Every community in the world is responsible to provide its residents adequate food and guarantee them freedom from hunger and malnutrition.
It becomes especially important when about 15-20 per cent of the world population is still unable to obtain sufficient food to meet minimum nutritional requirements for a healthy and productive life.
The current poor nutritional status is due to lack of sufficient energy and protein in the food. A balanced diet is essential for good health, vigour and productive capacity of the people. Protein plays an important role in the formation of balanced human diet. There are mainly two origins of proteins, animal and plant.
The human diet in Pakistan is deficient with respect to proteins of animal origin. At present 66 per cent of the people are deficient in protein. The requirement of protein is 102.7 gram per head per day while the available protein is 69.61 gram per head per day. The gap in requirement of protein is 33.09 gram. The main source of animal protein is beef, mutton, milk, poultry meat and eggs.
In developing countries like Pakistan where the population is growing at a faster rate, the gap in production of food especially of animal origin is widening year after year.
The animal protein shortage seems still more grave especially when it is compared with the protein intake of various developed countries like U.S.A., Canada, Germany, France, Japan and U.K., where consumption of protein is 79-95 gram per capita per day of which 46-65 gram is protein of vegetable origin.
The nutrition dilemma demands a special focus to overcome the existing deficiencies with particular reference to protein deficiency and availability from animal source.
To overcome the animal protein gap, poultry meat seems to offer much better prospects. It is capable of providing protein in terms of quality and can narrow the animal protein supply gap in minimum possible time as compared to other sources of animal protein.
Until 1964, poultry production was a cottage industry in Pakistan. The management and production on modern scientific lines was not known and disease control measures were also not sufficient.
In 1964, PIA shaver laid the foundation of commercial poultry production by introducing new and improved breeds of layers and broilers and by Lever Brothers with production of poultry feed on modern lines.
Government on her part, exempted this industry from income tax and sales tax, allowed export of table eggs, day old chicks and broiler on subsidized rates. Poultry production now has emerged as a good substitute of beef and mutton.
This table shows that poultry is developing in our country in spite of problems this industry is facing. However, along with this expansion, the poultry raisers lament the low economic returns on their products and consumers in street protest against high cost of poultry which is due to high marketing margin.
The poultry industry faces problems like the incidence of diseases, substandard and costly feed and inefficient marketing system. In all stages of development, there is a need for improving the efficiency and lowering the cost of distribution.
An economical marketing system can help the producers sell their products at reasonable prices and the consumers to buy their needs at minimum cost. If we want to survive in post-WTO scenario, we should give emphasis on quality and price. In a competitive environment only those products will be accepted by consumers which are of good quality and are also available at reasonable price.
Losses occur in case of death of birds due to diseases and poor handling. Grading is largely ignored in egg trade because of extra cost required for grading. Transportation is the most important component of marketing system. In economic sense, transportation means the moving of goods from surplus production areas to deficient areas.
For marketing of eggs and birds, the commission agents and retailers use various means of transportation to take produce to the market. Bicycle, motorcycle, wagons and donkey carts are being used for transportation.
The higher losses during transportation are due to longer distance, bumpy roads and lack of modern packing techniques. Poultry farmers don’t get fair returns. They put a lot of effort in increasing and developing their business but the commission agents usually get the produce from them at low prices and earn a lot of profit by selling at a higher price.
Poultry farmers should do their job both as producer as well as commission agents. So, they can earn more profit out of their business. To improve the present marketing system of poultry, following suggestions may be helpful:
• To curtail breakage losses, packing and distribution system should be modernized
• Government should take immediate steps to improve the roads, for timely and quickly delivery of produce.
• To enhance economic viability of the poultry industry, the prices of feed and medicines should be kept within reasonable limits.
• Poultry coordination boards should be established at federal as well as provincial level to stabilize and maintain quality prices.
• Lack of grading at farm level dos not promote the quality of eggs at a price premium. So practice of grading at producer’s level would be encouraged and price information on the basis of grades and standards should be regularly collected and disseminated.
• Inadequate health facilities are one of the major constraints in poultry production. It is due to viral, bacterial infection and parasitic infestation. For this, a long run vaccination and de-worming campaign policy should be started at national level.
• Government should construct veterinary laboratory for drug residue testing in the poultry products. This will ensure quality in exported products.
• Steps should be taken to improve sanitary and hygienic conditions of birds casing processing units.