Poultry feed manufacturing units in doldrums
Weak demand for poultry products amid Covid pandemic and the lockdown has hit feed manufacturers. According to the industry, the demand for poultry feed has fallen to 25-30%, as farmers are reluctant to raise birds amid huge losses incurred in the past two months.
According to the feed manufacturers, if the subdued demand continues for few more weeks, it will have a drastic effect on them. Many feed plants are likely to face closure, which will put manufacturers in fiscal distress and ultimately hamper the poultry sector, which is already in crisis.
In Punjab and Haryana, there are around 200 poultry feed manufacturers in the MSME sector with many of them having their own farms.
According to them, the outbreak of pandemic has hit the Indian poultry sector hard and the demand has fallen by 50-70%. This has also impacted the prices of feed.
“The Covid threat has created panic among masses and it has significantly affected the sale of poultry products. Despite the industry allaying fears of people, there has been no respite in the uptake of either poultry or feed. Currently, we are operating at 20-30% of our capacity, which is practically not viable,” said Shivam Aggarwal, proprietor, Sanjiv Industries.
The poultry demand is generally high before and after the Holi. The farmers, accordingly, raise more chickens than usual. However, due to the coronavirus crisis, the demand has fallen drastically. The farmers who have already incurred huge losses are reluctant to raise birds, thereby hitting the feed manufacturers.
“The industry is in doldrums. Our feed plants are operating at 20-30% of the installed capacity. In such a scenario, it’s difficult to bear even the fixed costs,” said Mohit Raja, Director, Raja Fat and Feeds.
According to the manufacturers, besides the demand, the price of feed has also decreased by 10-20% per quintal.
“Since the demand is low, the manufacturers are forced to reduce prices,” said Rahul Chauhan, proprietor, Poultry Feed and Supplement. A quintal of feed, which used to fetch around Rs 3,600 earlier, now costs Rs 3,100. The industry has sought government intervention for relief to the poultry sector.
Earlier, Union Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fishing Giriraj Singh had admitted the poultry industry was losing Rs 1,500-2,000 crore daily. Moreover, sales of companies that provide equipment to poultry industry like feeding systems, ventilators and water systems have also decreased in the past one month.