Poultry Industry too in doldrums!

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The Forex crisis has already put a red light on many sectors and amongst various ‘victims’of this crisis is the poultry industry. Ceylon Today looked into the current situation of the poultry industry in the face of this crisis.

Sarath Ratnayake, the Chairman of the All Ceylon Egg Producers’ Association, said this situation has seriously affected the large-scale as well as medium and small-scale egg producers.

“In the last few months, an increase in the prices of animal feed and medicine was reported. Along with this, there was a decrease in egg production. And although the large-scale egg producers were able to face this situation in some way, the small and medium scale egg businessmen will face this situation in the future. It was reported that it was impossible to carry on with the business. Many of them had to stop their businesses,” he said.

Speaking to Ceylon Today he said, if this situation continues, there is a possibility that the production of eggs will decrease in the future and at the same time, the price of eggs may increase to some extent.

“We speculate that the price of animal feed may continue to rise. We all know that animal feed is a matter related to the growth of animals. It is with that, that the quantity of eggs that can be produced is determined. If this situation escalates to an unsustainable level, this industry could potentially beatserious risk,” he added.

He also said, the Government should pay special attention to revive the poultry industry, which is collapsing especially due to the Forex crisis otherwise this problem may develop into a huge socio-economic crisis in the near future.

Meanwhile, speaking at a media briefing organised by Sri Lanka Veterinary Association (SLVA) in Colombo last week, Sri Lanka Poultry Forum Chairman Ajith Weerasinghe said the country’s poultry industry with a large number of broiler poultry farms with latest technologies and machineries in particular are struggling to sustain their operations amidst the current crisis.

He also said, fuel shortage and the high prices of animal feed have led this industry into a dark abyss.

“Most of the large-scale poultry farms use modern technologies. All the necessary factors such as temperature, humidity, ventilation is controlled using these new technologies including software. All these operations are crumbling owing to the power crisis. A continuous power supply is vital for these operations. Even though there are power generators in farms, the shortage of fuel has made it a difficult to keep them running. We do not receive enough fuel therefore we cannot manage everything without the basic resources,” he added.

In addition, Weerasinghe noted that producers are struggling to secure loan facilities from Banks due to the USD liquidity shortage.

Gayan Banneheka, a Sales Manager at Hayleys Pvt Ltd mentioned that the sale of their products has decreased significantly and correspondingly their imports have also decreased.

“The price of veterinary products and food has increased. Due to the dollar crisis, there is a shortage of imported goods. In addition, the shortage of necessary raw materials and the need to buy all those materials have put a huge financial burden on the producers. The production cost of an egg has also increased. All this may ultimately lead to an increase in the prices of eggs and other related products,” he said.

In addition to this, he said, the increasing cost of transportation along with the current fuel shortage and other crisis related environment will eventually exacerbate this problem.

“For example, if the cost of transportation is between 5-10 rupees, the price will be determined with that amount in addition to the profit margin. The cost of packaging will also be added. Then the price of an egg would rise sharply,” he said.

He said, as small and medium scale businesses have already collapsed, there is a risk of a reduction in production and if so, it will create a market deficit.

Thus, the risk of collapse of the poultry industry due to the current crisis affects all the people of the country. Hence. the government should take necessary steps to resolve this issue which has adversely affected not only the industry, but also other local business communities affiliated to this industry.

BY Sahan Tennekoon