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‘Chicken, egg prices could hype further if issues go unaddressed’

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Small, medium livestock, poultry farms affected worse by current crisis

Small and medium scale livestock, poultry farms face the brunt of the current crisis confronting the shortage of feed material, high prices of feed material, veterinary drugs, vaccines and even fuel shortages, opined Ajith Gunasekara, Chairman, All Island Poultry Producers Association and President-Sri Lanka Association of Animal Production.

Gunasekara said the poultry industry has large scale companies, medium scale farms and small-scale farmers and has been the main and unique income source for a huge number of small-scale farmers, especially in the layer sector and even for a considerable number of ‘broiler and dairy farmers’.

The cattle population of the country is around 1.3 million and produces around 1.2 million liters of milk a day and around 480 million litres of milk is produced annually in the country which is 40% of the island’s requirement. Most of this production is from small-scale and medium scale farms which represent 65% dairy farms.

Gunasekera said they were the group which has been affected largely due to the current crisis. Shortage of feed material, high prices of feed material, veterinary drugs, vaccines and even fuel shortage have very badly affected their operations. This has led to a marked drop in dairy production increasing demand of foreign currency for importation of milk powder.

Already importation of milk powder has been reduced due to lack of foreign currency attributing to the shortage of milk in the market. Prices of imported milk powder have increased three times so far and locally produced liquid milk price also has increased due to shortage and high price of animal feeds, low production, high price of other inputs like packing’s, fuel and the power crises.

Further, the poultry sector also has been affected immensely due to the crisis, a number of small and medium scale farms have been closed due to the lack of feed and high costs involved.

Around 80% of eggs come to the market from these medium small-scale farms, therefore one can observe a huge price increase in eggs and shortage of eggs in retail shops. “Also due to this crisis situation, a number of parent bird producing companies have reduced their production. If this situation continues further, the market would starve, sans products and one could observe a huge price increase. If parent and parent bird producing companies reduce or stop their operations, the industry will not have day-old chicks for layers and broilers to get chicken meat and eggs. Under such a situation, even if the economy returns to normalcy, it will take more than a year to supply eggs and chicken to the market.”



Friday, August 12, 2022 – 01:00

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