By A Ramamurthy Raju
10th February 2014
Egg prices, which have spiralled by almost 100 per cent a couple of years back, are stagnant since then in the district thanks to the sops extended by the government to the poultry farmers. The poultry farmers, however, want more support from the government for the business to flourish in the drought-prone district. Some years ago, the survival of the industry itself become a major challenge with escalating prices of fodder like soya bean, maize, corn and others on one hand and the power charges becoming unbearable for the farmers.
The fodder for hen used to be exported from China, South Korea and other places which become a burden on the farmers. Added to this, the government used to levy 2 per cent tax on the profits of the farmers. With the poultry business at the verge of losing its existence, the National Meat and Egg Production Traders took up the issue with the government which initiated some damage control measures.
These include the scrapping of two per cent tax levied on profits of poultry farmers and also allowing the farmers to pay only 25 per cent of electricity bills since January 1, 2014.
Also, zonal level committees were formed for ensuring the prices of eggs and meat (chicken) stagnant. These committees will have members from animal husbandry department as well as poultry farmers. However, the poultry farmers in the district are facing one major problem and that is with respect to providing water to the poultry.
“Solving the water problem and also stabilising the rates of fodder can bring down the prices of eggs further down,’’ G Ramaswamy Naidu of Jai Janani Poultry farm told the Express. The poultry farmers also want that they be considered as other farmers and extended the benefits. “Extending interest free loans to poultry farmers will give us some relief,’’ another poultry farmer K Murali Naidu said. Under the Chittoor zone which covers Chittoor, Anantapur, Nellore and Kadapa, there are 480 poultry farms which produce 52- 60 lakh eggs per day. These eggs are exported to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other States apart from Singapore and Malaysia.
“More sops and benefits should be extended to the industry which is currently distressed. The government should introduce supply of eggs to students in mid-day meal schemes. This will encourage more farmers to come forward to take up poultry farming,’’ Chittoor district NECC Chairman P Madhusudan Reddy said. Presently, poultry farmers are getting Rs 3.30 on an egg and the same is sold to the consumers at `3.60 in the market. New Indian Express