With ethanol-makers competing strongly for maize supplies, the poultry industry, which depends heavily on maize for its feed requirements, has asked the Union Government to allow it to import genetically modified maize and soyameal. It also wanted the government to bring in high-yielding GM seeds to increase productivity in the country.

Citing the examples of wheat and paddy, whose productivity had gone up multifold after the Green Revolution which saw the introduction of high-yielding varieties, Suresh Chitturi, Managing Director of Srinivasa Farms and Co-Chair of CII’s National Committee on Animal Husbandry and Dairy, said a similar intervention was required to increase the yields and productivity in maize.

Addressing a session on the challenges and opportunities for the poultry industry at the CII’s three-day AgriTech South 2024 on Friday, he said the country has a huge potential in the poultry sector.

Steps to hike output

“The government should consider the import of GM maize to the extent that we require for ethanol production. We can also take measures to increase the maize production to, say, 40 million tonnes from the present level of 30 million tonnes. This will increase the availability of maize for poultry industry’s feed needs,” K G Anand, General Manager of Venkateshwara Hatcheries, has said.

The country is using 0.8 million tonnes (mt) of maize for ethanol production in 2023-24. This is expected to grow to 3.4 mt in 2024-25 and 10 mt by 2027-28.

Whereas the demand for maize from the poultry industry, which is currently at 16 mt a year, is expected to grow by 1 mt annually.

“The government’s policy to use corn and broken rice for producing ethanol would lead to further shortage of cereals and corn availability. It poses a challenge for the growth of the industry in the years to come. Allowing GM maize and soyameal imports is one solution,” he said.

Suresh said the efficiencies in the poultry industry improved significantly as it reduced utilisation of resources by 70 per cent. “The cost of inputs in India still higher when compared with our global competitors such as Brazil and Argentina. Also, it faces the challenge of high volatility,” he said.

Egg per capita offtake tops 100

Thanks to the increased awareness on immunity and the importance of protein intake, the per capita egg consumption now stood at 101 eggs. “It is expected to go up to 180 eggs in the next 6-7 years,” he said.