The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicted that India’s poultry broiler meat productions is likely to grow by 10% to 2.2 million tons (mt) in 2007 because of strong domestic demand and the nation is free from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Apart from increasing domestic consumption because of “Affordable prices and increasing incomes,” the poultry industry will also adopted integrated poultry operations adopting genetics to improve bird weights and dressing yields.
Indian broiler industry was growing at a robust 15% per annum but was hit badly with the outbreak of HPAI in early 2006 in western India bringing down prices below the cost of production for several months and resultant losses forced scaled-down operations or even closure. Therefore, the total production for 2006 is estimated to be 2 mt instead of 2.2 mt.
After a shoddy and questionable eradication program, India declared the nation to be free of bird-flu early August and this claim has enabled the resumption of exports after a 6 month gap. The Ministry of Agriculture was in undue haste to declare victory over bird-flu as this industry employs 3 million people and brings in Rs. 26,000 crore (USD 5.6 billion). However, this is an industry with maximum political investment and worst regulated and the actual taxation of this sector and transparency of tax revenues is severely lacking.
Despite the optimistic estimates, USDA says that lower than expected rains over summer has reduced maize output and therefore increased prices and affecting margins. However, new harvests in October are expected to “soften” the process and a resurgent broiler production is expected “last quarter of calendar year 2006.”