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Chicken prices spike as wedding season starts

Kathmandu, April 18, 2016: Chicken prices have rebounded with the start of the wedding season after a sharp fall last month. Demand has increased significantly while supply remains stable, the National Chicken Sellers Association said.

A week ago, poultry meat was being sold at Rs240-250 per kg. Now the retail price has been hiked to Rs290 citing limited shipments.

People have been eating more chicken since the start of the New Year. Party palaces have jacked up orders as the wedding season gets underway. Moreover, consumption has increased significantly along with the occurrence of sacred rituals and festivals.

“We have raised prices slightly in line with the stable supply and increasing demand due to the start of the marriage season, festivals and the reopening of some school hostels,” said Shreeya Dhakal, vice-president of the association. “The overall demand has also increased 20-30 percent and supply is also likely to go up.”

The total consumption of chicken meat in the Kathmandu Valley amounts to 300-400 tonnes per day. Most of the chicken comes from poultry farms in Kabhre, Dhading, Nuwakot, Lalitpur and other districts near Kathmandu.

“Distributors have not yet received large orders, but as the season goes underway, orders will swell and so too will prices because of limited production,” Dhakal added.

“The poultry sector is getting back on track after suffering huge losses in the previous year. Production shrank 50 percent during the Tarai unrest, but the situation has improved and output is up 20 percent. However, that might not suffice to fulfil increasing demand,” said Junga Bahadur BC, president of the Nepal Hatchery Association. “Retail sales have remained stable but wholesale sales have gone up.”

Meanwhile, egg prices are also likely to shoot up this month, the Nepal Egg Producers’ Association said. Currently, egg prices stand at Rs10 per unit and Rs280 per crate.

“Prices are likely to increase amid a drop in production,” said Shiva Ram KC, president of the association. “Production dries up during the summer, and it has fallen 15-20 percent this month. Prices might see a slight increase in the next two-three weeks.”

The total supply of eggs throughout the country stands at 2.1 million units per day. However, due to losses suffered during the Tarai unrest, egg producers are currently unable to supply more than 1.8 million units daily. Deliveries are expected to fall further this month amid reports of a decline in production.