August 4, 2020

Universal Poultry Hatchery Limited nosedives as demand falls


Universal Poultry Hatchery Limited, a large poultry farm in Bangladesh, faces closure due to several difficulties such as a drastic drop in poultry meat demand amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, The Daily Star reported.


This farm was set up on eight acres of land with three three-storied buildings, four tin-shed structures, a large incubator room and office room at Khayertala village in Kaliganj upazila of Jhenidah in 2000, said Arabindu Biswas, manager of the farm.


"Another branch of the farm was made on three acres of land with two large two-storied buildings at nearby Bejpara village in 2011. The two set-ups had a total of 80,000 hens and produced 90,000 to 1,20,000 broiler chickens per week," he said.


Around 150 workers worked at the two farms.


The business was profitable as each broiler sold at BDT60 to BDT65.


But the trade saw a decline since mid-2017 as some people refrained from taking poultry meat following propagation that it carries harmful germs as poultry feed is made from garbage and dirty things.


Lastly the poultry business faced a debacle following the first coronavirus case in the country on March 8, as rumour spread that people should avoid poultry meat because it is a potential carrier of the virus.


Fearing infection, many workers left and now 60 people are serving at the farm. Now the farm at Khayertala village is closed while there are only 30,000 hens at its Bejpara branch, the manager said.


Now each broiler is sold at meagre BDT10 while the average production cost is BDT32. The farm has to spend BDT60 lakh to BDT70 lakh per month but the earning has fallen to BDT30 lakh to BDT35 lakh.


Md Abdul Kader, managing director of the farm, said he invested a total of BDT20 crore for the farm set-ups and he has a loan of BDT8.50 crore, which he took from Islami Bank for the business.


"The government provides subsidy for agriculture. Now we demand subsidy for survival of the poultry industry during the crisis period," he said.


If any dishonest company produces feed from harmful items they should be brought under trial, he added.


Jhenidah livestock officials said the sale of broilers has fallen due to coronavirus pandemic as social functions are not held that much and most of the fast food shops and restaurants remain closed.


However, some varieties of hens like Sonali are still in good demand in the market, they said.