Although the price of broiler chicken touched Rs 250 per kilogram, farmers said that the high prices are not trickling down to them and only traders are benefitting. (Representational Image/ AFP)
Khammam: Poultry farmers in Khammam and Bhadradri-Kothagudem districts have decided to temporarily suspend production of broiler chicken due to hiked labour costs and increased bird deaths during summer.
Although the price of broiler chicken touched Rs 250 per kilogram, farmers said that the high prices are not trickling down to them and only traders are benefitting.
At present, there are 20 lakh birds across 350 poultries in the two districts, expected to meet the demand for a month.
The districts, considered poultry hubs, produce nearly 25 lakh broiler birds per month. Most poultry farmers have agreements with companies, such as Suguna, Sneha, Venkateshwara Hatcheries and Indian Broilers.
Poultry farmers are paid Rs 3 - Rs 4 per kilogram of broiler chicken by the companies, which also provide additional support and supply bird feed to them. Retailers are given a profit margin of Rs 25 - Rs 35 per kilogram.
In Sattupalli, which houses 115 poultry units, farmers have not been raising new birds for the past 15 days.
K. Dayakar, alias Nani, who runs a poultry farm in Sattupalli, said he has reduced the number of birds from 40,000 to 35,000 at present and plans to reduce it to 25,000 by the next week.
Citing a loss of at least five per cent of chicks during summer, he said, "We will not buy chicks in the next few weeks."
Individual poultry farmers in the district account for nearly 3.2 lakh birds per month.
Sources said that traders will source chicken from other districts if the count falls below the 10 lakh mark, which is the monthly consumption in the two districts. A few traders are also importing birds from Odisha, among other states.
N. Rama Rao, an individual poultry farmer, said, "I lost 200 birds this summer. The price of chicken that has gone above Rs 250 per kilo was of immense benefit to traders than poultry farmers. Traders give farmers a slim margin, when compared to market rates."
Alapati Ramu, a poultry farmer in Aswaraopet, said that farmers should construct poultry units amid coconut or palm groves to keep them cool. "Poultry units should be built facing north and south as east and west-facing units are hit by more sunlight," he said.