The industry estimates loss of Tk1200 crore due to the fall of chicken and eggs prices
People have started avoiding consumption of chicken and egg amid the coronavirus outbreak which is resulting in chicken prices dropping by as much as 75%.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, industry insiders said the local poultry industry and related businesses are facing massive financial loss due to the virus outbreak.
The loss is estimated to reach Tk1200 crore by April 9. Meanwhile, around 65 lakh people employed in the poultry industry across the country will also face its impact.
Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC) President Mashiur Rahman told Dhaka Tribune: "The losses will go up to Tk 1700 crore if the crisis prolongs by one more week. The small, medium and large poultry farms will face a huge setback."
"The consumers cannot go to the kitchen markets due to the government-imposed lockdown, significantly bringing down the demand for meat, egg, and other processed food," he said.
Poultry sector insiders say if the current trend continues, 50% of the small farms out of 70,000 farms will be forced to close their businesses, while the medium and large ones would be forced to cut down their production or shut down completely.
The poultry sector entrepreneurs have sought the government's intervention to recover the losses of the country's second-highest job-creating sector.
Apon Rahman, a poultry farmer at Satarkul in Badda area said he is selling eggs produced in his farm in the wholesale market at Tk4-5 each.
On the other hand, chicken is now available at Tk90-100 per kg in retail markets compared to Tk130-150 earlier.
The farm owners said their businesses have been severely affected in the past two weeks.
They claimed that the cost of producing an egg is Tk6. Besides, the production cost of broiler chicken is over Tk90 per kg.
Meanwhile, rumours have circulated on social media linking chicken consumption with coronavirus.
Poultry industry insiders said according to the World Organisation for Animal Health, coronavirus is transmitted through human contact only, and scientists have found no evidence of the virus transmitting from animals to humans or vice-versa.
Squashing the rumours they also said there is no scientific evidence that says coronavirus spreads through consumption of chicken.
According to Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council data, following the detection of coronavirus in the country, production of poultry and fish feeds fell by 75%. The unit price of the Day-One-Chick (DOC) came down to Tk1.0 from the production cost of Tk35 and the sale of processed poultry food declined by 95% since March 20.
Leaders of the Feed Industries Association Bangladesh (FIAB) estimated their losses would be more than Tk80 crore during this crisis.
BPICC President Mashiur Rahman said they were facing another problem in getting the imported raw materials and ingredients at the Chittagong port released, due to country's lone PTRC lab, a testing facility of the products prior to releasing the imported materials, not functioning at Chittagong University.
He said the government must address the local poultry industry that will need policy support and as well as liquidity support for businesses to overcome the current situation.