Poultry Meat is the Fastest Growing Animal Protein

Poultry Meat is the Fastest Growing Animal Protein

Rajat K. Baisya

animalDuring 1990s buffalo meat was the largest animal protein segment in Indian diet. Almost 50 % of the total meat consumed was from buffalo meat Poultry meat was consumed only to the extent of 16%. The scenario has changed now and buffalo meat constitutes about 37 % of the total meat consumption whereas poultry meat consumption has gone up to about 40% as can be seen from Table 1

The estimated production of poultry and poultry products is 1500 thousand tones in 2003 which was about 500 thousand tonnes in 1991 registering a growth rate of about 11 % whereas the growth rate of buffalo meat is only about 5%. As per the report of USDA the total production of buffalo meat is about 1.9 million tonnes. Over 20 % of this production is exported to countries like Philippines, Malaysia, Egypt and Middle-east countries. As can be seen that mutton and lamb is relatively small segment and demand was always higher than the supply resulting in high price in domestic market. Per capita consumption of poultry meat has gone up from about 420 gms in 1991 to 1.5 kgs in 2003 and if we exclude the vegetarian population, the per capita consumption will work out to about 1.75 kgs per annum.

Although the poultry consumption is on the rise steadily the meat and mutton consumption is very slowly growing or almost stagnant. In export trade the performance of poultry is poor. India exports about 500000 MT of meat out of which almost 90 % is buffalo meat. The demand for Indian meat is also not growing as in international trade the demand is for lean hygienic meat. To grow in international trade we need to follow modern feeding and animal rearing programme. The total processing capacity in the country is about one million tonnes but the capacity utilization is hardly 50 %. These slaughterhouses are in the control of the local municipal corporations. Deonar slaughterhouse in Mumbai is said to be modern and the largest in Asia. These slaughterhouses are used by meat traders for selling meat in the local market as well as for export. Only a handful of players are large and fall in the organized sector in the meat trade. They are Hind Agro, Allana and Al Kabeer. Hind Agro is the only player in the country who has backward linkages with the modern male buffalo rearing facility. Their plant and facilities have been certified by the importing agencies and therefore are doing the business in an organized manner.

The poultry production is concentrated in west and south. Most of the poultry farms in west are located in and around Pune and in south those are located around Coimbatore. But in north and east there is no such concentration of processing zone. In West Bengal a large poultry processing facility exist in Aram Bag. This particular brand of poultry meat has in course of time become quite popular in the region.

The biggest single effort in the private sector for processing and farming of poultry meat has been initiated by Venkateshwara Hatcheries near Pune. They have modern plant and also have been successful in exporting in countries like Japan, which is a very quality conscious difficult customer. As per the report, for catering to the Japan market for the processed poultry and poultry products a special process plant has been installed. Unlike buffalo meat poultry processing plants have achieved fair degree of integration and therefore can hold the price line in the market and have been able to operate their own cold chain.

The meat and poultry processing industry has significant scope for development and there is a large potential for export. But the industry suffers from many constraints in terms of both socio-cultural, religious and political as well as technological nature. A holistic view therefore is necessary for ensuring the growth of this sector. As we don’t slaughter cows we have a restricted market opportunity in the international market. For some identified market including Middle East buffalo meat is an acceptable meat normally sold as beef. The feed and the cattle rearing facility need to be improved in order to upgrade the hygiene and quality of meat. Besides, the feed quality restricts the productivity of the cattle meat. Disease surveillance is another important task. Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a critical issue for the meat export. Department of Animal Husbandry under Union Ministry of Agriculture has identified three special zones which are declared as FMD free and the buffalo meat processing plants are located in those zones. First of all, these FMD free zones are required to be extended to cover a much wider area. Secondly, the importing countries should be invited to go through the inspection to officially accept these zones and process plants as meeting the standards of import as per the guidelines of Codex Alimentarius Commission.

The other factor that made Indian meat and poultry industry uncompetitive in the international trade is the cost. The inefficient supply chain management, poor infrastructure, lack of scale, absence of integrated process plant coupled with the socio cultural and political constraints have made this sector almost static in international trade. Only a few players who have established linkages in select countries are carrying on with the business. In the global trade cost is one of the most important factor to get entry and acceptance. The supply chain management therefore will be critical. The new entrants in the retail trade should be able to play a role in bringing about those desired improvements. The fruit and vegetable trade sector has already experiencing the signals of those improvements. Hopefully establishing cold chain and integrated meat processing plants with introduction of variety of products sold through refrigerated storage in the retail shelf will improve the scenario. Reliance and Wal Mart should get into this trade as well. A holistic approach involving processors, Government departments, slaughterhouses and private organized retailing collectively can improve the performance of this potential sector. o

Table 1 : Animal meat consumption

Type of meat     In 1991 In 2003
consumed          (Per cent)  (Per cent)

Buffalo meat 50 37
Goat & Mutton 30 20
Poultry 16 40
Others 04 03
Source: USDA report

 

-- This article was first published in "Processed Food Industry" monthly magazine.

 

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