February 21, 2005

 

 

Bangladesh poultry sector under immense financial strain

 

Still reeling from the effects of the bird flu disaster of 2003, Bangladesh's $833-million poultry industry has been hit by a financial crisis due to declining demand and overproduction.

 

At least 10,000 broiler farms and 50 "doc" (day old chicken) breeding hatcheries across the country have been closed down since the bird flu outbreak in 2003.

 

In the past year, the market price of a doc was about taka 10 (16 cents) as against the previous price of taka 15.

 

The local price of broilers, which fell sharply during 2003, has yet to return to the pre-bird flu level.

 

About 3.5 million people in the country are employed in the poultry sector that adds a value worth some taka 50 billion ($833 million) to the country's GDP.

 

Some breeder hatcheries have allegedly been compounding the situation through excess supply of docs in the market, resulting in huge monetary losses every month for both hatcheries and farmers as the prevailing market prices of docs and broilers are well below the cost of production.

 

According to Moshiur Rahman, secretary of the Bangladesh hatchery association, overproduction of docs by some hatcheries worsened the problem. Every week some 4.5 million docs are produced as against the demand for 3.5 million.

 

In contrast to the excess supply, broiler consumption of the country has now declined to 10,000 tons a week against 12,000 tons on average in 2003, claimed an official of Kazi Farms, a doc-producing hatchery.

 

The wholesale price of one kg of live broiler chicken currently averaged taka 46 (76 cents) against the production cost of taka 51.

 

The market price of the same in 2003 was between taka 55 and 58 before the outbreak of bird flu.

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