According to FAOSTAT, global food production must increase 100% by 2050 to meet the growing global population. India’s population currently ranks second in the world. With its current population base of 1.3 billion people (2014-2015), the country’s population is growing at the rate of 1.22% (2015 estimate). India’s economy is also among the top 10 percent of fast growing global economies. Population, in addition to the rising income and changing consumer preference in terms of food habits has significantly resulted in the growing demand for meat and meat product consumption.
Eggs and chicken has got wider acceptability across different regions, cultures and religions and thus, are the preferred animal protein sources in India when compared to other meat products. Almost 37% of agricultural output growth between 2005 and 2011 came from animal products. (Credit Suisse).
India’s per capita consumption of eggs each year has risen from 28 in 2000 to 62 in 2015 (FAOSTAT). Many Indian vegetarian families in urban areas have begun to accept eggs as a perfect protein source. Chicken consumption is also growing rapidly at around 12% in India, and thus, making the country one of the fastest growing markets (Economic Times). India’s current per capita consumption of poultry meat is estimated at 3.1 kg per year (USDA FAS). Poultry sector’s future also looks bright; considering that as the present younger generation grows up, the acceptability and demand for eggs and chicken meat in the next decades will also rapidly increase. However, the question arises; is India’s poultry industry growing efficiently enough to feed this growing consumer need, and what can be done to further strengthen this industry?
Genetic progress, better and scientific feeding and disease control has contributed to the growth of poultry industry in developing countries like India over the past decade. According to Economic Times Bureau 2014, India is the third largest poultry producer in the world with a production of 3.8 million tonne of poultry meat a year. Additionally, India is also one of the world’s top producers of hen eggs, ranking 2nd in the world with 65,000 million eggs produced per year.
Though the industry is steadily growing at the rate of 8-15% in various segments, the lower agricultural productivity and inconsistent supply of feed raw materials, quality of feed raw materials and drinking water, man power, immune challenges still poses challenge and are major concerns within the poultry industry.
In the developing countries, especially in the densely populated rural areas of Asia, poultry is in direct competition with humans for feed resources. In addition, the growing use of cereals and oilseed to produce ethanol and biodiesel will increase the pressure on the land area used for agriculture – already high as a result of increased population size and urbanization. This will inevitably lead to higher crop prices and subsequently to higher feed costs.
Maize, one of the most important food crops in the world is also a key ingredient in animal feed and is used extensively in industrial products. Increasing demand and production shortfalls in maize supplies have worsened market conditions and contributed to surging prices. Soybean meal, another significant poultry feed ingredient, is also affected with fluctuating price surge due to reduced supply arising from changing climatic conditions as well as the increase demand for exports.
Part of the response to increasing demand and supply shortage has involved bringing new land into cultivation. However area expansion is not a sustainable option and often comes with an environmental cost in terms of increased land degradation.
At present, the industry is already witnessing a tremendous spike in raw material prices. The animal feed industry has been forced to look for and explore the alternate feed ingredients to keep the finished feed prices and animal protein prices as affordable as possible in order to satisfy the consumer needs.
Unlocking the efficiency of feed ingredients is seen as an answer to overcome this challenge. To provide the level of feed demanded to meet the animal protein need, animals may consume different diet in the future compared to today. These different diets/alternative feed ingredients could include co-products, by-products and use of locally available but less digestible feed ingredients. New generation enzymes in addition to precise formulations will help to release more nutrients from convention as well as non-conventional feed ingredients.
Sustainability will become the key and India’s poultry industry is expecting a lot of innovative concepts and programs to moderate the cost of production while maintaining the superior quality of chicken and egg.
Dr. S.P. Vinil, Regional Marketing Manager, Novus International, South Asia and South East Asia Pacific