Coronavirus | Demand for chicken drops by up to 75% in several cities

Despite several reports stating that COVID-19 does not have any effect on animals, poultry businesses across several cities have taken a hit due to rumours on social media. Narender Singh, who runs a shop at Prithviraj Market, said that over the last one week, sales have dropped by 50%.

“Sales, especially in the last one week, have been really low with not even half of the stock being sold. As a result, prices have also come down slightly and now chicken is being sold at ₹180 per kg instead of ₹200,” added Mr. Singh. Business has also hit bigger establishments like Green Chick Chop and Republic of Chicken, said representatives of the respective shops.

Sandeep Singh of Republic of Chicken in South Extension said, “Even though for us prices have not been affected, sales have dipped by nearly 15%-20% since the beginning of this month.”

Mohammad Haroon, a poultry shop owner based in Mayur Vihar said, “In Delhi, it has started hitting with low sales, however, we are hearing that places outside the city has been worse. Over the last one week, since the time, the panic around the COVID-19 began, sales have started slowing down.”

For Ashu Qureshi, who runs a small restaurant Delhi-6 Special in Pasonda area of Ghaziabad, COVID-19 has come as a bad omen.

“We are staring at joblessness. There is 70% fall in business. Chicken business runs on the patronage of Hindu families and they have stopped eating since the rumours spread that eating chicken causes the new flu,” he said.

“The wholesale prices have dropped to around 100 a kg and even less depending on quality but we sign agreements with suppliers which say that for six months we have to buy chicken at ₹160 a kg. Now we can only reduce the quantity, we can’t change the rate,” he said, adding he had a staff of 15 to look after.

Mohd Ilyas of Chicken Supreme Corner echoed, “It is all a creation of WhatsApp messages. During bird flu, similar rumours were spread,” he said. Mr. Ilyas said that the dip in demand for chicken has a spiral effect. “The business of a tea seller that stands in front of our shop has also come down,” he added.

‘Blessing for some’

Mohd Suhaib of Pakeezah Meat Corner at Garima Garden here had a different take. “The dip in prices has come as a blessing for the underprivileged. We are seeing a rush of auto wallahs and daily wagers as now chicken is selling at the price of vegetables. They are not concerned about the rumours,” he said.

Meanwhile, Broilers Breeders Association, North India, Gurbinder Bisla, told The Hindu that the demand for chicken had dropped by around 75% and the prices had also nosedived to around 20 % of the total production cost causing a huge loss to the poultry industry.

“Over the past month, the sale has reduced to around 25% and the prices have also fallen drastically. While the cost of production is around ₹80 per kg, some States have witnessed the sale at ₹12-15 per kg. The price for Tuesday was ₹30 per kg,” said Mr. Bisla, a resident of Haryana’s Jind. He said there were around 15,000 broiler poultry farms in Haryana alone.

Mr. Bisla said that despite clarification by the government that the virus cannot transmit from animals to humans, the rumours have gained ground and the demand had plummeted.

He said that the association was in talks with government officials to provide surplus wheat and rice to poultry farmers at a subsided rate of ₹10 per kg to reduce production cost.

Confirming the trend, an employee at Fresh and Frozen, Vatika Town Square, Sector 83, Gurugram, confirmed that the demand for raw meat, including chicken, mutton, fish and kebab, had decreased by more than 50% over the past five days due to COVID-19 scare, though the baked meat items were still in demand.

However, Sumit, who runs franchise store of “Sardar — A Pure Meat Shop” in Sector 31, Gurugram, said the sales at his shop were not affected. “We cannot do much about the myths being spread on social media about meat consumption, but we have not suffered any fall in demand,” said Mr. Sumit.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 1:56:06 PM |

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