Covid-19 has had a profound effect on the country’s livestock sector, with lockdowns affecting demand.
The CLFMA of India Chairman, Neeraj Kumar Srivastava, explains how to solve the industry’s major challenges and improve farmer profitability by improving income.
The livestock sector was affected by the epidemic:
As early as February-March 2020, rumours that chickens were likely carriers of Covid-19 began circulating on social media, significantly decreasing demand for chicken meat in various regions of the country and lowering poultry prices to Rs.45 a kilogram.
Interventions by the government and industry awareness campaigns have helped. Although the market was stabilizing, it had plummeted again in January due to the bird flu scare. There was then a 175% spike in soyameal prices, which had a significant impact on farm profitability. As a result of Covid-19 and associated lockdowns, the poultry sector alone is believed to have lost more than 22,000 crore.
Due to the pandemic, the poultry sector grew by just 2-3% in FY20 (versus an average annual growth rate of 7-8%), and declined by 4-5% in FY21.
The sector is expected to reach pre-Covid levels by the end of FY22, assuming Covid-related restraints are lifted and institutional demand recovers. Institutional consumption accounts for over half of total consumption.
Demand outlook for animal feed in the next 2-3 years:
According to Srivastava, the demand outlook for the next 2-3 years is excellent. Over 80% of the country’s population suffers from protein deficiency, according to a survey conducted by the Indian Market Research Bureau. Approximately 25-30 million tonnes of protein are required by the country’s population. A significant proportion of protein and energy requirements are met by livestock, which provides 47-56% of protein and 20% of energy.
Feed, fodder, and concentrate demand-supply gaps are a serious issue. Land is becoming scarce due to increased demand for foodgrains, oilseeds, and pulses, and insufficient attention is being paid to fodder crops.
Green fodder deficits will reach 40 million tonnes (mt), dry fodder deficits will reach 21 million tonnes (mt), and concentrate deficits will reach 38 million tonnes (mt) by 2025.
It is expected that diseases will become more prevalent, and biosecurity and control will be a major concern.Another challenge is the occurrence of diseases. Diseases will become more common, and biosecurity and control will be a major concern. A shortage of skilled labor and low productivity in the dairy industry are also concerns.
Here are some suggestions to overcome these challenges and make the sector more resilient:
As Srivastava noted, we must boost feed and grain production while utilizing available land and forest areas more efficiently. Furthermore, we should use technology, such as precision farming, to increase yields on every accessible farm. Furthermore, we need to develop more effective methods for raising meat and implement efficient animal feeding programs.
Moreover, he suggested that we limit the use of food crops for biofuels, as well as study and permit the use of genetically modified grains to increase per acre production.
Research should focus primarily on how to provide adequate nutrition while causing little nutritional excretion or emission.