Hatcheries hike price, poultry farmers cry foul

Kathmandu, February 18

Poultry farmers have sought government intervention against ‘arbitrary’ price hike of chicks by hatcheries.

Submitting a memorandum today to the Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection, the Poultry Farmers Struggle Committee demanded that the government take action against black marketing of chicks.

The appeal has come as the Nepal Hatchery Industry Association had destroyed six million eggs over a period of 10 days two months ago in protest against the government for not increasing chicken price in the market. Soon after that chicken price had soared to Rs 450 per kg from Rs 240 per kg.

However, the poultry farmers claim that they are not getting the price for chicken in line with the price hike in the market.

Moreover, the industries have also doubled the price of chicks from Rs 35 to Rs 70 per unit.

According to Bishnu Khadka, coordinator of the committee, NHIA increased the chick price by Rs 30 per unit within one week.

According to him, chick price was raised by five rupees per unit on January 24 to Rs 40 per unit.

The very next day, NHIA set the chick price at Rs 50 per unit.

Then on January 28, the association sold chicks at Rs 60 per unit to farmers and again raised the price to Rs 70 per unit on February 1.

Meanwhile, the NHIA has set the price for live chickens at Rs 243 per kg, but pays farmers only Rs 230 per kg, Khadka added.

“While we have not been paid as per the market price since a long time, hatcheries have again increased the price of chicks, which is not reasonable at all,” he said.

He added that poultry farmers were at risk of going bankrupt.

The committee has accused hatchery industries of making a profit of Rs 105 million within one week just by selling chicks to farmers and alleged nexus between the government and hatcheries.

Rishi Ram Poudel, central senior vice-president of NHIA, however, claimed that the hatcheries were able to recover the losses they had been incurring for many years with the recent price hike.

“The selling price for chicks is Rs 20 more in the valley compared to the rate outside the valley due to dealers’ supply charge,” he explained, arguing that the price hike was reasonable.

Saying that the hatcheries have been receiving the wrath of both the farmers and the government, he said, “If the government can set a reasonable price for poultry products, we are ready to follow its decision.”

Meanwhile, Netra Prasad Subedi, director general of DoCSCP, refuted the claim that the government favoured any one sector.

He added that the department was investigating the issue and would soon take action against wrongdoers.