January 14, 2004



Taiwanese Chicken Farmers Bemoan At Rising Feed Prices


An eFeedLink Exclusive Report


In the face of soaring soybean and corn prices, many Taiwanese farmers are finding it hard to cope with higher production cost. In Taiwan, chicken feed currently cost nearly (Taiwan Dollar) TWD 9 per kg, significantly raising the production costs of chicken. The gradual rise in prices of US soybean this year has correspondingly led to an upsurge in feed prices. While sympathizing with the chicken farmers' predicament, there is nothing feed millers can do.


According to Mr Lai Demao, Beidou town and Fangyuan villages are the major layer farming districts of Zhanghua county in Taiwan. Some chicken farmers in these areas reflected that the substantial hike in the production costs of layer is a result of the continually rising feed prices, which went up eight times within a year. One kg of chicken feed currently average at TWD 9.


The Ministry of Agriculture is helpless toward the plight of chicken farmers. According to Mr Lin Guoji, head of the Livestock Production Bureau, the continual rise in feed prices are attributed to the poor harvests in soybean-producing regions in the US. Besides, the big procurement of soybean from the US by mainland China has also helped to drive soybean prices further up, consequently jacking up the prices of soy-based feed.


Mr Lin Guoji added that the soaring feed prices are not restricted only to Zhanghua county, but is happening across all the regions in Taiwan. Hence, it is not possible for the Ministry of Agriculture to provide any subsidy to chicken farmers to buy feed; neither is it viable for the Ministry, under the mechanism of a free market, to use its authority to buy chickens from the farmers. Instead, the Ministry considers this as a good opportunity to eliminate the less competitive or traditional chicken farms from the industry and improve the post-WTO competitiveness of chicken farmers.


Mr Lin revealed that in November 2003, the Central Government has invited Taiwan Sugar Corporation (TSC) and livestock producers to a meeting. They came to a decision to procure nearly 50,000 tons of feed and resold these feed at a lower price to chicken farmers, in order to alleviate their burden. He added that corn prices have fallen from TWD 7 per kg to the current TWD 5.90 per kg. If prices of US soybean drop in the near future, the production cost of feed will in turn be lowered. By then, the production costs of chickens could be reduced as well.


US$ 1 = 33.59 Taiwan Dollar

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