TN poultry farmers in dire straits after chicken prices fall due to rains

The poultry farmers of Tamil Nadu who used to supply chicken and eggs in large volumes to south Indian states of Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka are in dire straits as the price of broiler chicken has come down drastically.

The chicken prices which were pegged at 123 per kg in June, 133 in July, 116 in August, and 120 in September, touched Rs 110 and finally Rs 100 in October. However, now the chicken prices have come down to as low as Rs 72 per kg leading to the misery of poultry farmers who are rearing the fowl in large quantities.

Sumesh Gopalan, a poultry farmer in Coimbatore told IANS, "Sales have plummeted to Rs 72 per kg and we cannot afford this as we incur more expenses on the present rate. I will have to shut shop as I have more than sixty employees working in my farm which sell more than 25,000 chickens a week."

Farmers attribute the drop in prices to heavy rains leading to the breakage of roads and transportation becoming a nightmare. Most of the chickens are not being able to be transported to the neighbouring states and the increase of chicken in the farms leads to more expenses and less revenue.

Another major reason is the Krithiga month when people turn religious and put the sacred beads and take one month to forty five days penance for the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala. The Ayyappa devotees shed their non-vegetarian food habits and this has affected the sale of chicken, too.

Purandaranathan, a poultry farm owner while speaking to IANS from Palladam in Tiruppur district said, "The chickens usually take soya and maize and the price of both these commodities have gone up. Coupled with this, the chicken loads are not being able to be transported as roads are broken down and incessant rains are continuing like hell. The lack of transportation has doubled our woes as we will have to feed the chicken that is not transported and we don't get money as this is not delivered. We are in a tricky situation and I will have to rethink the future business strategy."

Apart from major poultry farmers, small-time shops that sell chicken are also facing the heat. Murugesan, a chicken shop owner at Erode told IANS, "I used to sell 30 to 50 chickens a day and each used to weigh three to four kg. Not I am hardly selling five to ten as the Sabarimala season is on and people have turned vegetarians. Also, the stock has depleted due to lack of supply and poultry farmers inform that transporting is not possible due to roads not in good condition."

Palladam in western Tamil Nadu is considered the hub of chicken business in the state and there are more than 5,000 farms operating in this area only.

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