Building Disease Free Indian Poultry Sector

Poultry farm (aviary) full of white laying hen

One of the major challendes of the Poultry farmers is the diseases and demands caused by it in the sector and this causes huge losses year after year. Disease- free poultry production is the only way to increase farmers’ income.

All India Poultry Breeders Association (AIPBA) organized a webinar on the topic “Building a disease-Free Indian Poultry sector” on 22nd June to discuss the concern of diseases in the poultry sector and problems faced by the stakeholders with the policymakers of the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India. This will ensure better economic returns to farmers.

This webinar was organized to discuss serious issues of the sector and to explore possible solutions to the problem faced by the poultry farmers. Many representatives associated with the poultry sector and from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Government of India, Indian Council of Agriculture Research, and other stakeholders participated in the event.

It was the biggest poultry event in the country, more than 1500 poultry farmers through webinar apps and 3572 poultry farmers through Facebook and YouTube in social media were able to join the discussion and witnessed the discussions between various stakeholders, scientists, and policymakers.

The webinar was hosted and conducted by Mr. Gulrez Alam, Secretary, AIPBA & Director, IB Group.

The opening remarks during the webinar were made by Mr. Bahadur Ali, Chairman, All India Poultry Breeders Association, and Managing Director of IB Group. All the panelists and officers of the Animal Husbandry Department including Dr. Praveen Malik, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Dr. O. P. Choudhary, Joint Secretary (NLM / PC), Shri Upamanyu Basu Joint Secretary (LH) were invited as special guests and all were heartily welcomed by Mr. Bahadur Ali.

While welcoming the guest and the audience, Mr. Bahadur Ali said that the concerns of the farmers should be discussed with the policymakers of the Government of India to overcome the problems of the poultry sector at the earliest. From Dec 2019 onwards the situation remained very difficult for the poultry farmers. He thanked the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India for extending all possible help, yet there are many problems in the sector like the spread of diseases in poultry birds hurting farmers very badly. Today, through these webinar discussions, policymakers, scientists and poultry sector representatives will be able to exchange ideas for a better understanding of the problems of poultry disease and to provide steps towards appropriate solutions.

Welcoming all the participants, Mr. Suresh Chitturi R, Vice President, (AIPBA) said that about 5 million farmers are associated with the poultry sector providing direct and indirect employment to more than 10 million people. The purpose of this association had been to express the voice of poultry farmers to the government and bridge the gap between farmers and government bodies so that the poultry sector can create more employment opportunities. This webinar is very important for poultry because the poultry farmers will be able to put their Problems directly in front of the policymakers and hopefully the proper solutions to the problems will also be discussed.

As a special guest Dr. Praveen Malik, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Govt. of India, while addressing stated that few diseases like Influenza and Mycoplasma in Indian Poultry often trouble the farmers and it is our endeavor that the poultry diseases should be eradicated instead of just controlling it. For this biosecurity, hygiene, and proper waste management must be followed, so that the sector can be saved from unnecessary losses. The poultry sector will have to cooperate with the government, only then will we be able to make the Indian poultry sector disease-free.

By taking forward the subject Dr. O. P. Choudhary, Joint Secretary (NLM/PC) Animal Husbandry Department expressed various steps taken by the government to help poultry farmers and also said that it is very important to develop vaccines following ole standards to avoid disease occurrence. This basic need for the poultry sector must be discussed in detail with probable solutions.

Shri Upamanyu Basu Joint Secretary (LH), Department of Animal Husbandry said that vaccination is very important because it is the most effective way to control any viral disease from the root, but along with vaccination, all the scientific methods and steps should be taken by farmers and poultry sector for maintaining the hygiene, which is important and required for the overall betterment of the sector.

The moderator of the webinar Prof. P.K. Shukla, Dean and Registrar DUVASU Veterinary University, Mathura and former Joint Commissioner, Government of India and Mr. Vijay Sardana Advocate, Techno-legal expert, and Advisor AIPBA conducted the respective technical session’s webinar efficiently.

In panel discussion, “Diseases in Poultry and its impact on Poultry Farming and Farmers’ Income,” leading players of poultry sector participated. Mr. G. B. Sundararajan, MD, Suguna Foods Pvt. Limited said that there are many uncertainties in the poultry sector. The poultry farmer does not know whether he will get the right price or not for his birds the next morning. Due to the rumors about the poultry sector, small farmers suffer the most. The diseases in poultry add to the problems of our growth. The government should do something to end the uncertainty to support poultry farmers.

Raising important issues, Mr. Balram Singh Yadav, MD, Godrej Agrovet Limited said that the poultry sector needs to think from the consumers’ point of view also so that the image of the poultry sector can be further improved. In the last 1-2 years the poultry sector has suffered a loss of about 25-30 thousand crores every year, because whenever any viral outbreak is there, maybe covid or bird flu, it affects our sector the most due to misinformation and lack of consumers education. The poultry sector will have to be made profitable, only then the related infrastructure will be strengthened. Domestically and globally, Indian poultry sector can stand at number one; we just need to work together. This sector can turn around the rural economy of the country.

Talking about the technical aspects, Dr. R.K. Jaiswal, President, IB Group said that in the last few years there has been a rapid spread of viral diseases that cannot be stopped through biosecurity alone. These diseases are economically very harmful. LPAI (low pathogenic avian influenza), is one of the main diseases. Due to this one disease, thousands of farmers have lost crores of rupees and it affects all types of poultry species at a mass scale whether it is broiler, layer, or breeder. There has been massive mortality. Mortality is mainly due to the non-availability of a useful vaccine against this disease. It is a demand from our government that like other countries, early permission for the development or import of useful vaccines in India may be given and the correct antigen may be provided to the vaccine manufacturers by collaborating with NISHAD (National Institute of High – Security Animal Diseases) Bhopal and there should be a mass vaccination done in poultry too in the whole country like Covid vaccination. This will be the first step for the betterment of poultry farmers.

Mr. Paul Gittins, Advisor, Aviagen India, said that biosecurity and proper vaccines are the basic needs of the animal protein sector. Keeping the health of the birds in mind the government should allow the production and vaccination against those diseases so that the poultry sector can be protected from diseases like Avian Influenza etc.

Mr. Gurminder Singh Bisla, President, Broiler Breeders Association North said Avian Influenza is the most damaging disease problem of the poultry sector in North India and said that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the disease. The spread is from migratory birds to poultry birds and there is nothing farmers can do except vaccination. It is also very important to correct the policy for the poultry sector concerning disease control.

Next discussion discussed the “Possible alternatives to reduce the adverse effects of Poultry Diseases and it was moderated by Mr. Vijay Sardana.

To initiate the discussion, Dr. S.K. Garg, former Vice – Chancellor, DUVASU Veterinary University, and Mathura said that the vaccine should be developed after studying the pattern of disease occurrence in the poultry sector in different parts of the country. Government should make such labs that can detect and diagnose these diseases and be able to forecast easily. Talking about the feed used in poultry, the number of antibiotics used by some feed manufacturers should be avoided because they reduce the export quality of meat.

Dr. Suresh S Honappagol former Vice – Chancellor of Karnataka Veterinary University and former Animal Husbandry Commissioner Government of India, said that the poultry sector is well organized but at The time of any emergency, the required data is not available. This hurts the planning process for the poultry sector. There must be a serious effort to collate all data for the poultry sector. For that, a National Poultry Register should be made so that with the help of realistic data, the proper decision can be taken and proper relief can be planned for the poultry farmers whenever necessary.

Dr. Ashok Kumar, ADG ( AH ), ICAR, New Delhi said that we can benefit the sector by using modern technology and by creating more awareness among the farmers about biosecurity and good practices, then only the problems of the poultry sector will be solved.

Talking about disease surveillance, disease diagnostics, and forecasting, Dr. A.K. Tiwari, Director, Central Avian Research Institute Izatnagar, while expressing his views he said that only migratory birds are not responsible for all diseases. With the right research and proper and timely interventions, the diseases of poultry can be prevented. It is necessary to maintain biosecurity and hygiene. Diseases in poultry can be prevented to a great extent by surveillance, diagnostics, and forecasting, this can be done by creating a system in collaboration with the poultry sector.

Dr. N.K. Mahajan Member of Empowered Committee to monitor Animal Health, Animal Husbandry Department and Govt. of India said that broiler, breeder, and layer are all three categories of birds. These viral diseases cause a lot of damage, but to avoid it, giving a lot of antibiotics causes more damage. Vaccination is the only option to avoid this loss, as well as other important points like biosecurity and hygiene should also be taken care of. Mr. Mahajan also said that as per OIE and WHO guidelines a proper certification of vaccination can be helpful even for the exports of poultry, and the Indian poultry sector will be able to grow more through exports.

Making a closing remark, Mr. Jagbir Singh Dhull, President of All India Poultry Breeders Association thanked all the panelists, poultry experts, and farmers for joining the webinar and expressed hope that this discussion will help in making the right policies in the interest of the poultry sector.

All the panelists were unanimous that there should be biosecurity, hygiene and most importantly vaccination in the poultry sector so that the small farmers of our poultry sector can avoid the massive economic loss caused by the disease.

All the officers present from the Animal Husbandry Department also supported this initiative of the Association and said that such a discussion between the government, scientists, stakeholders, and the poultry farmers have taken place for the first time. The officials assured that all the key points of the webinar would be considered for redressal so that the poultry sector and small poultry farmers could be saved from the repeated economic losses every year.

Follow-up activity: Based on the outcome of the webinar All India Poultry Breeders Association (AIPBA) will take up the relevant issues with policymakers to ensure that the development of the poultry sector continues and poultry farmers and related stakeholders like corn farmers and soybean farmers should also continue to benefit from the poultry sector.

Webinar organized by All India Polultry Breeders Association