Indian Livestock & Gennext Perspectives for The Way Ahead

As much as we gratify ourselves for the how far we have achieved since last 35 years of commercialisation of Indian livestock industry, it is equally pertinent to focus what innovation and challenges does the future holds for us. In order to decipher and analyse this,recently concluded CLFMA Symposium focussed on “GenNXT” aspects for Indian Livestock Sector. One among the panel of Gen-Next speakers was Mr. Vignesh Soundararajan from Suguna Foods. In addition to his eloquent speech which was an intent food for thought with regards to the future that awaits, Think Grain Think Feed brings to you some exclusive excerpts from an e-interview.
Challenges faced by the previous generation are of course, certainly different from what today’s competitive world is facing. Please share your thoughts on taking the legacy ahead.
The previous generation who were the pioneers started this poultry industry from scratch. Technology didn’t play a big role during those days in businesses. But today after 35 years, the systems are in place. It is now our role to build the right organisation, bring in right talent, technology and of course, building great brands. The competition level is also very high nowadays. We need to think big in all aspects. The previous generation built from 0 to 1. It is our job to take that 1 to 100.
During CLFMA symposium you did make a mention about the support extended to farmers whilst procuring the maize and soy crop. With growing distress among farmers for the need of agriculture reforms, how do you thinkcan feed industry contribute in overcoming the current issues?
We are connected with the farmers both in growing our birds through Contract farming as well as in procuring our raw materials like Maize and Soya for poultry feed. This has a huge impact on the farmer community.The poultry Integration Model has set a Win-Win situation for both the farmer and the integrator. The farmers’ economic condition has improved due to their integration with the Industry for poultry farming. Our industry has paved a path for many rural people. Almost 85-90% of our turnover goes back to the rural community.”
You have rightly highlighted the existing technological disparity between commercial farms and breeder farms. Could you please elaborate more on what according to you should be the main priorities that commercial farms must work upon?
In our industry, our breeder farms and hatcheries are well developed in our country. But the same level of development is not to be seen in our commercial broiler farms and also when it comes to how we sell our birds. More than 300000 farmers are engaged in broiler farming and most of them have small to medium size farms. We all know that India as a country has and will have climatic challenges going forward. Majority of the farms are open farms exposed to weather challenges. Here, I feel that we need to support these farmers and bring in Environmentally Controlled poultry houses. We will also be able to attract more youngsters into this field who can understand better how this technology works. Through farmers, at affordable cost, we need to bring in EC Contract farms. I am expecting this to happen in the long run.
India has been one of the countries with best Poultry production efficiencies in the World. However, with respect to branding and market positioning, we stand nowhere. What kind of steps according to you should India take to change this scenario?
Our industry has grown very big but even today, we are selling majority of our product as a commodity. Over the years, I feel that we have become a master of growing our birds most efficiently. Now it is time to move further down the line. Let us take a few examples of Agri commodities. Sugar, Salt, dhaleverything has become branded. But where is the brand for our product?
We can easily continue blaming consumer awareness but what efforts have we put in to marketing our product? A lot of effort is needed in Marketing our product. Understanding the needs of the consumer, understanding whom to target, where to position our product, at what price. All this is important.
How do you see the growth of Indian Poultry Farming viz-a-viz Indian feed industry 5 years down the line?
Indian Poultry industry has been growing at a fast pace and will continue to grow at a rate of 7-8% for the next five years. India has a very young population; the per capita consumption of poultry meat is still very low in this country and the urbanisation is continuously on a rise. Also, the purchasing power of end consumers is increasing and there is a very high level of education and awareness on processed meat and the importance of protein intake. All these factors put together will contribute towards the growth of poultry viz-a-viz feed industry in our country.
Whilst the livestock Industry plays a pivotal role in supporting the economy by being the main stream consumer of the Agricultural Industry,it will be an add on if the agriculture industry works upon its preparedness against climate changes basis which it leads to a symbiotic long-lasting relationship between livestock and farming sector. As far as the future of Livestock Industry goes, it needs high impetus on the way and methods required to make the products more visible with marketing and innovate more and more so that it is considered as a product and not a commodity. As soon as the first two issues are being worked upon at the same time the technology at the the broiler farms need to be made at par with breeder farms. In a nutshell, It’s the amalgamation of Technology, Marketing & Innovations that holds the gates of future.