High cost of chicks dims World Egg Day celebration
This year’s World Egg Day celebration, established by the International Egg Commission in Vienna, Austria in 1996 and celebrated on every second Friday of October annually, was low keyed. For many poultry farmers, the year 2020 is the worst for them so far.
Many lost their investments due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 as it shut down and crashed market price to an all-time low. Then the high prices of feeds compounded the sad situation as it forced businesses to go down under.
Eggs and day-old-chicks production today has become more expensive because of the variable costs involved. Smallholder farmers have to contend with making little incomes and the consumers are paying more.
The cost of day-old broiler chicks and those between one to three weeks has forced many smallholder farmers out of business across the country.
In periods like this, smallholder farmers raise broilers for sale during the yuletide season but this year, the prices of the chicks have gone up by more than 50 per cent.
Many attribute the rise in the cost of Day-Old-Chicks (DOC) to the high cost of feeds in the market, which rose from N2,700 to N4,300. This is in addition to the cost of vaccines, which has also slightly increased.
This reporter gathered that in Pankshin, Plateau State, the cost of three-week-old broiler chicks is N1,200 per chick as at last Wednesday.
A similar report from Akwanga, Nasarawa State, indicated that the two weeks broiler chicks go for N950 each while three-weeks-old go for N1,300 each.
In Jos, Mrs Na’omi Julius told this reporter on Saturday that the DOC sells for N600, two-week-old chick N1000, and three-week-old chick N1300, adding that the prices are likely to continue the upward trend as demand currently outweighs supply.
These prices, according to those who spoke with Daily Trust, are forcing many farmers to cut the size of their farms or drop production.
“Last year, I bought 45 three-weeks-old chicks at N650 each. But this year, the price has gone up to N1,250, so I decided to buy only 20,” a smallholder farmer, who raises broilers to sell during Christmas, Mr Augustine Ben in Akwanga, told Daily Trust.
He said the cost of feeds in the market was very high so it would be difficult to break even after the final sale, adding “even the vaccine I bought N800 last year is now N1200.
“A bag of starter feed is now N4,300 for brands like Supreme, Vital feeds and Hybrid feed whereas the finishers is sold for N4,250 per bag,” he also lamented.
In Abuja, smallholder farmers like Abubakar Edo, said the prices of DOC and feed this year have left him with no choice but to stop the business.
“If you buy these birds at the current price of N1200 for the three-weeks-old, coupled with the cost of feed, you can hardly make any profit; in fact you are more likely to suffer in vain. How many people even have the money to buy the chicken at N4,000 or M5,000?” he asked.
Dr Ben Eje Ogbaji of Amo Farms explained that the market for DOC broilers is very dynamic, adding that the price usually fluctuated, affected by forces of demand and supply unlike Noiler breed, which is most times, static at N230 per DOC.
He said the farm sold DOC on Mondays and Thursdays, adding that “The price was N500 per chick as at last Thursday.”