Chicken prices tumble as holy month begins

July 29, 2017

The Kathmandu Post, 29 July 2017 

Chicken prices in the Kathmandu Valley have fallen 6 percent over the last two weeks, and they are expected to drop further due to the occurrence of the holy month of Srawan (mid-July to mid-August) when most Hindus don’t eat meat. 

Currently, chicken costs Rs300 per kg, down from Rs320 two weeks ago. 

Traders said that demand for the popular meat product had plunged 50 percent to 100 tonnes per day. They expect prices to swell with the onset of the festive season. 

Junga Bahadur BC, president of the Nepal Chicken Sellers Association, said that chicken sales and prices had decreased and the downtrend would likely last two weeks. He added people prefer to eat green vegetables during the holy month. 

Demand for chicken from party palaces and restaurants has also decreased as fewer parties are being held. Rajesh Sharma, owner of Dhading Cold Store at Naya Bazaar, said two to three customers come to his shop to buy chicken daily. He is hopeful that demand will rebound after mid-August.

According to the association, the daily requirement of chicken meat in the Valley amounts to 250 tonnes. Nepal Commercial Poultry Survey 2014-15, prepared by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), shows that commercial chicken meat production in Nepal stands at 114,058 tonnes annually. 

The global average chicken meat consumption is 12 kg per person, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. A Nepali eats 4.1 kg of chicken meat annually. Among South Asian countries, Nepal’s per capita chicken consumption is well above India (2.3 kg) and Bangladesh (1.4 kg), but below Sri Lanka (4.9 kg) and Pakistan (4.3 kg). 

The CBS survey shows that the country’s poultry industry has an annual turnover of Rs33.72 billion and produces chicken meat worth Rs20.52 billion. 

Chickens are produced commercially in 64 districts, and 55,871 people are engaged in the business. According to the survey, 75 percent of commercial chicken producers are making profits. 

Chitwan is the largest producer of chicken in Nepal, followed by Kavre, Dhading, Kathmandu and Kaski districts.  Commercial chicken production started in Nepal in 1974. Between 2004 and 2013, the country saw a large number of farmers shifting to the poultry business.