The Third Largest Producer of Eggs in the World

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India is the third largest producer of eggs in the world? More than 220 million egg laying hens are used to produce trillions of eggs. Those are a lot of hens. Unfortunately, most chickens in India are raised in industrial farms, and most egg laying hens are kept in battery cages, tiny wire mesh enclosures that prevent them from spreading their wings or stepping on dirt to bathe. They don’t enjoy the sunshine or the care of a kind farmer, and are simply slaughtered after they stop producing eggs. At least 70% of eggs sold in India come from commercial farmers. The high demand for eggs has driven their production in commercial farms. This demand is expected to continue increasing as India’s population grows. By 2050, the human population in India will increase by 34%. Experts say egg production alone must increase almost five-fold from current production levels to meet the demand created by India’s expanding population.

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The recently announced Innovative Poultry Production Project (or IPPP, under the National Livestock Mission) would orient the growth of egg production away from industrial systems, systems that have proven to reduce employment opportunities in the farming sector, damage the natural environment, compromise animal welfare and negatively impact human health. Here are some of the reasons HSI supports this program: The program envisions working with state governments to ensure that the farmer beneficiaries have, among other support systems: access to poultry healthcare like vaccinations and deworming; training in good rearing and health practices; access to integrators to help buy and market the produce; and access to the common facilities required for hygienic and safe marketing. Benefiting backyard farmers and rural communities According to the IPPP, focusing on the ‘backyard’ farmer could allow many landless or marginal farmers to generate income, and their products could provide nutritional security to the rural pool. Industrialised animal agriculture, on the other hand, pushes small farmers out of the market and reduces employment opportunities by decreasing on-farm employment within rural communities.

Helping small farmers The IPPP aims to facilitate the doubling of farmer incomes by 2020, and to build the capacity of the ‘poorest of the poor farmers’. To do this, the IPPP will scale-up the existing Rural Backyard Poultry Development Programme by substantially increasing the number of birds (both broiler and egg-laying) provided to selected farmers across 15 states. Moving away from industrial farms that hurt the environment Industrialised farming has many serious environmental repercussions. According to the Food Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the animal agriculture sector is responsible for approximately 14.5% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. Industrial farms also pollute bodies of water with run-off from agricultural products, like manure. This in turn compromises drinking water sources and the health of fish. Many of these environmental effects are exacerbated in developing economies due to lack of regulations, or lack of enforcement. Moving away from intensive confinement which is detrimental for animal welfare Animals in most commercial farms are kept in intense confinement, within a system that views them as commodities rather than living creatures. Take the example of commercially farmed hens: they are housed in battery cages so small that each bird has less space than an A4 size sheet of paper in which to spend their entire lives. As such, animals are subjected to intense prolonged physical and psychological damage. Reducing overcrowding which breeds disease The same factors that compromise animal welfare in industrial farm settings- including inadequate ventilation, high stocking density, poor litter conditions, poor hygiene, high ammonia levels, concurrent diseases and secondary infections, are, according to industry trade journal World Poultry, what makes intensive poultry facilities such “ideal … breeding grounds for disease”.

On the other hand, non-industrial systems (our backyard farmers!) tend to promote greater genetic diversity amongst their animals, and give animals a less crowded and therefore less stressful environment. This also reduces antibiotic use, and therefore minimises the risk of emergence of new disease strains. Case study of koltata The eggs consumed in urban Kolkata are mainly produced at hatcheries located in Andhra Pradesh. The hatchery owner popularly known as the Mahajan enjoys a margin of 9% approximately. The eggs are packed into cardboard cartons with paper pulp packaging, loaded onto trucks and transported to Kolkata. There are 7 to 8 such Mahajans that serve the urban Kolkata market. A standard crate has 30 eggs and there are 7 such crates in a carton. Thus a standard carton of eggs has 210 eggs. Once these eggs arrive in Kolkata, they are purchased by commission agents in Kolkata. Commission agents are located at the wholesale market in Sealdah and New Market, Esplanade. According to a primary research the commission agents enjoyed a margin of 2 paisa per egg, which works out to 0.67% of the retail price. There was absolute homogeneity in terms of margins enjoyed amongst the various commission agents. Carrying and forwarding agents (CFA) and retailers/wholesalers purchased eggs from the commission agents. Smaller trucks (tempos or Matadors) or cycles were used by the CFAs to ferry the eggs to the wholesaler and retailers. It must be noted that some of the wholesalers and retailers purchased eggs directly from the commission agents while others purchased from the CFAs. It is also interesting to note that those wholesalers/ retailers who purchased directly from the commission agents traded in significantly larger volumes than those purchasing from CFAs.

The CFAs enjoyed a 5-7% margin. The wholesalers/retailers had a margin of 8-13% while purchasing from the CFAs and a margin of 15-20% while purchasing from the commission agents directly. The end consumer, both institutional and individual, purchased eggs from the wholesaler or the retailer. The retail price of eggs is Rs. 3.00, with minor variations. Discounts of 20-25 paise were offered for bulk purchases (excess of 200 eggs Egg Standards EGG STANDARDS OF AUSTRALIA ESA is a voluntary quality assurance program, replacing the previous egg industry program Egg Corp Assured (ECA). It has been developed through an extensive consultation process and represents a robust, credible and workable QA standard that meets the needs of regulators and retailers. ESA is a practical mechanism for delivering more consistent quality outcomes across the egg industry and provides the framework to demonstrate compliance. ESA provides greater clarity and a more robust set of compliance standards that have been independently reviewed against current Australian retailer and regulatory requirements. ESA has been developed (based on the principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)) to provide a compliance framework for egg producers and processors in meeting the needs of regulators, retailers, farmers and egg buyers in areas including hen welfare, egg quality, biosecurity, food safety, work health and safety and environmental management. There are two components to ESA covering the rearing of day-old chicks up to the packing of eggs to supply. ESA for Rearing and Laying Farms covers the industry practices relating to day old chicks or started pullets to the farm, up to the point of removal of started pullets, spent hens and eggs for human consumption from the farm. This component can be used for the following types of egg production systems: Cage, Barn and Free Range. ESA for Grading and Packing Floors covers the general requirements for the collection, grading, washing, packing and delivery of shell eggs as well as the hygienic manufacture, storage, packaging and distribution of egg pulp and egg products for sale or supply for human consumption only. PROOF PROOF is an Australian certification program for free range, pastured eggs, pork, chicken, beef and lamb from animals that have been raised on pasture in open fields.

The focus of PROOF certification is the on farm management of livestock in a farming system that provides unrestricted daytime access to actively managed, pastured range areas in an environment that encourages purposeful use of those areas. The program is underpinned by standards that provide transparency and easy to understand information to our customers. On 26th April 2017 the Australian Consumer Law (Free Range Egg Labelling) Information Standard 2017 came into force. This standard requires eggs labelled as free range to have been laid by hens with meaningful and regular access to the outdoors and with an outdoor stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare or fewer. The information standard will also require producers to prominently disclose the outdoor stocking density of hens laying free range eggs, allowing consumers to easily compare the practices of different egg producers. A quick look at the new Free Range Egg Standard Producers will have 12 months to make themselves compliant with this new legislation. Stocking Density A maximum of 10,000 birds per hectare that have access to an outdoor range during the laying cycle. To be compliant with labelling and display requirements, producers will not need to state their precise stocking density as at a point in time. Non accessible areas of the range are not intended to be included in the stocking rate calculation but must be based on the minimum size of an outdoor range and the maximum size of a flock. The area is based on the range to which the hens have access to across the laying cycle. This is not intended to include any other area in which the hens may be kept. Meaning of the term free range Meaningful and regular access to an outdoor range during daylight hours during the laying cycle Hens were able to roam and forage on the outdoor range Stocking density of 10,000 hens or less per hectare Meaningful and regular access Producers are not required to ensure that hens go outside during daylight hours every day across the laying cycle Producers are required to provide conditions which provide access to and encourage use of an outdoor range on a regular basis Requirements that access must be meaningful and regular suggests that access in not intended to be absolute

The following occasions that may prevent access to the range will be disregarded: Hens undergoing next box training Weather conditions endangering health and safety of hens Hens would have been exposed to predators Hens were being medicated or otherwise cared for Exceptional circumstances that posed significant risk to the safety and health of the hens Display requirements Stocking density must be prominently display on the packaging so that the person reading the label can easily read it (note: there are so specifications for font size or type) ·Stocking rates may be displayed using different variants to per hectare such as hens per m2, hens per square metre or square metres per hen. Recommendations The microenterprise loan and value chain development measures might be important tools that would help the poor to be sustainable by establishing microenterprises, to raise themselves out of poverty, and help to create job opportunities for a large number of less educated poor people, especially in rural areas.

The existence of a well-developed infrastructure for the poultry value chain, including transport, services, inputs and information, is needed. A strong value chain where links between the actors are profitable is critical to the sustainable development of the sector. Sustainability and growth of all the allied production oriented farms, such as breeder farms, hatcheries, feed mills, and medicine companies, are strongly linked to the growth of the poultry industry. The profitability in commercial poultry production depends not only on efficient production, but also on successful marketing of the produce. The farmer should consider the marketability of the produce (poultry meat or eggs) to ensure a reasonable profit margin, by choosing a proper location for the farm. Production techniques include proper planning in choosing the location, proper design of the poultry houses, arranging for quality inputs such as chicks and feed, adopting appropriate rearing techniques, and taking adequate disease-control measures, to ensure high efficiency and productivity.

Farmers require specific conditions for a successful outcome, such as the existence of a strong value chain, and favorable geographic, climate, and price conditions. The farms should be located close to accessible roads, to allow access to large delivery trucks, and near to support service providers, such as local government offices and NGOs. Farmers should consider their proximity to feed mills/feed supply shops/markets. Farmers should follow the terms and conditions of the national poultry development policy, with regard to establishment of the farms. The establishment of feed mills in the district should be encouraged, since poultry farms’ productivity depends greatly on nutritious balanced feed and, as stated before, about 70% of the total poultry production cost is spent on poultry feed. The government can take necessary steps to ensure proper and timely distribution, and marketing of quality chicks, balanced feed, vaccines and medicines among the farmers. Microcredit providers should make a policy of lending in such a way that no potential entrepreneur is excluded from receiving a microenterprise loan.

Training on scientific methods of poultry-rearing, management of poultry farms, marketing products, medication and vaccination, should be provided to the farmers. Proper initiatives should be taken by the Livestock Department of the Government, to provide intensive training courses, if possible free, to the farmers, especially in regions where clusters of poultry farms have been developed. The Government should take initiatives so that public and private insurance companies introduce poultry insurance, to protect the farmers from losses in the wake of avian influenza or other natural disasters. The implementation of poultry insurance would encourage

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The Third Largest Producer of Eggs in the World. (2021, Apr 03). Retrieved October 1, 2022 , from
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