Following government’s warnings of action, chicken retailers lower prices to Rs 385 per kiloChicken prices shot up to Rs 420 per kilo from Rs 250 per kilo in mid-December due to supply shortages.
However, the traders claimed the prices have fallen due to an increase in the chicken production.
Netra Prasad Subedi, director general at the Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection Management said after analyzing all the factors for the production of chicken, their prices should not be more than Rs 350 per kg.
“The prices need to come down and the department will take action, if traders try to hike the prices artificially,” Subedi said. “We are doing our investigation and once the result comes we will take action against them.”
Chicken was being sold at Rs 250 per kg in mid-December, but its prices had risen to as high as Rs 420 per kg, last week.
Junga Bahadur BC, president of Poultry Market Management Association said a major factor behind the rise in prices was the drop in temperature, which had led to a fall in the chicken production, something that happens almost every year, during winter.
The government was facing criticism from the public for failing to maintain the chicken prices and not taking action against the monopolistic chicken traders as per the provisions in the Consumer Protection Act, 2018.
The association has now set a new price for chicken at Rs 360 per kg, but cold storages are still selling poultry meat at Rs 380-Rs 385 a kg.
BC said the concerned government body needs to do market inspections to bring about a uniformity in prices.
Janak Poudel, president of the Poultry Producers Association, said the farmers should set the prices of chicken, rather than the traders.
“Hatcheries should have discussed with the farmers the pricing and should not have killed six millions chicks and halted their production for 10 days to create an artificial shortage and increase the prices,” Poudel said.
He said on average, it costs farmers Rs 226 to produce a kg of chicken in Chitwan and Rs 240 a kg, in Kathmandu. “The prices should not be more than Rs3 70 for the consumers,” said Poudel.
The Nepal Hatchery Association killed more than 6 million chicks and halted production for 10 days in a bid to pressure the government to increase the prices of eggs and chicken. Poultry entrepreneurs say the farmers break even only when the chicken prices range between Rs 350 and Rs 400 per kg.