Chicken sales in India have come down over 50 per cent and prices by 70 per cent in the last one month as speculation swirled on social media that chicken causes coronavirus disease, denting both demand and prices, a top Godrej Agrovet official said on Thursday. Godrej Agrovet Managing Director B S Yadav said its poultry arm Godrej Tyson Foods has also taken a beating as sales have dropped sharply by 40 per cent in last one month from 6,00,000 birds a week, he said.
However, once the rumours die down and consumption rises in the next 2-3 months, there would be a shortage of chicken in the country causing sharp rise in prices, he noted.
Yadav also mentioned that the government has issued advisories that coronavirus does not spread from chicken and asked state governments to take action against rumour mongers.
"Chicken is safe in India but rumours on spread of coronavirus from chicken has dented demand sharply in our country by over 50 per cent in just one month and ex-farm gate prices have also fallen by 70 per cent," Yadav told reporters.
Chicken sales have come down to 35 million birds a week from 75 birds a week across the country, while ex-farm gate prices have dropped over 70 per cent to Rs 35 per kg from Rs 100 per kg in last one month although the cost of production is about Rs 75 per kg, he said.
"The entire poultry industry and farmers have been affected because of WhatsApp rumour about coronavirus spread from chicken. The surplus production has build up now which is being disposed at a lesser price," Yadav said.
Godrej Tyson Foods sells both fresh and frozen chicken and value-added products in the brand name 'Real Good Chicken' and 'Yummiez'. The company has two chicken units in the country.
The company is the largest chicken producer in the country followed by Venky's and Suguna Foods.
Yadav also said per capital consumption of chicken in India is at 4.5 kg, lower than the global average of 11 kg. The consumption is highest in Tamil Nadu at 13 kg, while least in states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Besides poultry, the stock exchange listed company Godrej Agrovet is into animal feed, crop protection, oil palm, dairy, and processed foods businesses.