Poultry plays an important role in India as eggs and meat are rich sources of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Egg not only is rich but also the cheapest source of energy, vitamins, proteins, and minerals. In the last two decades, poultry has made tremendous strides particularly in the private sector with the result that India is now self-sufficient with regard to the requirement of high-quality breeding, stocks, and modern poultry equipment, availability of medicines and vaccines, and technically skilled manpower.
Indian poultry sector has been growing at around 8-10% annually over the last decade and at more than 15% in the last three years. The production capacity has responded with increased integration and increased penetration of contract poultry farming. The broiler industry is growing at a rate of 10-12% with an annual meat production of 40 lac tons across the country. The industry as a whole provides employment to 60 lac people directly or indirectly.
Having a per capita egg consumption of 68 eggs & meat consumption of 3.1 kg India still stands much below the figures recommended by The National Committee of Human Nutrition (per capita egg consumption of 180 eggs & per capita meat consumption of 10.8 kg)
With the growing demand and consumption poultry industry is having a good future waiting for it however few key challenges faced by the industry include high feed costs combined with a supply shortage of corn, inadequate cold chain and transportation infrastructure, high vulnerability to disease outbreaks, and highly volatile realizations affecting cash flows.
The livestock industry in India is making rapid strides forward and plays a multi-faceted role in providing livelihood support to the rural population. The livestock sector contributes approximately 4% to GDP and 27% to agriculture GDP. The poultry and dairy sectors are the major sectors contributing to economic development. The livestock sector provides employment generation opportunities, asset creation, coping mechanisms against crop failure, and social and financial security.
India is blessed with a huge resource of livestock wealth. In fact, India has the largest population of cattle and buffalo in the world and ranks number one in milk production in the world. India is set to produce over 155 million tons of milk by the end of 2016. Several measures have been initiated by the Government to increase the productivity of milk animals, which has resulted in increasing milk production significantly. Small ruminant farming in India is gaining momentum and contributes substantially to the livelihood of the rural population.
India ranks 3rd in egg production and 4th in broiler production in the world. The poultry sector has transformed itself from a mere backyard activity into a major commercial activity with participation by big players and also successful implementation of contract poultry farming on a large scale. Poultry development in the country has seen steady progress over the years and egg production stood more than 75 billion in 2016.
The Indian fishery sector has made notable strides. India ranks 2nd in aquaculture in the world. As the world demand exceeds production and the per capita consumption is rising, India has great scope in expanding its aquaculture industry.
India has a vast potential for increased consumption of animal products in the domestic as well as export markets. Yet the present status of poultry, cattle, and aqua industries pose challenges for improvement of productions to meet the growing demands in the coming years. Livestock production systems in India are mostly based on traditional knowledge, low input system, crop-livestock integration, and farming system approach.
The per capita consumption of meat, milk, and eggs is expected to double by 2020 and India would need to become very competitive in a world of globalized trade. This also calls for producing more from less for more (MLM) and producing quality & safe products to meet the global demands.