Tuesday, 30 May, 2023

Foul play of big fowl owners!

Poultry farming is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country that provides people’s nutritional security, especially to the poor. The poultry sector is a powerful tool for subsidiary income generation for many landless and marginal farmers in rural areas. It is also reducing poverty level in both rural and urban areas by employing jobless youths in greater numbers. This sector fulfils a significant part of the demand of protein and nutrition. Enhancing supply of quality protein to people’s meals, it also contributes appreciably towards the country’s economic growth. In recent times, the demand for egg and meat has expanded dramatically with population growth and dietary changes. Chicken is popular because it is relatively affordable and can be eaten by people of all religions.

Recognising the fact, the government has encouraged the private sector for development of poultry industry. The commercial poultry production started in the 1980s. The industry is now booming as the production of chicken has increased by manifold. Poultry industry now represents a massive success story. Small scale poultry production has contributed immensely in the total industry. For the sake of the country’s economy, we shall have to protect the small and marginal poultry farmers. But we have been stunned reading the lead story of this newspaper’s Business section yesterday. It is that the small chicken farmers are being bullied by big poultry owners.

It has been reported that thirty large breeding companies, by creating a syndicate, has abnormally increased the prices of one-day aged chicken and poultry feed to keep small farmers out of production. In the process, they have virtually taken control of the entire poultry sector. Because of their foul play, one lakh marginal farmers have already shut down their farms as they could not survive the unfair competition. It is a bad omen in the poultry sector. The phenomenon has posed a real threat to the country’s vital sector. The government must immediately come forward in the form of intervention. It should do the needful to protect the small and marginal poultry farmers by formulating effective policies.

There should be a proper rule so that small farmers are not treated unfairly by big poultry companies. The authorities concerned must fix the trade price of one-day chicken and poultry feed. There should also be a provision of punishment to the rule violators.