Chicken prices rebound as life returns to normal

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Chicken prices rebound as life returns to normal

May 31, 2015-

Chicken prices have rebounded after a sharp drop in the wake of the Great Quake when life was thrown into disarray. Restaurants hurriedly shut their doors and the government also issued a ban against sales of the meat in certain areas which led to a slump in demand and prices.  

Demand has bounced back with people who fled the Kathmandu valley due to constant aftershocks returning to their jobs. Restaurants which are big consumers of poultry products have also started to reopen. Traders said that many chickens perished in the earthquake leading to a fall in supplies and higher prices.

According to the Nepal Chicken Sellers Business Association (NCSBA), the price of chicken meat jumped to Rs250 per kg from Rs230 last week. The NCSBA fixes prices based on supply and demand. It has hiked prices twice this month, by Rs30 per kg on May 15 and by Rs20 per kg on May 30.

“A few weeks ago, demand was very low; but it has started rising gradually. Colleges, schools and restaurants have reopened. So we decided to jack up prices,” said Jung Bahadur BC, president of the NCSBA. He added that supplies were low because poultry farms lacked staff to look after the chicks.

According to the association, supplies have shrunk by 50 percent. The Kathmandu valley consumes 250-300 tonnes of chicken meat daily. “As chicken is a perishable item and we do not have storage facilities, prices fluctuate instantly with a change in supply and demand,” said BC.

Traders said that prices were likely to go up further as the poultry sector had suffered huge losses due to the earthquake. According to the Hatchery Association of Nepal (HAN), 100,000 chicks are being destroyed daily due to lack of proper care. Farmers in Kavre, Chitwan, Dhading, Sindhupalchok, Rasuwa and Nuwakot districts are the hardest hit. These districts account for 40 percent of the total sales in the Kathmandu valley, according to the association.

“The poultry industry is incurring losses amounting to Rs50 million daily as many farmers have had to destroy their chicks or slash prices since many of them have lost their homes and their employees have not returned to work,” said Guna Chandra Bista, president of HAN. He added that a massive drop in prices two weeks ago had increased their losses.

Meanwhile, traders said that they were seeing a rise in demand. “As many people have returned from their homes to the valley, we have been seeing a rise in sales from last week,” said Dan Bahadur Tamang, proprietor of Janata Meat House, Ratopool.

Published: 01-06-2015 08:13

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