“Large Scale Adoption of Automation in the Poultry Sector is the need of the hour for sustaining growth in demand in coming Decades”

Despite challenges faced due to COVID 19 and skyrocketing input cost India’s poultry sector has been one of the fastest-growing segments of Indian agriculture and allied sector. According to Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 2020, India’s poultry meat production was 4.34 million tonnes, contributing more than 50% of the total meat production in 2019- 20. The egg production stood at 114.38 billion in 2019-20. According to the National Action Plan for egg and poultry – 2022 prepared by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries, more than 80 percent of India’s poultry output is produced by organized commercial farms. Major poultry companies have vertically integrated operations which comprise approximately 60-70 percent of the total poultry meat production.

The broiler meat industry is witnessing growth because of the adoption of the backward integration system. The integration model ensures that farmers who own farms with 5000 – 10,000 broilers capacity are insulated against fluctuations in market prices as under the contract they remain assured of getting predetermined fixed prices. Directly and indirectly, this poultry sector provides employment to around six million small and medium farmers However, for meeting the rising demand for poultry products in the coming years, the poultry farmers need to adopt automation for ensuring an efficient production system and improving infrastructure at the existing wet market. An automatic feeding system could reduce the labor cost and improve the farming level and Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) efficiency.

The Commercial production of eggs and chicken meat on scientific principles has been well standardized still there is a need for investment in improving marketing infrastructure for both broiler birds and eggs for attracting more health-conscious consumers especially in the post-COVID phase. Hence, there is a need for setting up more and more broiler meat processing plants in the near future. There has been a huge increase in e-commerce with the expansion of home delivery as a response to COVID-19. The online segment is expected to continue to drive broiler and eggs consumption in the coming years thus by pushing increasing per capita consumption of poultry meat and eggs.

Recently the Government had announced a Special Livestock sector package amounting to Rs.9,800 crore over the next five years starting 2021-22. The poultry meat, as well as egg sectors, must take advantage of this financial assistance to boost infrastructure. A capital subsidy should be there on setting up EC sheds with improvement in infrastructure in the wet market that would boost demand as well as consumption.

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