LAHORE          -          The poultry industry has asked the government to take serious measures for reduction in production cost as the sector is facing massive losses for the last couple of years mainly due to unprecedented hike in input cost.

These views were expressed by the Pakistan Poultry Association vice chairman Ch Muhammad Fargham while addressing a press conference here at Lahore Press Club.

He said that farmers have lost heavily during last two years while most of the farmers have lost their entire working capital and are at the verge of bankruptcy and if any relief package is not given to the farmers at this stage it will result in to the closure of 40 to 50% of the farms.

He said that the cost of poultry feed has gone upward, reaching the highest level of last 10 years owing to huge depreciation of Rupee against dollar, record high markup rate and continued hike in power and gas tariffs. He said that the outgoing year has proved to be the worst year for poultry industry.

“During last 2 years there has been a gradual increase in the input cost of poultry production whereas, a steep increase has been observed during last two years. This recent escalation in input cost has rendered this business unprofitable for the last one year.”

He said that the industry is passing through a period of heavy financial losses and need an urgent attention to take notice of prevailing situation.

“Being a perishable commodity, farmer is not able to transfer this hike in price to the consumer as the prices are determined by supply demand basis. This high cost of production is also the main detriment in export of poultry products, which makes Pakistan poultry non competitive in export market.”

Replying to a question regarding present trend of poultry rates, he said that poultry rates have not been increased as other kitchen items registered hike in prices during the last 30 years. Poultry products have been resisting inflationary trend, as they never go up as other products register hike in their rates due to high inflation.

He said that farmers community, including poultry farmers, are the most oppressed and vulnerable group, as they cannot fix the rate of their produce according to their cost of production. They are totally dependent on market forces, as against the manufacturers and dealers, who have full authority to set the price of their goods based on cost of production and other duties, he added.

He claimed that most part of the year chicken prices remained less than cost of production. Only for few months in a year, a farmer gets premium which compensates his previous losses that is how the year average price becomes viable for a farmer to continue his work.

He explained there are many factors which have increased the cost of production. One of them is currency devaluation, as the cost of imported poultry medicines and vaccines in dollar terms have increased tremendously.