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 which included Guest of Honour, Mr Amit Saraogi, Managing Director, Anmol Feeds and Mr. Suresh Rayudu Chitturi, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Srinivasa Farms Pvt. Ltd. AND Chairman, International Egg Commission, Prof (Dr.) P K Shukla, Mr. Sanjoy Mukherjee, Ms. Pallavi Mathur Lal, Senior Client Officer, Ipsos in India, Mr. Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO , Mirum India, Dr. Yadu Nandan, Managing Director, Jaika Hospitality Ventures, Ms. Meghal Singh, Founder, Mommy’s Kitchen, Celebrity Chef, Vicky Ratnani and Mr. Bahadur Ali, Founder & Managing Director, IB Group & Mr. Gulrez Alam, Director, IB Group gathered to share insights and discuss 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, lead 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 1-2 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 audience of the conclave, the Guest of Honour, Mr Amit Saraogi, Managing Director, Anmol Feeds, stated, “The poultry industry had run into losses of over INR 26,000 crores 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 per cent. 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 ministry at the Centre and State level and to Shri Giriraj Singh, Hon’ble Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries through the West Bengal Poultry Federation and to the Centre through CII.”
He further 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 o self-regulate the price of day-old chicks between 15-30 rupees for the benefit of farmers.”
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 INR 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 per cent each under the Tariff Rate Quota Scheme to give boost to the poultry industry. Furthermore, the Government has also allowed 3% 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% to the Agricultural GDP and 4.11% to the National GDP which is far below the potential it holds. Poultry contributes INR 1.3lakh crore to the GDP.
In their two-decade old journey Anmol Feeds have strived to change the narrative of the feed industry by bringing in modern cutting edge technologies, innovative practices and policies for improved breeding, feeding, livestock health care, management and trade. The importance of upskilling of farmers has been one of their core objectives, training them to use modern technology for maximum output which can benefit both the farmer and the country at large. With the reverse migration of labours, it will be important to create livelihood and employment for these fellow countrymen. Animal husbandry especially poultry and aquaculture can become a huge source of generating employment and livelihood as investment in these sectors is less compared to the benefits it can give.