Kurigram poultry farms stare at closure due to higher cost of production

UNB, Kurigram

Is the heyday for Kurigram poultry farmers coming to an end?
Many of the farmers think so. A lucrative business since 2005 is now losing money. The farmers blame abnormal hike in the prices of poultry feeds, layer chickens and vaccines for their woes apart from the middle men. The Covid-19 pandemic has also hurt the farming.
Consider the tale of Md Dollar, the owner of Dhorola Poultry Farm in Kuti village.
He started his business with 1000 brown layer chickens in 2005 with an investment Tk 5 lakh.
“The business was quite good until 2015/16. That’s why I expanded my business. Currently, I have 20,000 layers in my farm,” he said.
He now regrets the expansion as the business has started going down with prices of feeds and other inputs going up.
“I have to pay Tk 700 more per sack of seeds. The price soared from Tk. 1600 per sack to Tk. 2300,” he said adding that the prices of vaccines also increased.
“Due to the price hike, I am losing Tk 10,000-15,000 per month”, Dollar said.
Mominul Islam, owner of Sadrisshow poultry farm has a similar story to tell.
He has 6,000 layers in his farm. “I have built the infrastructure with a cost of Tk 60/70 lakh for my business. I have borrowed Tk 6 lakh from a local NGO and I pay an instalment of Tk 60,000 per month.”
Islam said he now counts a loss of Tk 30,000 per month. “Even I cannot shut the business as I have invested a huge amount of money,” Mominul added.
Like Mominul and Dollar many others are making losses and staring at closure. Some of them already have shut their business.
Poultry farmers in the area are seeking government incentives to save this industry.
According to sources, over 200 farmer started poultry businesses with private initiatives in the Kurigram district around 2005.
At the beginning, they were happy as the business saw a good profit. But from 2016, Profits tend to decline as the frequent price hike of feed, vaccine, and cockerel.
A huge number of chickens died of cholera as the disruption of electricity during summer. At the same time, the covid-19 pandemic added woes to poultry farmers.
The number of sales declined drastically due to the Covid-19. As a result, the farmers faced huge losses and many farmers were compelled to shut the business. But many of them, who invested money with the bank loan, could not close the business. This actually landed them in serious trouble.
Most of the farms of the district are situated in Fulbaria Upazila. There are almost seventy-four farms in the upazila.
President of Poultry Farms Owners Association Liakot Ali Litu said companies have escalated the prices of chicken feeds, vaccines, and other materials.
“Due to this we are incurring a huge loss. Government should look after the matter”, he said.
Veterinary surgeon of Phulbari upazila Dr Mahmudul Hasan said the main reason for the loss is the continuous price hike of feed. High import rates raw-materials lead to the price rise.
“If they can control the price, they can ensure profit,” he said.
District livestock official Dr Mohammad Hai Sarker said farmers are back to post-Covid production. “We raised the price-hike issue at the meeting of the District Coordination Committee and sought a solution” he said.
He said his office is advising farmers to produce feeds locally to overcome this problem.