KATHMANDU, Dec 30: The price of chicken has gone up by Rs 30 per kg to Rs 285 per kg in the domestic market.
Though traders have attributed the price hike to winter days when demands soar but production falls, many say it is due to the protest organized by hatcheries from December 15 to 24.
Hatcheries across the country destroyed around six million chicks during the period which, many say, was aimed at increasing the price of chicken by lowering production.
"We destroyed around six million chicks," said Bika Ram Pokharel, president of Nepal Hatchery Industries Association. "We incurred huge losses. But we were left with no option. We were not even getting return of our investment," he said, adding: "The government is not addressing our demands."
Not only chicken, traders have also raised the price of eggs to Rs 290 per crate (30 units). Similarly, price of mid-sized eggs have been increased to Rs 275 per crate.
Shiva Ram KC, president of Nepal Egg Producers Association, however, said the protest of hatcheries has nothing to do with the rise in egg prices.
Nepal is self-sufficient in poultry products. However, farmers often complain that they are not getting fair prices for their products. The government has even put a ban on poultry imports from India to ensure that Nepal's poultry farmers get better returns. However, consumers say poultry industry players join hands to arbitrarily raise prices.
The new price came into effect from December 26.
“The 10-day strike by hatcheries will disturb production which will eventually be reflected in the prices," Junga Bahadur BC, President of Nepal Chicken Sellers Association. "They showed their reaction as they were not getting even their production cost."
Soaring poultry prices is sure to burn a hole in consumers' pocket. Kalpana Budhathoki, a homemaker from Budhanilkantha, said sudden hike in poultry prices will hamper her budget. "Middle and lower class consumers like me might have to reduce poultry purchase," she added.