Chicken prices dip with onset of low season

KATHMANDU, MAR 25 – Chicken prices in the Kathmandu valley have dropped Rs60 per kg over a week bringing smiles to restaurant owners and meat lovers. The poultry product now costs Rs290 per kg, down from Rs350 last week. The procurement price of chicken has also plunged to Rs190 per kg from Rs250.

The Nepal Chicken Sellers Association (NCSA), which fixes prices by checking supply and demand, set the new rate effective from Tuesday citing a rise in supply. “Demand for chicken from restaurants, party venues and caterers has dropped 40-50 percent from last week with the end of the marriage season,” said Shreeya Dhakal, vice-president of NCSA. He added that farmers had been dispatching large quantities of chicken due to a supply glut.

The daily requirement of broiler meat in the valley stands at 250 tonnes during normal times and 300 tonnes during marriage and festival seasons. There has been a significant rise in shipments from major bulk suppliers in Chitwan, Dhading, Kavre, Bhaktapur, Bara, Parsa, Birgunj, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchok and Janakpur, according to the NCSA.

Chicken breeding usually speeds up in the summer season and the mortality rate is lower due to favourable temperatures.

In contrast to the seasonal rise in output, people have a tendency to eat less chicken in the summer, sending down demand 10-15 percent, said traders.

“Last month, we were compelled to hike prices as there was increased demand from party palaces with the onset of the marriage season but supplies were low,” said Dhakal, adding that prices were likely to fall further as there are no scheduled celebrations next month.

“The price will rise after mid-April when the marriage season starts,” he said.

Meanwhile, prices of chicken have been decreasing in Chitwan, Pokhara and a number of Tarai districts. According to Shivram KC, a Chitwan-based poultry farmer and president of the Nepal Egg Producers Association, broiler meat is being sold at Rs305-310 per kg, down from Rs335-340 a week ago.