Kazi Farms, one of the largest poultry farms in the country, claims that the eggs and chicken they produce are free of antibiotics. However, when asked, they failed to produce lab test evidence supporting this claim.
Moreover, when asked to explain the reason behind an abrupt price hike of their poultry products in August, the farm asked for more time at a hearing at the Bangladesh Competition Commission in the capital on Monday.
After an abrupt price hike threatened the stability of the country’s poultry market in August, Bangladesh Competition Commission filed 12 cases based on the reports of the National Consumer Rights Protection Directorate and various media reports by conducting market raids.
Two such cases were filed against Kazi Farms. The hearing of the cases was conducted Monday, where Kazi Farms Director Kazi Zahin Hasan and two lawyers participated. The hearing commenced by reading out the charges against Kazi Farms.
In August, the demand for eggs did not rise, nor did the production drop significantly. Yet, the price of each egg rose abruptly by Tk 2.7 in the middle of August. The price of chicken also went up by Tk 30-40 per kg. Bangladesh Competition Commission Chairman Md Mofizul Islam asked Kazi Farms what had happened at that time to justify such a price hike.
In response, Kazi Farms first refuted the claim that they could influence the market as their share in the poultry market is merely 3-4 per cent. Market influence is further made impossible by the fact that poultry is perishable good that cannot be stockpiled.
Kazi Farms explained that the eggs and chickens they produce are sold by auction on a daily basis. They start the auction by taking the market price as the base price.
As the reason for the recent poultry price hike, Kazi farms listed reasons such as the recent increase in import duty of feed ingredients, dollar price hike, and increase in transport costs.
However, they could not show the cost of production of eggs and chicken. They also did not have the information about last month’s auction price.
Regarding the price of the farm’s poultry always being slightly costlier than others in the market, the commission’s chairman asked whether they add any special value to the products which justifies the extra price.
To this question, Kazi Farms answered that they do not add any significant value other than packaging the products. However, they claimed that their poultry is produced in a completely hygienic and sterile environment. They also refrain from giving their chickens antibiotics, so the eggs of the farm are different from all others.
When the time came to prove this claim, the farm could not follow through. They could not present any lab report as evidence that their poultry is antibiotic-free. They conduct the quality control of these products by themselves, and the Ministry of Fisheries And Livestock does not conduct any monitoring in this regard.
At the end of the hearing, Kazi Farms asked for two weeks to provide their explanation on these issues after reviewing the production cost and auction information. They also asked for a copy of the report and a copy of the complaint.
Bangladesh Competition Commission rescheduled the hearing on October 6 and asked the farm to provide 8 types of information in written form then, including the justification of the abnormal price hike and three months’ information on production, sales, sales price, etc.