Agriculture has always been a primary and one of the most significant activities in India. Presently, agri-business is doing extremely well with poultry farming gradually becoming the fastest growing and most profitable practice in the country. During the past four decades, the Indian poultry industry has transformed at a dramatic rate from age-old backyard farming into a dynamic agribusiness. As per the industry estimates, India produces 2.75 million tons of chicken meat and 65.48 million (2.86 million tons) of hen eggs/year. Furthermore, it employs 3 million people and contributes over Rs.45,416 crores to the Gross National Product.
Given the global scenario, the world poultry meat production is around 104.0 million tons out of which, chicken meat contributes about 87.4 percent while other species include turkey (6.6percent), duck (4.2percent), and geese (2.7percent). On the global front, China occupies the largest stake with 37.6 percent production of hen eggs followed by the USA with 8.5 percent and India with 5.0 percent.
Globally, the demand for organic poultry produce is increasing at an extensive rate and consumers pay a premium price for such eggs and meat. This presents an opportunity to rural farmers to undertake backyard poultry which has immense potential for organic poultry production. Further, due to the high demand for protein-rich food, the farmers can acquire a huge base of health-conscious people across the globe and create a sustainable f low of income.
The productivity of raw feed
The present per-capita availability of eggs is 54, whole chicken meat consumption is 2.2 kg whereas the ICMR recommends the consumption of 180 eggs and 10.8 kg poultry meat per person per annum. This showcases a huge gap between the availability and requirement for which the layer and broiler industry has to be upscaled by 5 and 10 folds, respectively. Considering the projected growth of the industry, it correspondingly depends on the availability of feed ingredients to meet the requirement.
The estimated compound feed demand for the broiler and layer sectors in 2050 will be around 77 million tons, as per the market report. Thus, to meet this burgeoning demand, it becomes necessary to evolve strategies for increasing the productivity of raw feed ingredients, search for newer feed resources, and effective regulation of supplies for sustainable growth of the sector.
Another operation that needs attention to sustain the growth of the poultry industry is bio-security.
It is one of the key factors that contribute to better chicken health while protecting them from biological agents. This is one of the most effective disease management practices that excludes or reduces transmission of disease-causing agents like bacteria, parasites, and viruses, etc. Liberal importation of genetically improved stocks, clustering of commercial farms, and importation of vaccines, inadequate quarantine facilities, etc. offset the balance of biosecurity and threaten the progress of the poultry industry. Taking adequate countermeasures can help farmers in making poultry production profitable.
Stringent supervision and monitoring
Acceptance of processed chicken is on the rise, particularly in the urban markets. With the rise in consumer awareness and the requirement for hygienic and safe food, processing will have a bright future in the poultry industry in the years to come. A few plants for processing eggs have been installed using state of art machinery in some states with an average daily turnover capacity of 0.7 to 0.8 million eggs. Whole egg powder, yolk powder, egg white powder, lysozyme, etc. are being produced under high standards of operation. The raw material production for these plants needs to be managed under strict supervision and monitoring for ensuring acceptability of the final product under international food safety regulations.
Development of backyard poultry
Commercial farms are mostly concentrated in and around the urban and peri-urban areas. Currently, native chickens in rural and tribal areas constitute about 38 percent of the country’s chicken population. However, due to their low productivity (50-60 eggs/year), they contribute only 21 percent to the total egg production. The eggs and meat are sold at a higher price in rural areas than urban areas. Therefore, there is an absolute necessity and adequate scope for the development of backyard poultry in rural and tribal areas, which in turn can contribute substantially to raise the overall per capita availability of eggs/meat.
The present per-capita availability of eggs is 54, whole chicken meat consumption is 2.2 kg whereas the ICMR recommends the consumption of 180 eggs and 10.8 kg poultry meat per person per annum.
Small poultry keepers are capable of more significant contributions to alleviating malnutrition, poverty, and unemployment. Spectacular progress has been made from subsistence to sustainable production systems. In the last 30 years, the Indian backyard population has increased by 16 percent from 60 to 70 million. Additionally, it is a fact that China's 76 percent of total eggs come from rural backyard production. Hence, mass production, as well as production by masses, is the key opportunity for rural farmers to capitalize on and create a sustainable income.
Adoption of technology
Technology adoption plays a major role in making the entire farming process automated and efficient. The adoption of cutting-edge technologies assists conventional practices followed for genetic improvement of birds. Many agri-tech companies are also coming forward to aid farmers in implementing advanced technologies to their practice and obtain faster growth of genetic potential. This results in better and healthy produce, thereby creating a strong income avenue.
Indian poultry farmers face severe competition in the International market enforcing the farmers to lose 15-20percent on exported poultry products due to trade subsidy. Thus, several government schemes in the livestock sector, poultry rearing in villages have topped the importance of farmers’ support. Furthermore, the farmers can focus on entering the quail, duck, and turkey markets as they are getting significant traction in the southern part of the country. Exploring new markets for export potential could result in a significant increase in the poultry farmers’ income.