicks despite the fact that overall production of such an item has nearly halved,” Zeeshan said.
Breeders said they had to lower the day-old layer chicks output gradually due to the fall in the demand. Now the weekly production of day-old layer chicks stands at 3.0-3.5 lakh from 5.0-5.5 lakh a year ago, they added.
“I have lost my interest after facing a huge loss. The views of many are identical,” said BI Siddique, president of Bangladesh Egg Producers Association.
MA Saleque, general secretary of World Poultry Science Association-Bangladesh, said farmers are now more interested to go for broiler chicken farming because they get their return after the broiler ages a month.
“But they have to wait for about six months to get egg from layer chicken,” he said.
Saleque said many farmers who have incurred losses due to the bird flu outbreak are worried that they might face losses again if they start layer chicken farming now.
“If the trend continues, the price of eggs may go up,” he said.

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