Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Govt messes up with chicken and egg issue promoting Indian interests

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW):The government has messed up with the chicken and egg problem ignoring the plea of All Ceylon Poultry Traders Association (ACPTA) to reduce the prices of maize and vitamins which are the main food used by poultry farmers.

ACPTA, President Ajith Gunasekara said that nearly 50,000 small and medium scale poultry farmers in the country have already stopped expanding their poultry farms due to the unbearable prices of maize and vitamins in the open market.

He noted there will be a bigger egg shortage in the country soon and this could be avoided if the Government takes immediate action to reduce the prices of maize and vitamins which are the main food used by poultry farmers

Main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentarian Kabir Hashim questioned if Minister of Trade, Nalin Fernando, represented Sri Lankan interests or those of India, for not taking action to promote domestic poultry industry.

The main opposition MP stated the Government has destroyed the domestic poultry industry with its short-sighted policies, and the country and industry will have a heavy price to pay for the sake of cronies.

Pointing to comments by the Trade Minister who had obtained approval to import chicken meat, Hashim said the Government imposes a tax of Rs. 254 on a kilogramme of chicken produced in Sri Lanka, and posed a question to the minister if this same tax is applicable for imports.

“Today, the price of a kilogramme of chicken produced in Sri Lanka is Rs. 1,290. With a retail margin of Rs. 203 per kilogramme the farmer only receives Rs. 833 per kilo.

A kilogramme of imported chicken costs on average USD 2, or Rs. 700. When the retail margin is added, then the price should be Rs. 1,157 if the tax is not applicable. Are we destroying the local poultry industry and the livelihoods of thousands of Sri Lankans for a mere Rs. 113 per kilogramme of chicken,” Hashim questioned.

The MP noted that chicken and egg production in Sri Lanka had dropped drastically this year due to the lack of chicken-feed due to short-sighted policies.

He noted the Government is now busy handing out licenses to parties to import corn in an attempt to boost animal-feed, and questioned the rationale behind the issuing of such licences.

According to Agriculture Ministry statistics in 2021, 80,000 parent animals were imported to Sri Lanka to breed chickens but in 2022, the import of parent animals to Sri Lanka has been reduced to 7000.

This was due to a scarcity of foreign exchange and the suspension of parent animal exports by countries such as India.

The annual production of eggs was between 1000-3000 million and it was dropped to 2934 million in 2021 and 1963 million so far this year.

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