Agri Business

Afghanistan remains top destination for egg exports

| | Updated on: Oct 02, 2012
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Rising production costs, dipping demand on seasonal uncertainties and slowing economy have put poultry processors in a tight spot. That could signal tough times for the industry.

Prices of poultry products are expected to rule lower in the coming days for two reasons: One is on account of austere month in the country and the second is the closure of schools that has led to piling up of eggs. Noon meal centres in the schools consume around 70 lakh eggs a day.

Exports gain

Though confronted with these issues on the home turf, the Rs 40,000-crore industry has hit a purple patch on the export front. The industry has got a boost with Oman lifting its ban on Indian poultry shipments.

The ban was imposed in the last week of March following reports of bird flu in the northern States.

The ban is lifted three months after the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) declares a country free from bird flu.

Namakkal accounts for nearly 95 per cent of the egg exports and Oman accounts for 33 per cent of the total egg exported.

“We send 2-3 containers (of 4.72 lakh eggs each) a day to Oman. And we expect poultry products to be back on the menu of other Arab countries also soon.

“We are currently shipping eggs to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Algeria,” said P. Selvaraj, Zonal Chairman, National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), the apex body for the trade.

“Although, the quantity is negligible and in Algeria, we are facing severe competition from Brazil with their large-sized, low-priced eggs, we are hopeful of gaining a foothold in these markets.

“We expect exports to rise slowly and steadily. Afghanistan remains our top destination as of now,” he added.

Feed issues

With soyameal feed scarcer and costlier than ever, poultry units increasingly are looking for cheaper alternatives - and they found a good deal on cottonseed de-oiled cake, rapemeal, sesamum cake. Guarmeal is being used as a binding agent in feed formulation as it is free from salmonella, E. coli and aflatoxin. Feed is generally the largest single production expense for poultry operators.

Health

But the switchover has its own problems. First is the cut in output - conventional feed ingredients yielded 580-600 eggs for every 75 kg of feed against the 500-540 eggs got using the alternate ingredients.

Second is the health issue.

A Bangalore-based veterinarian said: “There is a dire need for such substitutes considering the escalating feed costs. But operators must be careful to follow detailed nutritional analyses for their animals to make sure they are getting a healthy mix of nutrients, amino acids in particular.

“The new formula is likely to affect the health of chicken by creating problems in the digestive system that will reflect on their egg laying. Farmers should test quality of new feed as poor quality feed will affect egg production and the birds in the long run,” he cautioned.

> Gayathri.gururajan@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 12, 2018

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