THE high price of poultry feed and rising competition may see one of the largest duck farmers in the country scale down his operation.
Starting from a backyard farm in 1988, Reddy Farms Limited in Vitogo, Lautoka, is today one of the largest suppliers of live and frozen ducks.
But its managing director Bhakt Reddy says the poultry business is not that profitable now compared to a few years ago.
"We started in 1988 as a backyard farm and developed from there. Traditionally we were sugarcane farmers and started duck farming to supplement our sugarcane income," he said
"We process on sight and are halal certified. We sell processed and live ducks and chickens."
Mr Reddy, who received the Prime Minister's Poultry Farmer of the Year Award in 2010, said he maybe forced to scale down his operations because of high feed costs and lower returns.
However, he says he would like to expand his sheep stock for which he will require more land.
"Livestock does not require expensive feed as poultry but good animal husbandry and pasture management are needed.
"The feed price for poultry farming is high and there is more competition now. It's not profitable now compared to the past.
"The feed price has almost doubled in the past five years but the product price hasn't doubled although it has increased a bit.
"It costs between $1600 and $1950 a tonne for feed, and it's the biggest hurdle in poultry farming. We are a small-medium enterprise and we employ seven people from the area in the farm and in the slaughterhouse."
Mr Reddy supplies his products to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and also does gate sales from his farm, which is 10 minutes drive from Lautoka City.
The price of ducks range from $20 to $35 while the chicken price is $15 to $25, depending on the size.
Reddy Farms has about 2000 ducks and 1200 chickens, and it also sells chicks and ducklings.