Faced with huge losses over the past 18 months due to the pandemic, the poultry industry is demanding that the central government authorize the import of shredded genetically modified (GM) soybean seeds for captive farmers’ consumption.
The sector suffers from rising production costs, misinformation about the link between birds and avian influenza outbreaks, COVID-19 restrictions and natural disasters, soaring prices for raw materials such as soybeans (which accounts for 25% of poultry feed) and corn. (which is 25% of poultry feed). is 60%) over the past year only exacerbated the troubles of poultry farmers.
Erosion of working capital
“The COVID-19 outbreak triggered a massive crisis that led to an initial depletion of demand for chicken products due to false news about the link between the virus and poultry products. This caused an unjustified financial crisis and led to the erosion of working capital. Over the past few months, active speculation in soybean contracts for NCDX has worried the sector, ”said K. Vasantkumar, President of the Association of Poultry Breeders and Breeders, Maharashtra.
The association has called on the Center and the state government to adopt non-fiscal and tax incentives that include restructuring urgent loans and additional working capital.
“We urge governments to revise the schedule of unpaid urgent loans, providing an extended period (6-12 months) for loan repayments to prevent farmers from turning into non-performing assets. Given the scale of the financial loss, we are asking governments to provide an interest subsidy of at least 4% for three years and additional working capital loans to cover the increased production costs, ”said Mr. Vasantkumar.
The most important non-financial aspect is the government’s permission to import ground GM soybean seeds for domestic consumption by end users, poultry farmers.
“Given the skyrocketing prices for soybeans, we are asking the government to allow the import of ground GM seeds, at least for a certain period of time, in order to stabilize the raw material market,” he said.
He warned that the increase in soybean processing has led to a sharp increase in the prices of eggs and chicken products in the retail market.
“Chicken and eggs are the only non-vegetarian sources of protein available on the market. But as raw material prices rise, retail chicken prices are skyrocketing, with chicken being sold at £ 250–300 per kg in the retail market. This could lead to an increase in food prices in the country amid the pandemic. ”
In Maharashtra alone, the sector has suffered losses of over Rs 700 crore since the pandemic last March.
“We had a similar situation in 2006 when the first outbreak of avian influenza occurred. During this time, the Indian government announced an interest subsidy and extended the loan to the poultry industry for a limited period, ”said Mr. Vasantkumar.