The Bold Voice of J&K

Augmenting Poultry Production in J&K

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Dr. Banarsi Lal

India has great potential in poultry production. This sector plays the significant role in improving the socio-economic conditions of rural masses. Poultry sector forms an important livelihood activity and is helpful for income and employment generation. Agriculture diversification through poultry farming is one of the primary drivers of growth in rural people income. Presently India is the third largest egg producer and the fifth largest broilers producer of in the world. Poultry farming is one of the fastest growing segments in the agricultural sector in India. Every year the demand for the processed chicken meat is increasing at the rate of 15 to 20 per cent. Egg production in the country has increased from 78.48 billion in 2014-15 to 129.60 billion in 2021-22.Egg production in the country is growing at a rate of 7.4 per cent per annum. It has been observed that the production of agricultural crops has been rising at a rate of 1.5 to 2 per cent per annum, eggs and broilers have been rising at a rate of 8 to 10 per cent per annum. The four southern states – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu – account for about 45 per cent of the country’s egg production. The eastern and central regions of India account for about 20 per cent of egg production.
In India backyard poultry rose due to transformation from a backyard activity to a major commercial activity, optimum investments in breeding, hatching, rearing and processing, rearing of descript hybrids such as is Hyaline, Shaver II, Babcock, Chabrown, Chabro, Vanraja, Kadaknath etc., more involvement of private sector and increased scale of operation, more scientific interventions, support from the complementary veterinary health, poultry feed, poultry equipment and poultry processing sectors, growing production of eggs and broilers, increase in manufacture of eggs powder , processed broiler meat essentially to cater to export markets and markets in the urban areas ,exports of poultry products such as eggs, meat, live birds and value-added products such as egg powder and frozen yolk. Around 80 per cent of employment in the poultry sector is generated directly while 20 per cent is created in feed, pharmaceuticals, equipment and other services involved in the poultry sector and cheap source of nutrition. Poultry is the most organised sector in animal agriculture having worth around one lakh crores. The growth is 6-8 per cent in layers and 10-12 per cent in broilers per year against the growth of agriculture as a whole which is around 2.5 per cent. Eggs and chicken are accepted across the nation in almost all the Indian communities and are available at the reasonable prices. There is ample potential to increase the poultry production. Around 100 million people are employed in this industry.
Poultry farming has been obserbed as an emerging industry in the Union Territory of J&K in recent years. This sector is helpful to generate income and employment especially among the rural masses in J&K. Poultry farming is not new in the Union Territory of J&K and it has been practiced for the farmers since the time immemeorial. Most of the backyard poultry production in J&K comprises the indigenous birds. The indigenous poultry birds produce only 60-80 eggs per year and meat production is also very less. Commercial poultry production can be easily boosted in J&K with the introduction of improved varieties of poultry which can lay 160-200 eggs per year and also produce more meat. In J&K poultry farming is emerging an important enterprise and is assisting to create income and employment for the rural youths of J&K. There is an immense potential of poultry farming in J&K. There are numerous examples of successful poultry entrepreneurs in J&K. Government is offering the various incentives to motivate the aspiring poultry farmers of the state. Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) of J&K are imparting training programmes on advance poultry farming to the farmers and are creating interest on poultry farming in J&K. KVK, Reasi has introduced black meat poultry variety namely Kadaknath in the district which is very low in cholesterol (0.73%-1.05%), rich in proteins (25%), vitamins and helpful for the asthmatic and nephritis patients. The meat and eggs of this poultry variety are costly and can help to raise the socio-economic status of the farmers.KVK has also introduced high egg laying birds such as Vanraja, Chabro and Chabrown in Udhampur and Reasi districts. The Front Line Demonstrations (FLDs) laid by KVK, Reasi on Chabro, Kadaknath, Vanraja and Chabrown have significant impact on the income of the farmers. Now many farmers of the area have become the poultry entrepreneurs. KVKs provide the short and skill development trainings courses to the interested farmers of the region.
Poultry farming has an immense potential in the Union Territory of J&K. Due to the strenuous efforts poultry farming is picking up pace in J&K. Number of birds are increasing at an increasing rate. Presently J&K imports about 440 lakh ,day old chicks every year worth about 110 crores. Similarly J&K spends about Rs.473 crores on the import of table eggs every year. The gap between demand and supply of poultry meat and eggs is filled by purchasing the poultry birds and poultry eggs from the other states of the country. According to the recent report, in J&K every year about Rs.1273 crores of meat is imported from the outside the J&K. A little progress has been made on the broiler production in J&K but still efforts are needed for commercial egg laying production in J&K. Some outstanding egg laying poultry strains such as Vanraja, Chabro and Chabrown have been introduced in J&K which have raised hope for mitigating the eggs need in J&K. The cost of quality proteins is increasing rapidly and due to less purchasing power of the farmers their families’ members suffer malnutrition especially of animal protein. The poultry sector can ensure the proper nourishment of the farmers’ families besides income and employment. Poultry birds can increase the income of the farmers as poultry farming requires low inputs, have short gestation period and give better and quick returns.
In the domestic market, the consumption of poultry meat has been low due to many reasons. The main reason is the low purchasing power of people. Only 25 per cent of the population living in urban areas consumes about 75-80 per cent of eggs and poultry meat. The per capita consumption of egg is 100 and poultry meat is 1.2 Kg per person per annum in urban areas. But in rural areas, it is only 15 eggs and 0.15 Kg poultry meat. Egg industry showed an excellent growth in the country due to (a) Egg layer industry large units with millions of birds in one house are coming up (b) 70 per cent of the egg laying birds are in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra & Karnataka. (c) fresh eggs are available at more reasonable costs. There are numerous opportunities in poultry industry in the Union Territory of J&K due to increase in income and employment opportunities for the rural poor and marginal farmers. Cluster farming in rural areas of J&K is possible for enhancing the meat production on the lines of broiler farming in which of 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 “organic chicken” by making their own low-cost organic feeds without chemicals and antibiotics. More retail outlets, mass gathering and creating awareness to home to home about the nutrient values of chicken and eggs is needed. Poultry industry needs good branding system in order to increase the consumption of chicken.
(The writer is Sr. Scientist & Head of KVK, Reasi SKUAST-J).

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