Chicken becomes costlier as hot weather hits outputLower production due to heat stress has pushed up prices. Chicken farmers say the government has not been compensating them for the losses.
Chicken meat has become costlier by 17 percent since last month, reaching Rs450 per kg retail as unusually hot weather hits poultry output. Lower production due to heat stress has pushed up prices, chicken farmers say.
Many places saw record high temperatures this summer as heat waves swept across the country. On June 18, Kapilvastu recorded an all-time high 44.6 degrees Celsius.
Junga Bahadur BC, president of the Poultry Market Management Association, says wholesalers are selling chicken at Rs430 per kg while retailers are charging Rs450 per kg. According to him, the price started climbing from Rs385 per kg a month ago.
“Production has plunged by half,” said BC. He said sales had also shrunk because of the economic slowdown as people have less money in their pockets.
Poultry entrepreneurs say consumption has fallen with most construction projects across the country stalled.
According to the association, Kathmandu Valley has a requirement of 500,000 kg of chicken meat daily.
Besides the heat stress on poultry, a sharp rise in raw material prices has led many chicken farmers to reduce output, the association says.
The price of poultry feed has swelled by 20-25 percent within a year. Feed producers say a 50-kg bag of feed costs about Rs4,200.
Rohan Khadgi, proprietor of Bagdol Fresh Meat Shop in Bagdol, Lalitpur, said he started charging Rs450 per kg from Wednesday as his chicken meat supplier raised the price.
“It has become difficult to get chicken,” said Khadgi. “I used to sell 50-60 kg of chicken meat daily till a few days ago. Sales have now declined to 30-35 kg,” he said. “People are not buying meat.”
Khadgi said his supplier used to bring 1,000 to 1,500 chickens daily until a few weeks ago, now shipments have dropped to 200-250 chickens. “The chicken quality is also not like before,” he said.
Experts say that inflation has forced people to cut down on their spending on proteins.
As per Nepal Rastra Bank, the consumer price index-based inflation increased by 7.44 percent in mid-March this year compared to the same period last year.
Inflation in meat and fish products increased by 3.67 percent.
Poultry entrepreneurs say the mortality rate of poultry has been rising as a result of different diseases, including heat waves. They say that the government has not been paying compensation to the farmers.
“Production generally declines for 2-3 months during the summer. The price will come down as soon as production starts increasing again,” BC said.
"Demand for chicken increases when the price slips below Rs350 per kg. But as soon it crosses Rs400 per kg, demand falls,” said BC, indicating that the economic slowdown has hit everyone.
As per the National Statistics Office, the seasonally adjusted growth rate or the gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter may drop by 0.73 percent.
The negative performance of the economy in the second quarter (mid-October 2022 to mid-January 2023) was triggered by slowed trade and deceleration in the construction and mining sectors. This follows a nearly 0.34 percent drop in the first quarter (mid-July 2022 to mid-October 2022).
According to the Livestock Statistics of Nepal report published by the Department of Livestock, Nepal produced 226,959 tonnes of chicken in 2020-21, compared to the annual production of 40,346 tonnes 10 years ago.