Official calls for proper classification, certification of desi poultry for inclusion in rural livestock mission

Published - September 27, 2023 11:34 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

 Animal Husbandry Commissioner Abhijit Mitra speaking at the National Consultation Meet for desi backyard poultry parctices in India in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday,.

Animal Husbandry Commissioner Abhijit Mitra speaking at the National Consultation Meet for desi backyard poultry parctices in India in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday,. | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

Animal Husbandry Commissioner Abhijit Mitra has asked the representatives of Watershed Support Services and Activities Network (WASSAN), an NGO, working in the area of ‘desi Backyard Poultry (BYP) development’ to define the ‘desi fowl’ and its recognition to enable taking policy decision on the indigenous breeds.

Addressing the delegates on the second day of the two-day national consultation on ‘Desi Backyard Poultry’, organised by the Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network (RRAN) with the support of TRICOR, Tribal Welfare Department, Government of AP, here, on Wednesday, Mr. Mitra appreciated the initiatives of WASSAN and the rural and tribal poultry farmers, dealing with desi poultry production at the village-level.

He also suggested that desi poultry meat analysis has to be done for its nutritional facts, particularly fat content and tenderness. He also spoke about certification of desi chicken, carbon credit linkages, climate change issue and circular economy. He also touched upon the importance of poultry cooperatives and their technical feasibility and economical viability for bank linkages. He also asked WASSAN to develop a concept note on ‘desi poultry’ to incorporate into the national rural livestock mission.

The meeting discussed experiences from onground projects on desi BYP farm and poultry programmes such as NRUM, SRLM and NLM.

Desi BYPs primarily practised in rural, tribal and forest hamlets of India. While India’s commercial poultry population has increased by a mere 4.5% since the previous Livestock Census, the backyard poultry has increased by 45.79%. Despite a promising future, absence of proper ecosystem support services to ensure steady supply of native poultry breed chicks, protect night shelters and foraging sites to reduce predation loss and deliver last-mile healthcare for preventable diseases to reduce mortality and imparting technical know-how to poultry rearers, have been holding the holding the sector from growing to its full potential.

According to the 20th Livestock Census, 82% of the total desi fowl population is unregistered, which means a vast majority of the desi chicken poultry in the country are subjected to low policy attention and public investments.

Desi BYP consumes lesser antibiotics, and feeds a diverse and naturally foraged and unprocessed diet. It is a gateway to addressing rising health consciousness and demand for clean meat among Indians. It is also provides an opportunity to ensure local availability of protein through meat and eggs in rural, tribal and upland areas, with low market connectivity.

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