The poultry market in Delhi is bracing for major losses as demand for chicken has begun to fall after the government on Wednesday confirmed bird flu cases in the capital. As a consequence, mutton prices may spike.
For poultry suppliers, the timing of the outbreak couldn’t have been worse as their sales had just started picking up after the lull during the Shravan period in July-August.
“As soon as the news spreads, the demand for chicken and eggs is expected to drop by 15-20 per cent with each passing day. The only thing to fall back on is an expected increase in the demand for mutton,” said Nahid Sikander, manager at Super Chicken Bazaar, supplier of chicken and mutton in the city.
The current wholesale rate of chicken ranges between Rs 82 per kilogram and Rs 105 per kg, depending on the size of the hen. Mutton, on the other hand, is being sold at Rs 380 per kg in the wholesale market.
“We can regulate the supply according to the demand in future. But, the real worry is that there will hardly be any takers even for the stock that we already have. So, that too would have to be sold at throw away prices,” said Mohammad Aqeel of Rose Chicken suppliers.
The Ghazipur chicken mandi, one of Asia’s largest livestock market, gets around three lakh chicken daily. But, wholesalers say at the time of bird flu scare the numbers rather tend to increase. “If the vigilance is strong then the trucks would be stopped at the border itself. But, on most days the number of trucks goes up than the daily average as poultry farmers try to get rid of their stock,” said a wholesaler at the mandi.
Khub Chand & Brothers in Connaught Place have curtailed their procurement. “We buy only live chicken. Now that the alert is there, only active chickens are being picked up. Those that look lazy should be avoided. Touching of chicken with naked hands is also being avoided,” said a manager at the store.