Hatcheries and feed factories agree to lower their prices from SundayPoultry entrepreneurs had submitted a petition to the government on Tuesday.
President of the Nepal Hatchery Association Tikaram Pokhrel said that the organisation has no hand in fixing the prices, and it is the hatchery owners who do so.
He said that chicks were being sold at Rs70 per bird, and poultry farmers get a commission of Rs10. “No commission will be paid from Sunday, so the chicks will cost Rs60 per bird,” he said.
The National Poultry Entrepreneur Struggle Committee on Tuesday submitted a petition to the department detailing the problems faced by small poultry entrepreneurs and possible solutions to them.
Netra Prasad Subedi, director general of the department, said that the petition had an aggressive tone and lacked logic regarding prices, problems and solutions.
Pokhrel said, "It costs around Rs55 to produce a chick, and hatchery owners have to sell them for Rs60 per bird which gives them a small profit." But poultry entrepreneurs have been claiming that it does not cost more than Rs35 to produce a chick.
According to chicken raisers, hatcheries and feed factories control the market by creating varied associations.
Farmers do not fix the price of chickens, and the feed available in the market is not of good quality, they said. The difficulty of selling chickens is another problem for poultry raisers.
The price and the ingredients used to make the feed are not stated on the packaging. Prices of vaccines, medicines and vitamins are raised arbitrarily, they said.
Subedi said that the high prices of chicks and a drop in the price of chicken meat had dealt a double whammy to poultry farmers.
The price of chicken meat had jumped from Rs280 per kg to Rs400-420 over a week at the beginning of the month. The price dropped to Rs380-385 per kg last week after authorities threatened to take action against the chicken meat sellers for overcharging consumers.
The Commerce Department and the Livestock Service Department have formed a joint three-member team to conduct a study of the cost of producing chicks and feed, said Subedi.
The panel will start work on Monday and the price of chicks will be slashed somehow, he added. The team includes an expert from the related sector.
Banshi Sharma, director general of the Livestock Department, said that the price of chicks should be affordable to poultry entrepreneurs. Saying that Rs70 per bird was too high, he said that the department was ready to cooperate with the Commerce Department and provide an expert to carry out the survey.
It has been nearly a month since the price of chicks started to rise, and poultry entrepreneurs have had to suffer huge losses because the government was slow to act, a chicken raiser said.
“We are compelled to buy chicks at a high price and sell our chickens cheaply,” said Karna Bogati, a poultry farmer at Chunikhel.
Bogati returned from foreign employment three years, and established a poultry farm with his savings. But he is discouraged by the small returns from his enterprise.
The Nepal Hatchery Association killed more than 6 million chicks and halted production for 10 days in the name of a ‘chicks holiday’ in a bid to pressure the government to increase egg and chicken prices.