The government has announced that the retail price of each egg should not cross Tk12 per piece, but marginal poultry farmers have said they will not be able to sustain their businesses if the price falls below Tk13.
At the same time, the reasonable price of broiler chickens should be Tk230 per kg at the retail level as its production cost is Tk167, said Md Sumon Hawlader, president of the Bangladesh Poultry Association (BPA), yesterday at a press conference organised by the BPA and the egg traders' associations of Tejgaon and Kaptan Bazar.
The authorities have to control the price of day-old chicks and feed to keep the retail price of eggs within Tk12, but they are not doing it. The Department of Livestock Services has become an office of corporations, where marginal farmers are not called in for discussing these issues, alleged Md Sumon Hawlader.
He also said the government is saying the production cost of an egg is Tk10.5, but it is actually Tk10.79 for marginal farmers. The farmers are currently making only 15% profit instead of 30%, and selling eggs at Tk11 per piece to local wholesalers.
If the local wholesalers sell that egg at Tk0.10 profit, city wholesalers at Tk0.30 profit, distributor at Tk0.35 profit, and retailers at Tk0.50 profit, its price reaches Tk12.25. Adding transportation costs and adjusting losses due to broken eggs take the price of each egg to Tk13.05, according to poultry farmers.
Regarding broiler chickens, the poultry farmers said currently their production cost is Tk167 per kg, but they sell it at Tk140 per kg to the wholesalers. However, with 15% profit as per government law, its price should be Tk192 per kg at farm level. As such, the price of broiler chickens should be Tk230 at the consumer level, but currently it sells at Tk178 per kg in the market.
Sumon Hawlader said although marginal farmers occupy 80% of the egg and chicken market, the corporate traders have been syndicating. Members of the Poultry Industry Central Council are involved in this syndicate. When there is high demand for day-old chicks, they increase its price to Tk100 each, but when the demand is low, they reduce it to Tk10.
The corporate traders will have a monopoly if the government halts importing day-old chicks. So, the marginal poultry farmers said the price of a day-old chick with a production cost of Tk27-28 should not exceed Tk40 in any way, he said.