Kolkata: The poultry industry of the country has been an animated topic of discourse during the pandemic which has had a cataclysmic effect on the sector, undergoing incredible losses during the entire lockdown phase. In a recently conducted virtual conclave, experts from diverse backgrounds discussed on the plight of poultry farmers and the industry’s path to recovery.
Poultry prices were ruling firm and the demand looked good in the beginning of the year. However, post the second week of February there was misinformation floating that linked chicken and egg consumption to coronavirus. This scenario, led to surplus stock with farmers during the otherwise peak season of Holi for poultry business. Since the poultry sector was doing well in the past couple of years, people went in for higher placement of birds this year expecting a good demand. Farmers were left with no option but to resort to culling of birds or destroy their produce due to huge drop in demand amidst surplus production and it melted down to impact the cut chicken price in market. Besides inviting huge debt and liquidity crunch for the farmers, this scenario also impacted the allied sectors like feed manufacturers with austere losses in revenues.
Addressing the conclave, Amit Saraogi, Managing Director, Anmol Feeds said, “The poultry industry had run into losses of over Rs 26,000 crore in just three months, owing to misinformation about COVID-19 spreading from the consumption of chicken and a nationwide supply chain and logistics logjam. In addition, the prices of raw materials, primarily soyameal, had gone up by nearly 10-15 percent. More than 70 million small farmers were in deep debt trap owing to severe liquidity crunch and their livelihood was at stake.”
“Anmol Feeds has always advocated the cause of the industry and farmers who ensures the food and nutritional security of the country. We have sent multiple letters to the ministries at the Centre and state levels and to through the West Bengal Poultry Federation and to the Centre through CII,” Saraogi added.
“The integration business model practiced in India is not the correct form. We cannot be in direct competition with farmers. In integration farming, the farmers do not reap much benefit. Real income happens when they are in open farming. Moreover, chick prices vary anywhere between Rs 5 – Rs 55. If bird prices are good in future, open farming will ensure liquidity for farmers. We have always taken a lead stand to ensure their livelihood. I would, therefore, request the industry to self-regulate the price of day-old chicks between 15-30 rupees for the benefit of farmers,” he further added.
The last three months have witnessed a rise in the price of chicken which helped the industry improve. The poultry industry got further relief with the Rs 15,000 crore for Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund announced by the Centre. The government also announced reduction of import duty on maize that allowed the import of 5 lakh MT of maize at a concessional customs duty of 15 percent each under the Tariff Rate Quota Scheme to give boost to the poultry industry. Furthermore, the government has also allowed 3 percent interest subvention for private players to support investment in dairy, poultry and meat processing units. This will encourage more investment in the livestock sector of the country which has the potential to boost the GDP of the country. It will boost growth in rural entrepreneurship followed by wealth creation in rural space. All segments of the agri-economy are inter-reliant and vital links in the process of country’s overall economic development. The livestock sector currently contributes 25.6 percent to the agricultural GDP and 4.11 percent to the national GDP which is far below the potential it holds. Poultry contributes Rs 1.3lakh crore to the GDP, Anmol Feeds has said.
The other speakers Suresh Rayudu Chitturi, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Srinivasa Farms and Chairman, International Egg Commission; Prof (Dr.) PK Shukla, Sanjoy Mukherjee, Pallavi Mathur Lal, Senior Client Officer, Ipsos in India; Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO, Mirum India; Dr. Yadu Nandan, Managing Director, Jaika Hospitality Ventures; Meghal Singh, Founder, Mommy’s Kitchen; Celebrity Chef, Vicky Ratnani; Bahadur Ali, Founder & Managing Director, IB Group and Gulrez Alam, Director, IB Group.