Introduction to KashmirForum.org Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.
www.kashmirforum.org

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Emerging Opportunities in the Poultry Meat Processing Industry

Altaf says that the poultry meat processing industry in Kashmir can offer ample employment opportunities to educated youth

(Dr. Altaf Gilani, 39, was born in Srinagar, and attended the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic (DAV) School in Jawahar Nagar, Srinagar. After his graduation from the school, he completed his college studies from the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Kashmir in Srinagar. As a professional Veterinarian, he is employed by the J&K government as the Poultry Extension Officer in Srinagar.)


Broiler industry in Kashmir

Our State is badly hit by unemployment and it is assuming enormous proportions with every passing day. Youth, after finishing their education, prefer government jobs, but due to limited capacity, the state government cannot provide jobs to most of them. To counter the problems we can turn to the self employment schemes. This provides us with plenty of avenues to absorb the educated unemployed youth. The poultry industry is one of the activities which could generate employment.

As poultry production is a prime example of a vertically integrated agricultural industry, with intensive rearing systems of birds of efficient feed conversion ratios and products of handy size and ready marketability, it is not surprising that it is currently showing the strongest growth in the output of any category of meat. World-wide, it is a huge industry. The National Committee on Human Nutrition in India has recommended per capita availability of 180 eggs (one egg every two days) and 10.8 kgs of meat per year in comparison to the present availability of 33 eggs and 630 grams of poultry meat at the national level. This shows that there is implausible scope for growth. It is estimated that, at present, Indian poultry industry contribution to the GDP is about Rs. 300 billion.

The present set up in our State is unlikely to meet the challenges thrown open by the changing lifestyle of the common Kashmiri and the expected rumble in the tourism industry. A holistic approach towards the issue will lead us to the conclusion that such an enterprising industry is dependant on imports which are increasing with every passing day and the situation will go out of hand, if not taken care of at the earliest. Presently due to non-availability of requisite infrastructure, the economy gets drained to outside States and the middlemen enjoy the swag. As per the latest data available, about 350 lakh birds are being annually consumed in Kashmir province alone, while as about 125 lakh birds are being produced locally including 15 lakh of backyard poultry which is indicative of substantial imports of about 65 per cent from outside Valley. Annually, economy in the order of Rs. 400 crores from Kashmir Valley is being sapped to outside States for the poultry imports. The huge production potential of poultry needs to be harnessed by the unemployed youth which is capable of generation of employment to thousands in our Valley alone.

The demand and supply gap has to be met by local production involving unemployed youth for which the associated activities of the Animal Husbandry Department in creating general awareness about this promising enterprise needs to be reinforced. At the secretarial level, the status of an industry needs to be granted to the poultry for attracting the educated unemployed youth towards this activity wherein various incentives available under predictable industrialized poultry sector could be made available to the farmers.

Poultry industry is a large sector which covers activities such as:

• Breeding of foundation stocks including pure line and grand parent stocks and hatcheries.
• New technology in poultry housing viz environmental control houses, automatic feeding and watering systems, sprinklers and foggers for cooling, gas brooding, feed pellet production, pollution control systems etc.
• Vertical integration systems for broiler production, processing and marketing.
• Commercial broiler production.
• Duck and Turkey.
• Poultry meat processing plants of different capacities.
• Poultry fast food joints.
• Poultry feed manufacturing plants.
• Poultry disease diagnostic laboratories.

The local poultry industry has to meet the biggest challenge of high cost of inputs which is mainly due to imports of feed and feed ingredients from outside States. A long term plan and campaign on “grow more maize” backed by incentive prices for farmers is required. At farmers level, extension education to prevent wastage of poultry feed is necessary. If a farmer can manufacture his own feed, the savings can be obtained to the extent of Rs. 2000 per ton.

In our Valley, consumer preference is increasing for “clean”, “safe”, “hygienic” “nutritious” and “properly packed, labeled and presentable” food items including poultry meat. Introduction of modern state of the art technology in processing, packaging, labeling, preservation of poultry meat and meat products is required to improve quality for domestic markets. The open market retail outlets are mostly unsanitary and the birds are slaughtered in extremely grimy conditions paving way for serious public health hazards. The situation is further complicated by disposal of offal and feathers in the open providing feast for scavenging dogs which outnumber local human population in many areas resulting in the emergence of many zoonotic diseases. The apprehension of pandemic avian flu demand stern action against the peril of local on-shop unhygienic slaughter of birds.

According to a recent study, poultry meat is the fastest growing animal protein in India. It has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 12 per cent in the last 11 years and is expected to continue growing at similar rates in the near future. In distinction, the growth of broiler industry in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is just a meager 1.9 per cent per annum owing to it being chiefly unorganized and the processing sector being totally mislaid. The poultry meat processing industry thus offers a bright prospect in our Valley keeping in view its potential for growth.

3 comments:

MUHAZZAB said...

Assalamu Alaikum

Are there any incentives for Kashmiri NRIs

Regards,

Altaf said...

Mr. Muhazzab,
The incentives and other facilities for the Poultry Meat Processing Industry can be had from the official website of Ministry of Food Processing, Government of India and Meat and Poultry Meat Board of India established very recently.

Warm regards,

Dr. Altaf Gilani

naseer said...

A/A how many commercial poultry farms are there in j&k. can I have their district wise break-up.