Jammu and Kashmir spends around Rs 1,200 crore every year on imports of items related to the poultry sector.
A roadmap for poultry development in J&K is one among the 29 projects that were approved by the Jammu and Kashmir administration. These projects were recommended by a committee for holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors worth over Rs 5,000 crore.
“Every year the Union Territory experiences a flight of capital on account of poultry imports to the tune of Rs 1,273 crore. Among these table eggs account for Rs 473 crore, day-old chicks for Rs 110 crore, poultry feed worth Rs 300 crore and broiler birds for Rs 390 crore,” additional chief secretary, agricultural production department, Atal Dulloo told PTI.
He said that this can be an opportunity for setting up local enterprises and creating jobs for the educated youth.
“A total of 420 enterprises and 4,250 direct jobs are being created under this project over the next five years,” Dulloo added.
To put the poultry sector on the path of sustainability and self-reliance, the agriculture production department has approved a “roadmap for poultry development in J&K” under its mission for holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors in the Union Territory, he said.
“The new interventions under the roadmap shall boost the gross output of the poultry sector in J&K from Rs 709 crore to Rs 1,982 crore per year and ensure that the poultry industry is well-positioned for continued growth and development in the coming years,” Dulloo said.
According to officials, the Union Territory imports 440 lakh day-old chicks every year worth Rs 110 crore.
To overcome this, 125 parent breeding farms (each 3,000-parent capacity), with hatcheries and in-house feed manufacturing plants, will be established within a span of five years each having a production capacity of 4 lakh day-old chicks, they said.
“The project encompasses all the three verticals in the poultry industry including producing day-old broiler chicken to feed the broiler industry, establishing layer farms in intensive and free-range mode to meet the demands for eggs and boost quality feed manufacture through establishment of feed processing units,” said Dr Azmat Alam Khan, Professor in Poultry Sciences said.
Similarly, Jammu and Kashmir spends Rs 473 crore on import of table eggs annually. These eggs again are imported from far and wide and on average reach J&K after 15-30 days of being laid, he added. Under the project 200-layer farms, each of 10,000 bird capacity are being established to produce 60 crore eggs within a span of five years, the officials said.
One of the main challenges being faced by poultry farmers in Jammu and Kashmir is the high cost of feed, which can make production expensive, they said.
To address this issue, the approved project has set a target of producing 85,000 metric tonnes of poultry feed in five years by establishing 35 units (7 feed units per year) of 1 tonne per hour capacity, they said.