Tarai unrest and India’s trade embargo on Nepal have added to the woes of the Chitwan-based poultry farmers who were yet to recover from the impact of the April 25 earthquake.
Amid transportation disturbances as a result of crippling fuel shortages, the costs of feeds and medicines skyrocketed, resulting in losses. The blockade was lifted last week, but the farmers say it would take a long time for them to recover from the losses.
Ram Mani Thapaliya, proprietor of Jems Poultry Farm at Belsi, Ratnanagar-3, has 30,000 layer chickens in his farm spread over a bigha of land. His farm produces 65-70 packs of eggs daily. A pack has 210 eggs. “I have already incurred a loss of Rs10 million,” he said, adding the impact of the blockade was greater for the producers compared to that for suppliers.
According to Thapaliya, a layer chicken, which needs 110-120 grams of feed daily, becomes ready for laying eggs after 18-20 weeks. “We have to invest Rs700-750 on a chick before it is ready to lay eggs,” he said, adding his total investment stood at Rs30 million.
Thapaliya lamented the impact of the blockade was bigger than that of the earthquake as more than 90 percent of chicken feed is imported from India. During the blockade, the farmers imported the feeds paying four times higher the actual cost through Dhangadhi and Biratnagar border points. “The cost of delivering the eggs to the market also soared due to transportation problems,” he said.
Another farmer Rupeseh Tiwari from Madhavpur, Ratnanagar-15, said the shortage of chicken feeds and increase in delivery costs hit the farmers hard.
Tiwari, who has 4,500 chickens in his farm, said he has incurred a loss of Rs700,000. Initially a jobholder at a non-government organisation, Tiwari started poultry business seven years ago. He complained he had to take loans worth Rs1.5 million at an interest rate of 24 percent per annum just to survive in the business.
The lifting of blockade has relieved the farmers as feed prices have started to come down, according to Shiv Ram KC, president of Nepal Egg Producers’ Association.
As the farmers suffered huge losses over the period, he demanded the government announce relief packages for the farmers.
Source: The Kathmandu Post