KATHMANDU, July 4: The price of chicken in the Kathmandu Valley has escalated by around Rs 150 per kg to cross Rs 400 per kg in the past few months, which the traders blamed on a heavy fall in production during the nationwide lockdown. Along with chicken, the price of eggs has also soared in recent days.
Chicken price used to hover around Rs 250 per kg when the government imposed the lockdown on March 24. In the past three months, sellers have raised the price by 60 percent under the pretext of short supply of one of the largely selling livestock products.
Junga Bahadur BC, president of Nepal Chicken Sellers’ Association, told Republica Online that the meat price has gone up mainly due to the drastic fall in the production caused by the disruption in the transportation during the lockdown. He said many poultry farmers were forced to dump new breeds due to the restrictions imposed by the government during the lockdown period. “It is also an outcome of the wrong policies taken by the district-based authorities barring the movement of the roosters, chicks and poultry feed even when the coronavirus threat was minimal,” BC said.
According to BC, the association has fixed the chicken price at Rs 390 per kg for Saturday, which he claims that their 250 members in the valley based outlets have been following. Despite the claims of the association, many outlets are found to have been selling chicken meat at a price as high as Rs 460 per kg.
In normal condition, the districts like Sindhuli, Makwanpur and Chitwan including a number of areas in Tarai supply an average of 50-60 trucks of live chicken to the Valley that covers around 40 percent of the market demand. The rest of the supplies is maintained by the production in the adjoining locations such as Godavari, Nuwakot, Kavrepalanchowk and Dhading, among others, as per the association.
BC said at present the supply from Tarai has almost come to a halt due to the scanty production there. “So, the local price of chicken in the Tarai even exceeds the prices prevailing in the Valley,” he said.
BC added that chicken price could prevail on the higher side for the next few months. According to him, the new lot of chicks that the farmers have reared after the lockdown was eased will take at least another one and a half months to come to the market.
Apart from chicken, the price of eggs has also gone up to Rs 385 per crate with 30 eggs. The price used to hover around at Rs 320 per crate two months ago. “It has been quite expensive to consume the poultry products that have been serving as the best alternative to goat meat,” said Sudhir Gautam, a resident of Budhanilkantha.
Despite the logic put forward by the traders for the soaring prices of chicken and egg, it cannot be denied that they might have artificially inflated prices of poultry products to earn exorbitant profits. Last February, traders instantaneously reduced the price of chicken to Rs 380 a kg from Rs 420 per kg following government intervention in the market.