Agri Business

Poultry industry seeks an image makeover

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on August 13, 2021

(From right bottom clockwise) - Balram Yadav, MD, Godrej Agrovet Ltd; Suresh Chitturi, Vice-Chairman and MD, Srinivasa Farms; Tarun Bajaj, Director, APEDA; Subramani Ra Mancombu, Commodities Editor, BusinessLine; Prashant Vatkar, CEO, Godrej Tyson Foods; and G Chandrashekhar, policy commentator

The per capita egg consumption is growing. It will double every 5-6 years.

With the poultry industry continuing to suffer heavy losses for developments that are beyond its control, Balram Singh Yadav, Managing Director, Godrej Agrovet, has called for an image makeover of the industry and focus on converting chicken into food in order to absorb shocks.

Addressing a Godrej Agrovet-BusinessLine webinar on the “Post-pandemic outlook for the poultry sector” on Thursday, he said that the industry was being repeatedly blamed for viral infections in the country. “Why should we be blamed? Industry players should be called upon to pool in resources. There are established players to take care of building the image. We can tap the social media too,” he said.

The industry veteran said that it should be the Union Ministry of Commerce not the Ministry of Agriculture to take care of the poultry industry. “It should repeat what it has done to the shrimp sector,” he pointed out.

Export potential

Asking the Government to tap the export potential, he said the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC )imports poultry products worth $4 billion. “But they don’t take them from us, though we are just a couple of hours away,” he pointed out.

“Our lean period (July-November) is a peak period for them. We can tap this,” he said.

Suresh Chitturi, Chairman of the International Egg Commission, said that the cost of production of poultry products soared so high that hundreds of small players went of business.

Boosting offtake

“The per capita egg consumption is growing. It will double every 5-6 years. The feed costs are 100 per cent more than the prices in the US and Brazil but this is not reflecting in the cost to the consumer. Ultimately, consumers will have to pay for it,” Suresh, also the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Srinivasa Farms, said.

Prashant Vatkar, Chief Executive officer of Godrej Tyson Foods, felt that chicken consumption was discretionary in nature in the country. “People would suddenly stop chicken consumption for weeks on fears. There has been a pull in the market after the focus on protein intake increased during the pandemic,” he said adding, “The industry has benefited from this tailwind, with home delivery platforms bringing in value. How should we build on this? This is small for now. But it can be a launch pad.”

Volatile feed costs

Senior journalist and policy commentator G Chandrashekhar has called for a medium to long-term strategy to bring in resilience to the industry. “You need to plan for 2030. You should plan for birds, both broiler and layer, vaccines, processing capacities and skilled labour,” he said.

He pointed out that volatility in feed costs was not going to go. “The industry should establish backward linkages and enter into contract farm agreements to meet their feed needs. Commodity exchanges can work on delivery based future contracts,” he suggested.

The discussion was moderated by Subramani Ra Mancombu, Commodities Editor, BusinessLine.

The webinar can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3AyL6GE

Published on August 12, 2021

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