Free trade policy should be introduced for Feed raw materials

Well, the Indian poultry industry is growing at a CAGR of @ 6 percent, while the oil meal production in India is either constant or declining. What have you to say about this?
Yes, poultry has emerged as one of the fastest growing segments of the agriculture sector. Broiler production has shown a growth at a CAGR of @ 8 percent which is fastest in the world, where as the world average growth is 2%.
Oil meal production in India is almost constant for during last decade. The demand for oil meals is increasing by about 8% for use in poultry as well as cattle feeds. India is currently self-sufficient in oil meal production with the exception of sunflower cake (imported about 5 lakh tons from Ukraine and Russia). Low oil seed production and increased demand for oil meal will result in net importer of protein meal. Added to this global oil meal production is on a rising trend and there is a declining price of oil meals which favours the import of oil meals. Still, this could be an area of concern for the Indian oil industry, farmers and crushers since it is exposed to global price challenges.
Technology has been playing a major role in the development of Poultry industry elsewhere as well as in India. Could you please elaborate a little bit about emerging technologies for Indian feed industry?
The feed industry is critical for sustainable food security of our country. Keeping this in mind, the Indian feed industry has adopted new technologies such as: Pelleting of feed to global standard, pre-cleaning of grains before storing in silos, raw material driers, auto batching system etc. One key aspect which needs improvement is focus on feed safety. Consumers are becoming more selective in purchasing meat, milk and eggs and they want to know exactly what medicines, supplements and raw materials go into the animals they consume. Consumers see the feed mill as an integral part in the food chain and influencing human diet.
The unpredictable price rise of feed raw material is of major concern for the growth of Indian Poultry/ feed industry. What could you suggest so that the industry should tackle this challenge?
The price fluctuation of raw materials has a major impact on the feed prices. Feed industry is heavily dependent on maize and soybean which are the two major ingredients for poultry feed. Fortunately, Soybean meal prices have declined by about 25% in last two years where as the maize price is almost constant, lately showing downward trend due to good monsoons and better harvest this year.
With globalization and free trade, the prices of raw materials are set globally. Government should allow free import and export of soy meal and maize. Contract farming of maize and soy is another solution for raw material security and savings in brokerage.
Since long Soybean is being used as sole protein source in the Poultry industry. Now, world poultry industry is looking for alternatives, like insect protein. What do you feel about its future in India or could there be any other alternative, which holds promise for future?
As of now I can think of only silkworm pupa which is a good source of protein and fat. It is a rich source of amino acids and fatty acids. It is produced mainly in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Handling, processing and drying is a major drawback in using it. Usage of Insect protein still has to be studied in terms of consistent performance, steady supply, acceptability etc.
And lastly, please give your valued suggestions with regard to taking Indian Poultry industry on the Global map.
The poultry industry in India has transformed into vibrant agribusiness with an annual turnover more than Rs 1,00,000 crore. Today, India is the fourth largest broiler producer in the world producing 4.0 million tonnes of broiler meat annually and third largest producer of eggs accounting for 81 billion eggs every year. The production performances of broilers as well as layers are at par with international standards.
The area which requires more attention is Food processing, infrastructure development and safety of the products. India is still a wet market where consumers prefer live chicken than fresh, clean, chilled and packed chicken. In most of the countries the market is fully processed. There is lack of awareness among the consumers, with regard to hygiene and other aspects. And there is urgent need to create this awareness among consumers. Apart from customer awareness, there is need for policy and regulatory measures to shift from wet market to process driven market. Monitoring of residues with regard to antibiotics, chemicals, microbiological and traceability is important in poultry products which are meant for both export and domestic consumption.