In the wake of chicken leg import, the Indian poultry sector requested the Indian Prime Minister to abstain from the reported move to reduce import duty on imported chicken legs from the current 100 per cent to 30 per cent as it would adversely hit millions of poultry farmers as well as maize and soyabean farmers in the country.
The contribution of poultry products to the Indian GDP is estimated to be over Rs 1,00,000 crore per annum and India is the second largest producer of eggs in the world with production of 88 billion eggs per year and third largest in broilers and is the only country having a consistent growth in the agriculture and allied sector at 7-8 per cent per annum for the last three decades, it said.
“This sector generates direct employment to over 2 million small and marginal farmers in the rural villages and indirectly to over 5 million rural households,” said a statement issued by G Ranjith Reddy, President, Telangana Poultry Breeders Association (TPBA).
“Prime Minister of India is motivating the farmers to move towards non-crop activities such as poultry and other livestock products for better income to reduce pressure on land and irrigation and in effort to double the farmers income. According to the media sources, under pressure from the US, Government of India is being forced to reduce the duties on import of chicken legs from the prevailing rate of 100 per cent to 30 per cent along with Bourbon Whiskey and Harley Davidson Motorbikes,” Reddy, who is also an MP and CMD of SR Hatcheries Pvt Ltd, said.
He said this reduction in customs duty will not only destroy indian poultry industry but also the soyabean and maize growers as well as the poultry is the main consumer for maize and soya meal.
“….Maize and soya meal prices will crash and we cannot compete in international market for these crops due to lower price as a result of huge farm subsidies given in the US/ Brazil for maize and soyabean. This will badly affect the farming community defeating the objective of doubling farmers’ income,” he said.
In India, maize and soyabean are grown approximately 79 and 112 Lakh hectares respectively in kharif and this will cause huge unrest among farmers as there is no alternative crop for them, Reddy said.
WHO recommends consumption of eggs and chicken for addressing protein malnutrition and partial blindness prevailing widely amongst rural poor in India. India’s per capita consumption is only 68 eggs and 3.5 kgs chicken a year way below the National Institute of Nutrition recommendation of 180 Eggs and 11 kg chicken.