Pricey poultry: Rising chicken meat prices – a constant concern for consumers

Some investors have abandoned poultry business, causing prices to surge.

Shamsul Islam March 31, 2017

FAISALABAD: With more than 50% consumption, increase in chicken meat prices is without any doubt a national concern.

A very good example is the recent surge in prices of chicken meat in Faisalabad District, which is sold by poultry sellers and remains unregulated. The consumers are suffering at the hands of poultry sellers who have raised the prices of one kilogramme of chicken meat by 70% in just two weeks.

The price of chicken meat that was Rs170 per kilogramme in the first week of March has now gone up to Rs285 per kilogramme. Due to lack of effective checks on prices, meat merchants are charging exorbitant rates throughout the city. They say the price-hike is a result of shortage of animals.

While speaking to The Express Tribune, a consumer Ahtasham said he used to buy chicken meat twice a month.  He added, “I came to a shop to buy 6 kg of chicken meat but the skyrocketing prices compelled me to buy only 3kg meat.” He said, “I am really shocked how the price can fluctuate and go up within a month in this way.”

Similarly, Muahmmad Ali, a resident of People’s Colony, said the wedding season has ended.  Instead of decrease in chicken meat prices, it has gone up with a huge difference.

He maintained, “In Pakistan, there is a no mechanism of price control and planning.  The government has failed provide a relief to a common man and it is doing nothing to redress their problems.”

A chicken seller Muhammad Usman told The Express Tribune that exorbitant price did not give them benefit. The prices are set by the market committee.  Increase in prices result in the reduction of sales. “I am really worried over reduction of sale for the last some weeks due to surge in the prices.”

He said, “It is tough for me to make both ends meet and to earn the livelihood for my family of seven people who are totally dependent on me.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan Poultry Association General Secretary Saeed Javed Bukahri said the prices are interlinked to the demand and supply. He pointed out last year, many businessmen invested in the poultry sector which resulted in heavy supply of chicken meat. However, the demand was not high that caused the price to decrease.

He said, “Now some investors have abandoned the poultry business that it caused increase in the prices. He hoped the government would overcome the prices in the near future.

In absence of any action by the government, retailers have fixed their own rates depending on markets and areas.

Some have put on display the official price list as a formality to avoid any action by officials, but they are selling the live bird and its meat at their own rate. Retailers usually maintain a difference of Rs100 per kg in prices of live bird and its meat prices, but now they have stopped the practice due to rise in demand.

The retailers blame the poultry stakeholders for continuous rise in prices.

Many retailers said the low rates of poultry usually created doubts in mind of buyers that the bird might be affected by some disease. Higher rates mean that chicken is safe from any disease or virus, they maintained.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2017.


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