To benefit from ongoing changes in lifestyles and eating habits

By the end of this decade, globally, poultry meat is expected to represent 41 per cent of all the protein from meat sources, according to the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2030.
Poultry meat consumption is expected to rise as consumers are attracted due not only to lower prices but also product consistency and adaptability as well as higher protein / lower fat content, the report has said.
While world poultry meat production in 2020 was an estimated 134 million tonnes, the year witnessed pandemic-led demand destruction. However, the sector is expected to recover as incomes begin to recover.
While disease outbreaks, sanitary restrictions and trade policies will impact the evolution and dynamics of the world meat market, interestingly, poultry can respond more quickly to market signals due to shorter production cycles as compared with ruminants, the report pointed out, adding an improvement in genetics, animal health and feeding practices can change quickly.
The Indian poultry industry is poised to benefit from the ongoing changes in lifestyles in general and eating habits in particular. No wonder, the share of organised commercial farms is rising as it is largely modernised and technically improvised.
According to government data, egg production has been rising steadily, having risen from 95 billion in 2017-18 to 105 billion the following year and to 114 billion in 2019-20. Similarly, poultry meat production, too, has been expanding. from 3.7 ml t in 2017-18 it grew to 4.1 ml t the following year, and then on to 4.3 ml t in 2019-20.
Although ambitious, some projections suggest, by 2023, the country may produce 136 billion eggs and 6.2 ml t poultry meat.
The growth of the country’s poultry sector is not going to be without challenges. Volatility in feed prices cannot be wished away. Rising feed costs can potentially raise the overall production costs in a price-sensitive market. So, it may become necessary for the large players to establish backward linkages and produce own feed material like maize and soybean. Using commodity derivatives to hedge feed price risk is another option.
While compliance with food safety norms is critical, to ensure robust and consistent demand growth, it is necessary for the industry to win customer trust, especially through constant communication to educate consumers.
In a country where large-scale vegetarianism is a myth and where 70 per cent of the population is ready and willing to eat meat when made affordable and accessible, the growth potential of the poultry industry is clear.
To tap the potential, all hands in the industry will have to be on the deck. The industry must work out where it wants to be by 2030 and to reach there, estimate the number of birds (layers and broilers) needed, feed requirement, vaccine supplies and investment in processing capacity.
In a nutshell, the poultry industry needs capital investment and must use technology in its operations to bring in greater efficiency in supply chain management and business processes, while building resilience against unforeseen shocks in future.
Source: The Hindu Business Line