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How Poultry Can Help in Doubling the Farmers Income

Across the world poultry market, India ranks sixth (using FAOSTAT rankings). The domestic poultry industry is the fastest growing segment with a compound growth rate of 18 percent . Poultry meat being the most popular meat in India, it has been receiving significant boost through investments.

Chander Mohan
Hens in the open field
Hens in the open field

Across the world poultry market, India ranks sixth (using FAOSTAT rankings). The domestic poultry industry is the fastest-growing segment with a compound growth rate of 18 percent. Poultry meat is the most popular meat in India, it has been receiving a significant boost through investments. The latest techniques of breeding, hatching, rearing, and processing have transformed the poultry sector tremendously.

The popularization of hybrid poultry breeds, thanks to efforts by both government and private sectors, has brought in more profits. Boiler meat production in India is estimated at about 4.8 million tonnes annually. India's poultry industry, which includes broilers and eggs, is worth $ 12.96 billion annually.

A number of poultry units are functioning in Namakkal District of Tamil Nadu. About 1500 Poultry/Cattle Feed manufacturing units are also in existence. Mostly every poultry unit has put up their own feed manufacturing unit. A few units supply poultry feed to other units also.

Tamil Nadu’s Namakkal is famous for its eggs, and this year, after a gap of eight years, poultry farmers are on an expansion spree, investing as much as ₹600 crore.

The farmers — especially those in Namakkal and adjoining places such as Erode, Rasipuram and Salem — are likely to add nearly one crore (day old) birds this year. Each bird will cost ₹550-600. 

Around 20 new units are likely to be set up but expansion is mainly by existing players. There are around 1,200 egg farmers in the State, said AKP Chinraj, President, Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers’ Association.

The separation of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has helped Tamil Nadu top the egg production charts and the State will consolidate this position due to the expansion. The last expansion happened in 2010-11, but on a smaller scale, he said.

In 2013-14, the feed cost was quite high but the average egg cost was low, resulting in heavy losses to farmers. For instance, between 2013 and 2015, a bag of feed should have yielded 465 eggs per month to break even. However, there was a shortfall of 50-60 eggs.

Farmers lost ₹4-5 per bird per month, he said. However, in 2016-17, the yield per bag was 50-60 eggs more. Today, a farmer makes an additional profit of ₹7 per bird per month. This means a farmer with one lakh birds makes a profit of around ₹7 lakh per month, said Chinraj, who has around 4 lakh birds.

With good profits, farmers are now going in for expansion, which is mostly expanding existing operations. For instance, if a farmer has one lakh birds, he may expand it with another 25,000, he said.

To break even, a minimum of 50,000 birds is required and there are poultries with around 8 lakh birds, he said.

Every day, Tamil Nadu produces 3 crore eggs. This is followed by Andhra Pradesh (2.75 crores), Telangana (2 crores), and Punjab (1 crore), he said.

With Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand offering eggs in noon-meal schemes, the per capita consumption of eggs has risen to 62-63 from less than 50 three years ago, he said. On exports, Chinraj said Namakkal is the biggest exporter of eggs, especially to the Gulf region.

The increase in domestic consumption over the years has made up for the export decline.

However, volumes dropped drastically as Saudi Arabia stopped imports to encourage local poultry farmers. Four years ago, 15-20 containers (each carrying 4.65 lakh eggs) were sent to the Gulf every day but this has dropped to 4-5 containers to countries such as Qatar and Muscat.

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