Market-driven mismatch in supply and demand has been keeping the broiler prices at unprecedented high levels, which, according to industrialists in the sector, is set to come down by August-September.
On Tuesday, the broilers (live birds) were sold from the farms to the wholesalers in the range of Rs. 97 to Rs. 98 a kg and the prices stood at around Rs.120 to Rs.125 for a kg at the consumer level.
The prices of broilers started soaring high primarily due to a glut in the market experienced during 2012-13 fiscal that was followed by a sudden increase in demand in the last few months exceeding the supply.
Escalation in production costs in the major broiler production cluster of Palladam added to the cause for hike in end prices.
The Palladam cluster, comprising Palladam and its hinterland, contributes to about 55 per cent of the broiler production in Tamil Nadu, according to K. Swathikannan, secretary of Palladam Broiler Coordination Committee.
The high rate prevailing in the market for live birds had been the result of a trail of developments in the broiler production industry since June 2012.
C. R. Selvakumar, a veterinarian-cum-deputy general manager of Venkateswara Hatcheries, who has studied the market fluctuations and trends in detail, told The Hindu that sudden decline in the meat consumption across the State and also in the nearby Kerala due to the drought in 2012-13 affected the viability of the entrepreneurs in the cluster.
“Many of them faced huge losses as the supply outweighed the demand during the second and third quarters of the last fiscal. This is because that the meat consumption among the predominant agrarian population in rural and semi-urban areas of Tamil Nadu came down significantly.
“Consequently, the market prices plummeted even as the production costs went up last fiscal vis-à-vis 2011-12 due to heavy escalation in the prices of feeds and also use of diesel generators during the prolonged hours of load shedding,” he said.
Because of this predicament, the entrepreneurs reduced the production of live birds with the situation continuing grim till January 2013.
“But with the rain and improvement in power generation, the consumption of meat suddenly went up in the last few months. However, the production is yet to pick up at optimal levels as the output of hatcheries can be increased only over a cycle of six to eight months,” Dr. Selvakumar said.
Industrialists like Mr. Swathikannan and market experts feel that the prices at the consumer level would come down by at least Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 by August-September when the supply of birds from the farms reach the normal level.