What is the future of poultry industry and feed mills?
The poultry industry is one of the most affected industries in the current Corona pandemic situation. As these losses have affected poultry feed production and supply systems, food and nutrition security has also become a concern. The Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC) has set an export target for the industry by 2025. It believes that the huge discrepancy between the production and demand of poultry is an obstacle to the future development of the industry. Most of the raw materials and almost all the feed additives used in poultry feed are imported. During this pandemic situation, prices of these products have risen sharply. Corn and soybean meal are the most widely used raw materials covers 70-80 per cent of the total feed content for poultry feed.
We can easily understand the situation if we review the price increasing trend of maize and soybean meal. Before the Corona situation, the average price of maize per kg in 2019 was 19.70 taka, which increased to Tk. 21.29 and Tk. 23.76 and Tk. 29.70 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. So, the price of maize has increased by about 50 per cent from 2019 to September 2021.
Similarly, the average price of soybean meal has increased from Tk 36.57 to Tk 52.75, with an increase of about 44 per cent. Similarly, due to the complexity of imports and rising prices in the international market, the prices of feed-additives have also gone up. Therefore, reviewing the prices of raw materials and additives shows that the feed production cost of each feed mill has increased by 25-30 per cent in the last three months.
On the other hand, if we look at the feed selling price, broiler feed MRP was Tk 50-51 per kg last June, which is currently Tk 52-53. The price of different layer feeds were Tk 41-46 per kg, which is currently Tk 43-48. That is, the price of broiler feed has increased by 3-4 per cent and the price of layer feed has increased by 4-5 per cent as opposed to 50 per cent increase in price of maize and 44 per cent increase in price of soybean meal.
Again, since feed cost is 65-70 per cent of the production cost of broilers and layers, it is necessary to analyze the production cost of broilers and table eggs. The most surprising thing is that the selling price of broiler chicken in 2011 was Tk. 110, which has now been reduced to Tk. 100. With the increase in feed prices, the production cost of broiler chickens has increased by 9 per cent and layer eggs by 8 per cent at farm level in the last three years. Selling price of broilers increased by 11 per cent and layer eggs by 9 per cent. Although, at present there is no profit in broiler production & some profit in eggs.
Meanwhile, the most alarming thing is the increasing production cost of broilers and layer eggs is not matched with the selling price in the last few years. So the number of small and medium farms is decreasing day by day. In other words, the path of poverty alleviation is also being blocked by the decrease of poultry farms. As a result, farmers are closing down their farms as they are unable to raise the capital with farming.
On the other hand, the feed mills are also facing severe losses and small and medium feed mills are in danger of closing down.
Poultry experts are worried about the future of the poultry industry. In this case, in order to keep the producer (hatchery, feed mill, farms) alive, it is necessary to ensure that the selling price (chick, feed, broiler, egg) is fixed in line with the cost of production. Only then will the poultry and poultry industry survive and it will be possible to ensure food security for the country. So, finally immediate steps need to be taken to change the current situation to protect consumer rights and ensure safe and healthy animal meat supply for all.
Dr Md Anwarul Haque Beg is Chairman, Department of Poultry Science, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka