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Hoteliers cry foul as poultry price goes through the roof

Will stop serving chicken dishes if price is not reined in, they say

Hoteliers have said that they will be forced to stop serving chicken dishes if the price of the bird continued to rise, even as hospitality and catering services are picking up momentum after a long hiatus following lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Kerala Hotel and Restaurants’ Association (KHRA) said the rising chicken price apart, the steep increase in cooking gas and spiralling onion price were factors that severely affected their profitability.

Azees Moosa of KHRA said on Wednesday that the price of live chicken had gone up to ₹140 per kg. If one calculated the price of poultry meat, it would be much higher, he added. Smaller hotels are the worst affected because those who took larger quantities of supplies of chicken enjoyed a discount in prices, he said as he called for immediate government intervention to arrest price rise.

Mr. Moosa said the government had intervened on many occasions in the past to control the price of chicken, which is served in most hotels across the State. He also called for strengthening the Kerala Poultry Development Corporation to make its market presence felt.

There are around 45,000 members under the KHRA, with Ernakulam alone accounting for nearly 5,000 members. Most of them serve non-vegetarian dishes, where chicken is a strong favourite, he said.

Kerala State Poultry Development Corporation sources said chicken price had gone up sharply on account of a steep rise in feed. There is shortage of supply of soya, which forms a major ingredient in poultry feed. The price of the ingredient has gone up to around ₹100 a kg from the level of around ₹50 a kg last year. However, sources pointed out that the government had decided to import soya from countries like Brazil, and that supply shortage could be addressed in about two months.

S.K. Naseer of All Kerala Poultry Federation said there was a rise in demand for chicken, as the hospitality sector was being revived and pointed to the rise in the price of poultry feed ingredients like corn as the key reason for the rise in the price of meat. He added that an estimate put the total chicken consumption in the State at around 22 lakh kg per day, and that the bulk of supplies went to hotels and catering businesses.

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