Hit by floods, Kerala poultry business expects revival after Christmas
Christmas, not Easter, will be the resurrection season for Rs 4,000-crore chicken business in Kerala. The price of Christmas poultry has been flying beyond `175 per kilo this week, after the devastating floods in the state in August had wiped out more than 25 lakh farm birds.
“This scene will soon start changing on New Year eve, as farmers come together to set up a project to improve the chicken supply-chain through Brahmagiri Poultry Mission. At `44-crore investment, the project counts on Rs 1,000 crore annual turnover,” says Krishnaprasad, chairman of the Wayanad-based Brahmagiri Development Society (BDS).
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan is slated to inaugurate the poultry mission project in Malappuram on December 30.
“About 250 poultry farms will be in place in four Northern districts by December 30,” MV Santhosh, Administrative Officer, BDS told FE. “Within five years, BDS targets to give livelihood to 20,000 people.” he said.
The state had been gearing up to end its chicken-dependency on Tamil Nadu, when the August floods swamped out its new mushrooming poultry units. “We had been planning to meet 80% of Kerala’s poultry demand by supplying one-day-old chicks to the farmers,” says Nikesh Kiran, programme officer, state animal husbandry department.
It has set up a breeder farm in Pollachi (Tamil Nadu) to hatch 6,000 chicks per day. In the second phase, this farm will be shifted to Palakkad (Kerala).
Although the state consumes chicken worth Rs 4,000 crore every year, about 50% of this was coming from farms in Tamil Nadu. Brahmagiri Poultry Mission initiative is envisaged to replace this sourcing by Rs 1,000 crore.
“By Easter, we’d be able to supply live chicken, within Rs 87-93 per kilo price band and curry-ready chicken within Rs 140-155 price band,” says Annie Kuriakose, who heads a poultry co-operative. On the days close to Christmas, the price of Tamil Nadu-sourced chicken may fly to a high perch in Kerala, she admits.