Strong focus on improving efficiency and quality is critical for the next wave of growth for Indian livestock industry
MUMBAI: “Strong focus on improving efficiency and quality is critical for the next wave of growth for India’s livestock industry” commented B Soundararajan, Chairman of CLFMA of India, in his keynote address during the Knowledge Day held on the 21 November 2017 on the sidelines of Poultry India at Hyderabad.
He also emphasized the need for balanced and holistic policies to double farmers’ incomes.
“India’s poultry industry is one of the most efficient globally and is a well-recognized contributor towards the nation’s food and nutrition security, employment, and most importantly poverty alleviation. It is the source of livelihood for millions of farmers mainly, smallholders and is the foundation of rural India’s prosperity. India’s poultry industry has been growing at over 8% annually in the last few years and I am optimistic about the growth accelerating in the near future. Apparently, next five to ten years are extremely critical for the sector to maintain its growth and strengthen its competitiveness”, he added.
On evolving food consumption patterns, he mentioned that in fast-growing developing economies like India, South East Asia and parts of Africa, demand for protein is increasing and consumers’ preference and food consumption patterns are evolving.
As India is going through exciting demographic and economic transformation, consumers increasingly seek better health through food. They are getting more demanding and their preferences are changing much faster than the previous generations.
Issues such as food safety and quality; judicious use of inputs such as antibiotics and adoption of best practices are, nowadays, more important for them and the industry must do more to not only meet but exceed those expectations.
Consumption of processed foods including dairy products and meat is bound to go up significantly as currently, only about 3 to 5 percent of the chicken meat consumed in India is processed. India’s dynamic meat sector is up for the challenge being one of the highly efficient producers of meat, milk, and eggs in the world.
Soundararajan highlighted that India was ranked 100 out of 119 in the recent Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). One-fifth of the children under the age of five are underweight and at least a third of the children are stunted.
“Not just in the financial ratings, we must also look at the “AAA’s of food” i.e. Availability; Accessibility; and Affordability. The Country needs a renewed focus on enhancing agricultural productivity, food safety, and quality. All inefficiencies and roadblocks in the food value chain that stand between the poor, hungry and malnourished population and its due share of safe and nutritious food are to be removed with a great sense of urgency”, he added.
Soundararajan concluded by adding “Taking a holistic perspective, CLFMA is approaching every challenge faced by the industry from multiple dimensions in terms of animal productivity; costs of food production; incomes, profits and livelihoods of the farming community; industry’s competitiveness; and overall food and nutrition security of the billion-plus population.”