Poultry sector hit as meat-eaters chicken out on coronavirus scare

Poultry sector hit as meat-eaters chicken out on coronavirus scare

A meat-seller sits idle due to a sharp fall in their sales post coronavirus scare in Bathinda.

Sameer Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 22

The sale of poultry products and eggs has declined post Coronavirus scare among residents. The poultry product wholesalers said initially the sale of chicken meat started dipping gradually, but now it there has been witnessed a fall of 50 per cent (retailers witnessed a fall of up to 25 to 30 per cent in sales). Similarly, the sale and prices of eggs have also seen a significant decline. The wholesalers have cited misinformation being circulated on social media platforms regarding the spread of virus as the reason behind the steep fall in sales.

As per poultry product wholesalers, the sale has dipped and even as they have lowered prices, not many customers turn up at meat shops. The sale of chicken meat and eggs has come down and that of goat meat and other non-vegetarian products has witnessed a slight increase.

Balwinder Singh, a poultry product wholesaler who supplies meat products to various eating joints, food outlets and hotels in the city, said, “Our sales have dropped by 50 per cent in the past 15 days. Before coronavirus scare, on an average we used to sell 750 pieces of chicken (one piece contains a packing of approx. 750 gm of meat) on a daily basis but that has dropped to 350 pieces now. Our profit margins have also dipped as even after lowering the prices of chicken meat there was no improvement in sales figures and by that count we have been losing out on profit margins for the meat we have managed to sell in the past two weeks.”

The retail prices of chicken meat have also seen a steep decline which was earlier hovering between Rs 180 and Rs 200 per kg. Now, the rates have dropped to Rs 160 per kg. Similarly, the prices of eggs have also dropped significantly. Earlier, the wholesale price of 100 eggs was Rs 500 earlier, but now it has come down to Rs 350. The prices of mutton or goat meat has touched as high as Rs 450 per kg at a majority of the retail meat shops in the city.

Narinder Soni, owner of a restaurant near the city railway station, said, “Very few customers are placing orders for chicken recipes now. People are apprehensive of catching the virus. The sale of chicken items has dropped significantly, but that of mutton has increased a bit these days. We have observed that customers coming from well-to-do families and others who are aware of the virus are afraid of placing orders of chicken items. We have witnessed approximately 35 percent decline in chicken culinary items in past 20 days.”

A retail meat shop owner at Bibi Wala Chowk said while on average he was selling 80 kg of chicken meat regularly but after the virus scare among city residents he was selling 50 kg to 60 kg of chicken meat for the past few days.

Rahul Khan, a city resident, said, “As there are rumours doing rounds regarding the spread of coronavirus, people are afraid of buying poultry products now. Although many people know that it is due to the rumours and misinformation circulated on social media platforms, but a majority of the people do not want to take risk, therefore are abstaining from buying chicken meat and even eggs.”

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