February 18, 2020
Sales of poultry in India have declined due to coronavirus rumours
Industry officials said about US$182 million has been lost in the past three weeks due to rumours on social media blaming chicken for coronavirus, reported Reuters.
Prices of chicken have dropped by half and demand for the meat has fallen significantly. Small poultry farmers have been affected by the loss of sales, with producers for soybean and corn also feeling the pinch as prices for both commodities fell 8% over the past three weeks.
There are only three confirmed coronavirus cases in India. But authorities were forced to publish a statement corroborating the food safety of chicken after rumours of chicken causing coronavirus spread on the WhatsApp platform.
Maharashtra, a state west in India has requested the police to act against those who have spread the rumours.
UddhavAhire, Anand Agro Group chairman said demand has fallen, resulting in a fall of chicken prices from 70 INR (~US$0.98, 1 INR = US$0.014) per kg in January 2020 to 35 INR (~US$0.49). The poultry company is based in Nashik city. Broilers are at about 40 IDR (~US$0.56). per kg, which means farmers are incurring losses.
Prasanna Pedgaonkar, Venky's general manager said the statement from the authorities have eased fears, noting that sales are slowly getting better. Poultry company Venky's has seen its shares drop 20% in January 2020.
Vasant Kumar Shetty, Poultry Breeders Welfare Association president said the industry has been losing 120 million IDR (~US$1.68 million) daily because of the fall in prices.
Industry officials said some poultry farmers have reacted to the crash in prices by lowering production, which may lead to a drop in supplies and increased prices from April 2020.