Today is the world Egg day

World Egg Day was established at the IEC Vienna 1996 conference when it was decided to celebrate World Egg Day on the second Friday in October each year.

For centuries, eggs have played a major role in feeding families around the globe. They are an unbeatable package when it comes to versatility and top-quality protein at a very affordable price. And they are also an excellent source of choline, essential in memory and brain development. When you factor in convenience and terrific taste, there is just no competition.

Eggs are one of nature’s highest quality sources of protein, and indeed contain many of the key ingredients for life. The proteins contained within eggs are highly important in the development of the brain and muscles, have a key role to play in disease prevention and contribute to general well being.

So I selected this topic to throw some light on our poultry industry.
The silver revolution refers to the period in which the production of eggs was tremendously increased, it was done by the help of Govt. policies, private sector companies like venkys , Suguna , Veterinarians / scientist engaged in poultry profession & innovative poultry farmers poultry sector people of India. Although the transition to commercial poultry farming from backyard poultry farming was started during Late Smt. Indira Gandhi period but the man behind this revolution was none other than Late Dr. BV RAO, The founder of Venkys ,who is also called as father of poultry industry in India. Later on many companies came up and revolutionized this sector resulting in worlds most potential livestock industry providing employment of more than 65 lakhs people n contributing more than 1 % of India’s GDP. The increasing demand for poultry products has transformed poultry production activity into a fullfledged industry from a mere household/backyard activity until recently.

Technological advances have revolutionized the role and the structure of poultry industry in India. The distribution of the poultry population suggests that it is concentrated in some limited pockets. Forty two percent of the total population of poultry is confined to the Southern region, with 22% in the Eastern Region and 20% in Western Region, with only about 16% in the Northern region. Improved poultry breeds account for 59% of the total bird population, contributing with about 89% of the total egg production in the country. The funds allocated for poultry farming development during the various plans are minimal. However, the poultry sector has achieved production goals satisfactorily. The stage of poultry farming development in different states reveals that in most of the states, the poultry sector is still not well developed. Only few states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have significant poultry production.

The study on poultry production cost reveals that feed is the main cost component, followed by other items, such as cost of one-day-old chick, cost of medication and labor cost. The marketing channel is well organized and operates in a fairly competitive environment. The prices in wholesale market, as well as in the retail market, over the years, have increased at a significant rate. The price series correlation in the wholesale and retail market during the period under study remained positive and significantly high, which implies that wholesale and retail markets showed strong integration in the commodity market and the price movements in one market are fully transmitted to other markets

India has 1.3 billion people and the number is growing every year. The focus is on “Development” meaning Good Food, Better Health & Living conditions to everyone. People spend more money on food when they earn more. Healthy food at attractive price will be the issue in focus. Eggs and chicken are accepted by all communities and are available at the most reasonable prices. Within a span of 25 years, the egg production has gone up to 90 billion from few millions and the broiler production has gone to 4.8 million tonne from nowhere. Poultry is the most organised sector in animal agriculture, worth rupees one lakh crores. The growth is 6-8% in layers and 10-12% in broilers per year against the growth of agriculture as a whole which is around 2.5%.

India is the third-largest egg producer after China and USA and the fourth-largest chicken producer after China, Brazil and USA. The per capita eggs consumption has gone up from 30 to 68 and the chicken from 400 gm to 2.5 kg. Human nutritionists recommend 180 eggs & 10 kg chicken per year. Most of the countries consume over 240 eggs and 20 kg of chicken. There is scope for enhancing the production. Production is getting more organised and move ahead of consumption resulting in optimum prices and with minimum profits.

Eggs and chicken were “agriculture produce” few years ago but are “food items” today. Safe food is very important. Besides maintaining his production efficiency, the producer has to concentrate on the nutritive values, the adulterants and contaminants of his produce. The ministry of food processing industries, Centre for Science and Environment and food inspection authorities started keeping track of eggs and chicken.

Poultry Production has three segments:

1. Layers Industry (Eggs)

2. Broilers

3. Backyard / Family Production (Both eggs and chicken)

Layer Industry (Eggs)

The small layer units are becoming unviable. Large units with million birds and 100,000 birds in one house are coming up. Some 70% of the layer birds were in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra & Karnataka in south and only Punjab in the north. The eggs were transported to other states. More production units are coming up in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar now. North-Eastern states are planning production units to get fresh eggs at more reasonable costs saving time and money on transport.

  • Larger units go for bulk purchases, seasonal purchases at harvest and even go for import of feed ingredients. The production costs can be managed.
  • Mechanisation in feed production, feeding the birds & egg handling is possible with larger units.
  • Long distance supplies, exports & further processing can be planned with mass production.
  • Larger units can adopt better technology like least cost feed formulations & biosecurity protocols to prevent diseases.
  • The eggs in supermarkets will be graded, cleaned, well packed & labelled for the nutritive value & “use before date.
  • Promotion of egg consumption in mid-day meal schemes, hospitals will boost the demand.
  • Shell eggs & egg products, like pasteurised and processed liquid eggs have good markets in many countries like the Middle-East and Japan. We have to enhance the quality standards to meet the requirement of those countries.

These large houses with mechanisation require huge investments. The cost of finance is a large part of production cost of an egg. Social issues around the large farm units like manure handling, labour availability and environment pollution are putting a limit on expansions.

Growth of the industry can be appreciated by following figures

Parameter 1990 2015
Layer birds (crore) 10 24
Layer feed price (Rs) 12 22
Egg price (Rs) 1.5 2.90
Eggs per head/ year 20 68
Eggs per hen 260 310
Average layer farm size 20000 200000
Separate brooding 10% 80%
Feed automation 10% 80%
Small eggs discount Nil Discounted
Eggs cleaning & packing No Imp

The price of feed is increasing. The egg prices also increase but at a low pace. The gap is being met with efficiency in production

Feed & Egg Prices

India has developed its own systems of housing & management, which are most cost-effective. The hens are happy in the hands of the Indian farmers and both of them are doing good job in filling up the food needs. The shell eggs are cheapest in India, though the inputs cost is not the lowest. It is due to improved efficiencies achieved by the farmers by producing more eggs per hen housed at low input costs.

Broiler Industry

Broiler bird was not known in India till 1975. Chicken was “spent hens” or male birds. The commercial broiler chicks ready in 60 days, more efficient with tender meat started coming as separate entity after 1975. The hatcheries imported the parents and the grandparents of the hybrid broilers. The breeding operations started in Delhi and later shifted to South India. Movement of parent stock, hatching eggs, day-old chicks initiated the broiler growing everywhere. The hatcheries sold day-old chicks to farmers who raised them and sold to traders. Live broilers became a separate food entity in 10 years. Live broilers are not transported for long distances.

Tremendous technical work has gone in to broiler production in the fields of genetics, nutrition, breeder management, hatchery management, housing and disease management. The broiler growing period has gradually come down to less than 40 days from 60 days.

More broiler growers and improved efficiencies have changed the shape of the industry. Feed (65%) and chicks (25%) account for 90% of the broiler inputs and the consolidation started in the production. There is a wide gap between the economics of the smaller units purchasing feed & chicks and the ones using their own feed & chicks. Big companies with larger investments came in and the smaller units compromised on growing the broilers for the company, restricting themselves to the 10% of the production cost. This synergy in the form of “Contract Farming” is an excellent development that took place in India. Farmers with small land-holding find growing broilers on “All-in-All-out” basis for a company, in a poultry house built on the land is giving better and assured returns compared to agriculture which is more nature-dependent and uncertain.

  • The genetic improvement by selective breeding is giving consistent improvement in broiler growth and feed efficiency. 0.75 days reduction and 75 gm less feed per kg of chicken every year.
  • The large feed mills adopting feed production technology is making safe and efficient feeds at the best prices possible. They concentrate on procurement of materials on the basis of quality and price.
  • Parent breeder & hatchery management is producing healthy chicks.
  • “All-in-All-out” rearing is giving excellent results. 2 kg broilers produced on 36 days with 1.5 kg feed per kg chicken with less than 3% mortality are being achieved on low- cost open houses reared by ordinary farmers.
  • The companies are reaching the housewife directly to supply the chicken, cutting down the middlemen.
  • Some companies are in for further processing and value addition to reach the consumer with “Fast Food,” offering them the best food at the best price. 
  • Fewer companies with branded products will be competing in “Safe Food” initiatives. 
  • Export markets can be effectively tapped with international quality standards at the larger units.
  • Investment in cold chain will come to move the products safely from surplus areas to scarce areas, which will stabilise the markets. This is essential part of export also.
  • The Middle-East Arabian countries still import large quantities of chicken. India has a good opportunity in these markets.

Growth in broiler industry

Parameters 1990 2015
Broiler parents housed (cr) 0.7 3.5
Broilers/month (crore) 5 25
Broiler feed price (Rs/kg) 20 30
Chicken per head (kg) 0.4 2.5
Broiler price/kg live (Rs) 25 65
Broiler integration 0% 60%
Broiler FCR 2.2 1.65
Days to slaughter (2 kg) 48 38
Multi-age group farms 90% 10%
Chicken processing 1% 7%
Antibiotics issue Nil 50%

The feed & chicken price go up. The chicken prices move very slowly. The gap is being met with efficiency in production.

Backyard / Family Production (Both eggs and chicken)

  • India has 60% rural population depending on agriculture. Poultry has been there in the backyards of most of the houses since ages, forming a part of nutrition and family income. At one time, 30% of the eggs produced were in the backyards. The birds available there were never improved and were inefficient for both eggs and meat production.
  • Grains, fruits, flowers, vegetables & milk are all produced by the small farmers. Even the products are marketed by the farmers directly in weekly village markets and “Collection Centres” established by government or companies.
  • The government started encouraging the backyard poultry. Improved varieties “Low technology input birds” are bred for this purpose, which are genetically more efficient in production compared to “Native chicken.” The low technology input birds are mostly dual purpose. The birds grow faster than native chicken reaching 1.5 kg weight in 45 days but can withstand variable feed qualities and also supplement themselves by scavenging. The female birds lay 160 eggs against the native birds, which are broody & do not lay more than 60 per year.
  • “Mother Units” are being encouraged to take care of the brooding & vaccination in the early part of growing (first four weeks) before they are distributed. This ensures disease security.
  • “Cluster farming” in rural areas is possible with these chicken for enhancing the meat production in the lines of broiler farming.
  • A group of 8 to 10 farmers or educated youth can form a cluster and grow the birds in groups of 500 to 1,000 birds in low-cost houses as done in broilers. The birds are grown in “All in All out” basis and the producer works by himself.
  • The group can graduate in to “organic chicken” by making their own low-cost feeds without chemicals and antibiotics. The cluster can market the birds in local village mandis or supply them to supermarkets with a brand name.
  • The slow growing multicoloured chicken with tougher meat fetch better price compared to broilers whose meat is becoming tender every year. This area is developing as a “niche market” with better returns.

  • “Family laying units” with no specific investment on large houses, bank finance & labour on the lines of milk production are being attempted in many states to augment the egg production.

  • Mother units grow the pullets up to 15 weeks and complete all the vaccinations before supply to the beneficiaries.
  • 25 to 500 birds can be kept in the same cattle shed with cages installed with nipple drinking system. The unit requires less water and the poultry manure can be used for agriculture lands. Once established, feed manufacturing companies will supply the layer feed like the cattle feed.
  • Eggs are less perishable than milk. Need not be rushed to the market. Eggs can be supplied to village schools for midday meal schemes and hospitals without involving transportation.
    Brown colour, sturdy layer type birds, laying 300 eggs and more are being considered for “Family Laying Units.” States like Kerala have adopted this system as an “alternative system” of egg production to commercial poultry.

Poultry Inputs Situation in India

Poultry production is conversion of vegetable protein to more balanced animal protein. So far, India has reached poultry feed requirement of 32 million metric tonne (MMT) per year.

  • The grain requirement is 65%, say 20 MMT. India produces 24 MMT of maize alone. The industry, drifted from only maize to rice polish, and other grains based on availability. 2016 is the first year where the industry is looking at import of grains. Information of fluctuating prices & market accessibility & commercialisation of feed production is driving large feed factories towards global markets.
  • The soya production also has been growing steadily in Central India. The industry shifted automatically from fish meal to soya. With production of 11MMT+ of soya seed per year, the livestock industry can get its required 7MMT of de-oiled soya within the country. Due to exports, Minimum Support Price to farmers on seed and hoarding, the prices of this commodity has been high for poultry. Government is allowing soya imports without import duty. Large feed mills and poultry producers may opt for bidding in global markets. Other cakes like sunflower, mustard, and guar are also used. 5.00 MMT of cotton seed cake which goes for cattlefeed also is being processed to suit broilers. Dried distillery grain products are another alternative stimulated by the attitude of the soya industry.
  • Amino acids and vitamins are largely imported either as raw materials or as feed additives. Major and trace minerals are available in the country.
  • The international market for vaccines is very competitive. Vaccine production companies in India are doing well due to occasional bans on imports and due to need of autogenous vaccine. Some of the vaccines are also being exported.

Poultry Exports from India

The final food products eggs and chicken are not exported in huge quantities. There is a huge gap in production and need within the country. The food markets in affluent countries are very quality- and price-sensitive. The prices realised in outside markets by competing with larger players like Brazil and USA have not been very attractive. The situation may continue for some more time. There are other poultry-related exports which are possible.

  • The poultry in the European Union and Americas (both north and south) is stagnant. Their exports are slowing down because all importing countries started their own productions.
  • Asia has been a target market for the EU and Americas for a long time. Asian poultry has recorded the fastest growth during last two decades and is planning for exports after meeting domestic demand. Thailand and China are into exports already.
  • Oil-rich Middle-East is still happy importing the final products which is easier than importing all the inputs like chicks, feed, machinery and labour. 
  • Africa is the growth area in poultry for the next two decades. Africa has favourable climate, agriculture-based economy, huge working population and deficient in production.
  • India has a great opportunity to export many things in poultry to Africa. India has Breeding Research in poultry and developed birds (breeds) suitable for open houses, which can take lower quality feed and resist lower level infections. They can prove better for Africa.
  • India produces the best quality hatching eggs which can be exported to the Middle-East and Africa. Hatchery is a better option to start with, before going in for breeding stocks. This involves mostly airlifting of eggs and liasoning. APEDA, which is created for this purpose, is not helping much.
  • Production technology adopted in India involves less investments on low-cost housing, encourages more manual labour, and less dependence on consistent power supply are valuable for developing African nations.
  • Poultry equipment, feed additives, vaccines & pharmaceuticals have a good potential for exports.

    The threat of import of chicken legs from USA is looming large on Indian poultry industry. USA is doggedly pursuing the export of chicken legs by using WTO.

  • The imports, if commenced, will disturb the Indian farming community to a great extent.
  • It is unfair to say that farmers are suffering in USA. Only multinational corporate companies operate in USA and there are no farmers.
  • In India, broiler rearing alone is a food giver for 100,000 families.
  • USA is trying to encash on the price gap between the breast meat and leg meat in USA. They get paid four times higher price for 30% of the breast meat and the legs are “Offal” for them.
  • They accumulate the small quantities of legs for years and want to dump on India, which is basically unethical.
  • Policy makers of India should put all out efforts to stop this unreasonable attempt by USA. They are working behind the shield of WTO playing politics.
  • As of today, USA is reeling under out breaks of “High Pathogenic Avian Influenza.” They are unlikely to come out of it with their massive units on stamping out only. Our politicians and policy-makers should watch out for the possibility of this dumping and prevent it.

Poultry Development In India

The stage of poultry farming in different states / UTs was examined by constructing developmental indices on parameters such as layer parent stock, number of improved birds relative to the total poultry population, number of hatcheries (both in private and public sector), and performance (i.e., number of eggs produced/year).This technique was used to build indices for major poultry producing states/UTs in the country. The Poultry Development Index was constructed for the major poultry producing states of Indian Union.The states were classified in ascending order of WPDI. This implies that the state with the lowest WPDI was the first mentioned and so on. Assam & N.E. States were found in first place in the order, i.e., poultry farming is the least developed in these states, followed by Bihar,Jharkhand , and Himachal Pradesh, etc. Andhra Pradesh , Telangana presented the most developed poultry production in India. 

India has almost doubled its meat consumption during the past decade spurred by domestic economic growth and consumption dynamics. Still, the average Indian only consumes about 4.5 kg (10 pounds) of meat per year, reflecting the country’s low-income status and preference for non-animal protein sources. Poultry occupies a crucial place in India and chicken is the most widely accepted meat in India – helped by religious taboos around beef and pork. Many Indian families in urban areas have begun to accept eggs as a regular supplementary part of their vegetarian diet. The domestic demand for poultry meat and eggs in India is expected to continue to grow at a brisk pace. A key factor under-pinning India’s poultry industry is the availability of animal feed, particularly maize. Maize production in India is expanding and changing rapidly in response to the growth in the poultry industry. Meanwhile, maize value chains are growing more sophisticated and their changing structure provides investment opportunities for public and private sector actors. Maize thereby helps drive India’s agricultural and economic growth especially through its role as feed for the flourishing poultry industry.

An appropriate institutional and policy environment should enable India’s poultry revolution to continue into the future – with due attention for feed market development and the environment. India’s poultry revolution has already made its mark on global poultry production and trade. The overwhelming majority of the demand in India was and will continue to be met by domestic production – whereby traditional poultry exporters such as the United States and Brazil have largely missed out on India’s burgeoning poultry market. Furthermore, India is likely to become a more important player on the export market especially in the Middle East and thereby presents an emerging competitor in the global poultry trade arena

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