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MEAT & SEAFOOD

Poultry challenges, opportunities - Climate change affects productivity
Wednesday, 06 March, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Wavhal Nilam and Wakchaure Nitin
Livestock production is a vital activity in rural areas, which provides employment, livelihood and income for farmers and weaker sections of society.

In India, poultry industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the livestock sector. Meat sector plays an important role in India as it not only provides meat and byproducts for human consumption but also contributes towards livelihood security for millions of men and women from weaker sections.

According to estimates of National Accounts Statistics, 2016, and Central Statistical Organisation, Government of India, the value of output from meat sectors at current prices during 2015-16 was Rs 162,429 crore out of which Rs 68,808 is from poultry meat i.e., 42.36% share of the meat sector.

The value of output of livestock sector is showing an increasing trend during the period 2011-12 to 2015-16. The percentage share of value of output for milk, meat and eggs in total value of livestock sector is 66%, 21% and 3% respectively in the year 2015-16 as compared to 67%, 20% and 3% in the base year 2011-12. (Central Statistics Office, Government of India, 2018)

In India, meat and meat products are important in the diet. Meat is highly demanded food due to presence of plentiful proteins and other nutrients. According to the prediction of Delgado  et al (1999), by 2020 the demand for milk will double and that for meat will treble in India.

Worldwide demand for food will increase by 50% and for meat by 85% by 2030 as per World  Bank projection. So meat industry and government must prepare for meeting demand of meat in  the country with long run policies and investments to satisfy ever rising consumer demand,  improve nutritional status, generation of income opportunities and alleviate environment stress.  Government of India has already recognised livestock and poultry as an important sector for the  socio-economic development of the country.


Challenges and Opportunities
Currently in India the poultry sector faces the following challenges- Local consumption of meat is the most neglected sector in India. Meat is slaughtered  in premises leading to contamination from dirt, dust, flies and other pollutants. The image of the  Indian meat industry has suffered due to unhygienic practices. Scientific and modern line for  slaughter of poultry is needed for benefiting livestock producers, processors, finally consumers.


Fluctuation in productivity
Most of the poultry farms are not environmentally controlled houses, except some organised farms. Climate change majorly affects the productivity of poultry. The density of birds in farms have to be kept low during warm weather, which in turn negatively affects productivity per farm. Environment controlled farms will help to improve the productivity, but again it’s difficult to invest on environment-controlled farms for small farmers.

Supply of raw material at constant prize (Soya bean and Maize)
Soya bean and maize contribute maximum share to poultry feed. In India, such raw material availability at constant price is a big issue. Hence to produce economical and nutritious feed as per the increasing demand from poultry industry has become a huge challenge. Higher volume of feed may get at constant prize but in India, most of the poultry producers have small capacity farms.


Quality standards for farm management
There are quality standards in farm management in India prescribed by the industry especially for those farms which supply to ISO-certified processing companies. For export market, APEDA has imposed strict quality standards and regular audits to ensure quality are maintained to international standards. However, small poultry farmers are reluctant to invest in requirements of industry about fencing and disposal pit and so on, because it’s dead investment for them. So, there is scope for government with policies to motivate the small farmers to acquire all quality standards.

Lack of processing facilities
Indian consumers prefer fresh birds which are not processed in clean and hygienic conditions. Department of Veterinary Public Health, Bombay Veterinary College, has prepared a module for poultry slaughter which will be helpful for small butchers to deliver hygienic chicken to consumers. To see this change, government has to take initiatives in regards of policy to build such small setup, as most of the butchers are reluctant to invest in such a setup.


Dependency on live bird, volatility in broiler prices and lack of cold storage facility Poultry meat industry totally depends on live bird availability. The rate of live birds fluctuate as per the availability, season and mortality of live birds. So, most of the chicken processing plants are expanding their own poultry integration to ensure regular supply of raw material at constant price.

In India the consumption of meat comes down due to festivals – Shrawan, Ramzan, Navratri & Ganesh Chathurthi. During this season, prices go down and here industry needs the cold storage to store the processed meat to take the advantage of the situation. Every alternate year country is facing drought problem, resulting the lack of raw material availability and higher prices.

Import of chicken from US
India is the fourth-largest chicken producer after China, Brazil and USA as per the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). The per capita eggs consumption had gone up from 30 to 68 and chicken from 400 gm to 2.5 kg as per 2016 data. Vasant Kumar Shetty, convenor of the All India Broiler Coordination Committee, stated that cheaper American chicken legs will definitely hit the local business by 25%. This will affect poultry as well maize and soybean growers as almost 40% of maize and soybean is used as feed by the industry.


Poultry diseases
In past years, bird flu has been declared more than seven times which requires zoning of the country immediately to minimise scare in the market and allow the exports to recommence. The preventive vaccination in affected zones and surrounding is necessary.

With the branding of eggs and chicken which is already at its initial state is going to make a big difference.

(Wavhal is research fellow, school of public health and zoonoses, and Wakchaure is assistant professor, livestock economics, College of Dairy Science and Technology, Gadvasu, Punjab)
 
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