Interview with INFAH

Use of non-conventional feed stuffs to be explored to scientific research

INFAH (Indian Federation of Animal Health Companies), is a very young association representing Indian animal industry, which has made a remarkable growth in a short span of 3 years. It takes up the issues related to animal health with the Regulators and various governing bodies of the country.

In an interview with Think Grain Think Feed, Dr. Arun Atrey, President and Mr. Vijay Teng, General Secretary of the association discussed various industry concerns-role of antibiotics, impact of GST (Goods and Service Tax) and future scope for the industry. Below are excerpts from the interview:

Please give us in brief the role played by Indian Federation of Animal Health Companies (INFAH) and its sub-committees in the development of poultry, dairy and livestock industry in India.

Indian Federation of Animal Health Companies abbreviated as INFAH, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization working towards the common goal of raising the standards of domesticated animal health care in India. INFAH is the cohesion of progressive Indian and multinational animal health companies and represents the animal health industry. The Federation takes up the issues with common denominator to the Regulators and different governing bodies of the country, including various Ministries, in a bid to improve and maintain the health and welfare of animals in terms of disease prevention, treatment and control. Internationally, INFAH partners with global animal trade bodies and is also affiliated to global organization “Health For Animals.
The Federation has been further divided into various sub committees, to take up the issues with different government and non- government entities. viz. a) Drugs & Therapeutics’ focussed on Technical & Regulatory issues; b) Imports & Exports; c) Biologicals & Bio-Security; d) Herbals; e) Animal Feed Supplements; f) Good Marketing Practices & CSR; g) Human resource
Infact, these honorary sub-committees are the lifeline, and based on its recommendations, the Management Committee of INFAH decides further course of action.
Though this Federation is quite young, but still one would like to know the various milestones achieved by INFAH in its short tenure of 3 years? How does INFAH define the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Federation may be young, but is quite vibrant and in tandem with different Ministries and organizations has been able to achieve the following objectives during its short tenure:
Took lead in ensuring ‘withdrawal periods’ being mentioned on the primary packing of all veterinary drugs
Represented the issue of FDC especially with respect to Veterinary Industry. This ultimately led to better understanding & exclusion of Veterinary drugs
Initiated collaborative research project framework with DBT with a way laid out for obtaining funds for those interested from Industry in research in herbal animal healthcare products.
Represented and submitted the views of the Industry on the alarms raised by some NGO’s finding on antibiotics residues in chicken meat.
With the help of analytical lab experts, works with IPC on revision of IP and on inclusion or deletion of API and their formulations.
INFAH is committed to CSR for better animal healthcare and enhancing livelihood through better animal husbandry practices. INFAH “sets a realistic agenda of development of grassroots through alliances and partnerships with sustainable development approaches. At the heart of solution lies intrinsic coming together of all stakeholders in shaping up a distinct route for an equitable and just social order.
INFAH has been able to focus on Farmers Awareness Campaigns and Educational initiatives, especially on Need of regular deworming, Role of nutrition on animal productivity and health and Control measures for disease prevention.
We have also focused on Extension activities emphasizing on Quality Milk [Clean Milk Program], Farm Hygiene and Improvement of animal productivity. Recognizing the role of Women in Animal Husbandry, INFAH is committed to work for their Empowerment and educating them about scientific animal management practices.
INFAH also highlights the role of the Industry to the society at large and focuses on increasing protein consumption through the celebration of World milk day and World egg day. INFAH is committed to creating a healthier India.
What kind of key challenges you see that are being faced by Indian livestock industry today? Please throw some light on these issues.
Distribution of livestock is more equitable compared to that of land. Unfortunately, the sector has remained under-invested. Nonetheless, the animal husbandry sector has been growing faster than crop sector. Achieving the average growth rate of 6 % (both in livestock and poultry), however, would require addressing following two main challenges:
Shortage of affordable nutritious feed and fodder
Frequent occurrence of some emerging and re-emerging diseases
With increasing consumer awareness, antibiotic resistance is becoming a bigger issue for the whole world. For that reason, antibiotic use is being banned in several countries of the west. But here in India, industry players say that it is more of a myth. Please share your views on the same.
Yes, INFAH does propagate appropriate use of antibiotics for treating bacterial diseases. Internationally, EU does not allow use of medicated feed additives, but it would be wrong to say that the use of antibiotics is totally banned. Antibiotics are still being used in developed and EU countries in animal production for the treatment of bacterial diseases and MRLs are well defined. In our country, the poultry meat that had been randomly tested for antibiotic residue and found to contain antibiotics, but their levels are in fact, lower that the antibiotic residues levels (MRL) prescribed even by EU countries. Unfortunately, the MRL levels for antibiotic residues in India are yet to be standardized. Nevertheless, INFAH has been educating the farming and allied communities for judicious use of antibiotics as per the withdrawal period mentioned on the label of respective products and has also taken up the issue with the concerned on false alarms being raised on faulty interpretation.
Cost-effectiveness is the biggest issue faced by complete value-chain of the feed industry, what solution would you like to suggest to the industry, so that the compound feed is available at an affordable price to the consumer/farmer?
Soya and maize constitute major part of feed cost awaiting second ‘green revolution’. As per the current norms, GM origin crops and its byproducts are still under active consideration in our country while same are being used by our major competitor countries. The associated organizations have already been discussing the issue with the concerned Government authorities. Moreover, use of non-conventional feed stuffs also need to be explored through scientific research.
GST (Goods and Service Tax) was discussed during recently concluded CLFMA symposium. What impact does it have on Indian Livestock Industry?
While it is expected that GST would integrate state economies and boost overall growth in long term, would be industry-friendly, irrespective of the type of the industries, actual impact would be known after the bill is passed. However, proactive approach would help all the stake holders for smooth migration, once implemented.
What does future hold for Indian feed industry? Considering the multiple challenges it is facing, what kind of shape do you visualize it takes in the next 10 years?
The future of animal husbandry and feed industry is bright. The feed industry too would grow as most factories have modern computerized plants, employ latest equipment for analytical procedures and have systems for arriving at least-cost ration formulations. The feed industry presently though restricted to dairy and poultry feed manufacturing; would have to work on principle of economies of scale and venture into aqua, buffalo meat and pork industry, while also exploring the virgin export feed markets. The next decade will witness significant changes in restructuring, mergers, acquisitions, amalgamations, joint ventures, diversification, integration and efficient service chains, e-commerce and use of the latest information technology in global tenders, trading, export/import and other commercial activities. At the root of all these developments will be the technical and scientific development of feed manufacturing technology and increasingly use of biotechnology & more scientific formulations.