Indian Poultry Science Association organized its XXXVII Conference (IPSACON 2022) and National Symposium

Indian Poultry Science Association organized its XXXVII Conference (IPSACON 2022) and National Symposium from 4 to 6 November at U.P. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Pashu Chikitsa Vigyan Vishwavidyalaya Evam Go Anusandhan Sansthan (DUVASU), Mathura.

The theme of IPSACON 2022 was “Recent Advances in Sustainable Poultry Production for Livelihood and Nutritional Security,” and the conference opened with an invocation of Water conservation and Goddess Saraswati Vandana.

This was followed by welcome addresses by Prof. A.K. Srivastava,  Honorable Vice-Chancellor, DUVASU; Prof. P.K. Shukla, Chairman & Organising Secretary IPSACON 2022; Prof. A.S. Ranade, President, IPSA and Dr. A.S. Tyagi, General Secretary, IPSA.

Welcoming all dignitaries and delegates to Lord Krishna’s birthplace, Prof. P.K. Shukla said that College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Mathura is proud to host IPSACON 2022 especially since the college is celebrating its 75 years of its inception. He stressed that in the current context of protein deficiency and malnutrition, particularly amongst children, poultry and poultry products play a major role in their alleviation. This makes IPSACON 2022 a very important and relevant conference. The objective of scientists and academicians related to poultry science should be to provide eggs and chicken meat at the most reasonable cost to address the issue of protein deficiency and malnutrition, added Prof. Shukla. He also highlighted how backyard poultry farming has been a boon for the rural populace, both to provide food as well the importance of  poultry and chicken  eggs in providing  an inexpensive source of protein for  a protein-deficient nation like India. Though India is the 3rd largest egg and 4th largest poultry meat producer in the world, per capita availability is very low. Prof. Ranade urged the farmers and poultry industry to increase production. He also said that IPSA had expanded its activities to extension work and education. IPSA is now working towards the establishment of a separate Poultry Science department in every veterinary college in the country to give a much needed boost to the sector.

Dr. J.S.Tyagi gave a detailed account of the various developmental activities of IPSA including its various awards. IPSA Lifetime Achievement Award 2022 and IPSA Fellowship Awards were conferred during the inaugural session.

Prof A.K. Srivastava began his address by welcoming Governor of Uttar Pradesh and Chancellor of DUVASU, Hon’ble Anandiben Patel who joined the inaugural session via video conferencing. He also welcomed all guests and dignitaries. He hoped that the current conference would be a landmark one for the poultry sector. He said that while egg and chicken production had grown manifold over the years, consumption still remains low at 91 eggs per capita against a recommended 180 eggs per capita. In a state like Uttar Pradesh, per capita consumption is as low as 15 eggs per year.

Highlighting the timelines, Prof. Srivastava said that the 1970s was the era of enhancing egg and milk production; the 1980s entry of private sector into the poultry business; 1990s beginning of automation in the industry and the 2000s is the era of processing, value addition and exports. He further said that private enterprise had played a major role in the development of the poultry sector and commands hold over 70% of the total poultry market. However, the 30% backyard poultry that exists is extremely important in providing nutritional security to the rural population. He reiterated the importance of eggs in combating protein deficiency and malnutrition in India. Chicken is 94% of all poultry in the country. Prof. Srivastava added that the issues that need to be tackled in respect of the poultry sector is the ever-increasing cost of feed; over dependence on soya, maize and other grains and the general perception that live meat is nutritionally better than processed meat. He concluded that nutrition is very important in the first 1000 days of a child’s life – eggs and poultry meat must be provided to pregnant women and after one year of a child’s birth, he or she must be fed eggs.

Chancellor of DUVASU and Hon’ble Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Anandiben Patel addressed the gathering via video conferencing. She said that it is the responsibility of scientists in the country to work towards advancement of the agriculture and livestock sectors since these sectors ensure nutritional security of the population. She added that poultry was one of the more remunerative businesses in the agriculture domain and contributes greatly to income and employment generation while it also takes care of the problem of protein deficiency and malnutrition. She encouraged rural women to take up backyard farming to become nutritionally and economically secure. She also expressed concern that the protein deficiency among pregnant women and children is not reducing. Malnutrition is the cause of most diseases in pregnant women and children, added Hon’ble Chancellor. She said that such seminars were needed on a regular basis to ensure increase in production of eggs and chicken in the country. The Chancellor congratulated the Vice Chancellor and team of DUVASU for having done sterling work during the Lumpy Skin Disease phase. She also commented on the progressive research and work being done by DUVASU in the area of goat genetics and artificial insemination. Goat sperm prepared by the laboratory facility at DUVASU is now being procured by multiple states. She encouraged sales of goat milk and milk products like paneer which are highly nutritious. The Chancellor requested the university authorities to devote more time and efforts on cows as, in her opinion, not enough work has been done in this area. She also mentioned that a centre for tackling African Swine Fever has been set up at DUVASU.

The Keynote Address of IPSACON 2022 was delivered by Tarun Shridhar, Former Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India. His address, titled, “Let us count the chickens before they are hatched” delved into the origin of the domesticated chicken, its scientific progress and its likely future. Quoting Mark Twain, Shridhar said “Prophesy is a good line of business, but it is full of risks.” However, given its past and current status, the future augurs well for the poultry business. With India poised to being the most populous country soon, it will have the largest consumer base for poultry and poultry products – a huge opportunity for the industry. Shridhar also spoke about how a bird with limited flying ability has spread across the world purely related to human migration. He then traced the progress of the chicken from the backyard to the first commercial broiler production in 1926 by Wilmer Steele of Delaware, USA. This was the genesis of confined housing, cage systems, improved layers etc. This also led to mortality falling from 40% to 5%. Since the size of chickens is comparatively smaller, they quickly gained importance and wide adoption in livestock farming spurring supporting activities such as hatcheries and feed manufacturing units.

Subsequently, chicken transformed from being a luxury food to staple food. As demand rose due to refrigeration technology, demand for poultry surged. Shridhar went on to say that placing occasional hiccups like disease outbreaks aside, the poultry business has had a smooth run so far and the trend is likely to continue. Currently chickens now account for 80% of the land animals living on farms, added Shridhar. Quoting published data, Shridhar said that in the OECD countries from the 1990s, while the consumption of beef and pork has remained largely stagnant, that of chicken has increased 70%. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), per capita demand of poultry would register a growth of 271% in South Asia, 116% in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 97% in the Middle East and North Africa and 91% in East Asia and the Pacific during the period from 2000 to 2030. Shridhar signed off by saying “the chicken shall continue to roost and, more importantly, continue to comfort and soothe our body and soul, through the palate of course. Let us inhale the fragrance and savour the taste of poultry’s future”.

In his lead paper titled, “Eggonomics – How to Make Rs. 150 –Rs. 200 more per Bird” , Suresh Chitturi, Chairman International Egg Commission and Managing Director, Srinivasa Farms explained the demand side pressure on poultry prices and compared poultry prices with feed input prices. The disproportionate prices changes are impacting farmers’ profitability and they have no control over it. The only way to maintain or increase profitability is through increased productivity via right breed selection. According to Chitturi, rising health consciousness, popularity of frozen meat and developments in organized retail are driving growth of protein rich food products. The poultry sector is growing faster than the agriculture sector. However, Chitturi added that on the supply side, disruptions are occurring like input prices, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine war. These factors are pushing up prices of poultry products. Chitturi explained through comparative charts how a farmer can earn INR 150 to INR 200 extra per bird by just selecting the right breed leading to improved productivity.

O.P. Singh, Managing Director, Huvepharma SEA (Pune) Pvt. Ltd. presented a lead paper on “Poultry Economics and Marketing.” According to him if value added agriculture is going to drive the economy of the country, the veterinarians will be at the forefront. With the growing population and projected growth of feed requirement, the challenge is how to provide the desired inputs. He questioned the government’s proactiveness in tackling the issues faced by the poultry sector – the first LPAI outbreak was in 2002 and the decision to use LPAI vaccines was taken in 2022! He went onto say that it is the individual initiative and determination of the poultry industry that is making it feed the nation. Singh also reacted to the stand that poultry contributes to AMR. His opinion was that with the current consumption numbers of chicken  and eggs in the country, the antibiotic residue is  miniscule and insignificant, particularly in a scenario  where 47% of antibiotics consumed by humans in  India is without prescription. He raised the issue of pesticide residues in wheat, rice, packaged drinking water – how come that is never questioned? Does the Government have a national action plan to tackle that? Why does the poultry industry always have to bear the brunt? He urged veterinarians to raise their voices against this negative propaganda towards the poultry industry. This is despite the fact that the industry contributes significantly to GNP, rural employment and agriculture. Addressing the poultry industry, Singh said that while the focus has been on production enhancement and expansion, the industry hasn’t paid heed to the changing complexion and demands of the market. Singh displayed interesting data to show that states which were predominantly vegetarian like Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan are producing large volumes of egg and chicken even if there is limited local consumption. This is leading to excess production. He added that by and large, the Indian poultry industry runs on perceptions. However, going forward, he warned that business plans and strategies need to be worked on and followed for long term success. In our country, protein for human consumption is majorly sourced from cereals. If poultry and poultry products are indeed the protein powerhouse that they claim to be, a huge market exists then, said Singh. International trade is a big opportunity for the Indian poultry industry and must be seriously explored, he added. He further said that consumption patterns and trends have to become a science that will drive the industry. Giving the example of the massive increase in the number of QSRs and their sales, Singh pointed out a change occurring in the market. He called the scientists to focus their attention on these changing trends in the food business. Research needs to be oriented towards being applied in the market/ industry. Singh concluded by highlighting transparency as the absolute necessity in the food business. 

Charismatic speaker, Dr. Mahesh P.S., Joint Commissioner, Government of India and Director, CPDO & TI, Bangalore addressed the delegates on “Shaping the Future of Poultry Sector in the New Decade 2020-2030.” In his presentation Dr. Mahesh began with the altering world scenario due to climatic changes. He said that future wars could be as a result of water scarcity. He highlighted the agriculture sector as the one to give the biggest boost to the Indian economy. Dr. Mahesh spoke about the diversity in eating habits across India. He also said that people were rediscovering their traditional dishes which were balanced meals. He added that it is recommended to have 1 g of protein per kg. of body weight. High protein diet will obviate the need to have carbohydrates. This is good for overall health and weight control, added Dr. Mahesh.

He said that for protein and minerals, one should have eggs, not medicine or supplements. He said that post-independence, to ensure enough food grains, wheat was produced in the north and rice in the south. This made India self-reliant and also export oriented but, according to him, somewhere people forgot about proteins. He showcased that Bangalore is USA in India with a per capita annual egg consumption of 270. He also said that Indian meat consumption is growing in double digits and the poultry sector cannot be ignored. Dr. Mahesh added that the processing sector was growing and gearing up for a revolution but still 95% of the poultry market is for live birds. He spoke in length about technology adoption and introduction of automation by the Indian poultry industry. He also showcased some entrepreneurs who were doing new and innovative work in the poultry sector. Other stalwarts who made presentations during the three days conference included Prof. A.S. Ranade, Associate Dean, Bombay Veterinary College; Dr. S.K. Bhanja, Principal Scientist, ICAR–CARI, Izatnagar; Dr. Sandeep Dwivedi, E.W. Nutrition; Dr. V.K.Saxena, Assistant Director General, AB&P, ICAR, New Delhi; Dr. Sujit K. Dutta, Joint Commissioner, National Livestock Mission; Dr. T. Kotiah, Managing Director, Indbro Research Farms Pvt. Ltd.; Dr. T. Aruna Kumar, Former Editor in Chief, Indian Journal of Animal Science; Dr. A.K. Tiwari, Director, ICAR-CARI, Izatnagar; Dr. Amit K. Sharma, Director, FSSAI; Dr. Tanveer Alam, Director, Indian Institute of Packaging and Dr. Jeevan Sonwane, Director, Novelvet Farm Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Poster sessions were carried out parallel to the main sessions.

Vibrant and high energy cultural programmes were organised on the first and second days. The first day saw a high energy performance showcasing the music and culture of Brajhoomi and revolved around stories of Lord Krishna and Radha. On the second day, students of DUVASU put up a brilliant cultural show for the delegates of IPSACON 2022. They were joined by some members of the faculty and delegates.

 The valedictory function of IPSACON 2022 was graced by Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Hema Malini. She congratulated the scientific community for their research which helps augment the incomes of marginal farmers, weaker sections of society and women. She was happy that IPSACON 2022 brought together scientists, policy makers and industry representatives. She also appreciated DUVASU’s work on goat farming and how it would help society. She added that Uttar Pradesh Government has launched a scheme to help people set up poultry farms. This will also help agricultural farmers set up livestock and poultry farms to augment their incomes. This is a step towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of doubling farmers’ incomes, said Hema Malini.

Valedictory Awards were presented in various categories. Prof. Ranade also highlighted in the capacity of Dean Mumbai Veterinary College and President of Indian Poultry Science Association (IPSA) would IPSA would like to congratulate the entire team of DUVASU. He said ‘Heartiest congratulations and a big thank you to one and all involved in the arrangements of the conference’. Honorable Vice-Chancellor, Dr. A K. Srivastava, Chairman and Organizing Secretary and Dean Prof. P. K. Shukla, Co-organizing Secretary Dr. Amitav Bhattacharyya, Treasurer Dr. Manish Kumar Singh, Chairpersons of different committees and student volunteers received loads of appreciation from all the delegates present in the conference.