Rural Poultry Projects In Kerala

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Information about Rural Poultry Projects In Kerala

Published on November 23, 2009

Author: drdgmmrm



Review of Rural Poultry Projects in two Panchayaths of Thrissur in Kerala


2 Indira Gandhi national Open University, Maidan Garhi, NewDelhi

3 The relevance of backyard and small scale poultry projects to sustainable livelihood in two Panchayaths in Thrissur District

4 CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY This is to certify that the project report entitled “The relevance of backyard and small scale poultry projects to sustainable livelihood in two Panchayaths in Thrissur District” submitted to the Indira Gandhi National Open University, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi – 110068 in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the programme is an original work carried out by Deepa G Menon with enrolment no 093569130 under the guidance of Dr P Anitha. The matter embodied in this project is genuine work done by the student and has not been submitted either to this University or to any other University / Institute for the fulfilment of the requirement of any course of study. Date:25/05/09 Name Address & Designation of the student Name and Address of the Guide Deepa G Menon Dr P Anitha Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Department of Poultry Science, Centre for Advanced Studies in Kerala Agricultural University, Poultry Science, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Kerala Kerala Agricultural University, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Kerala

5 Acknowledgements I would like to express my deep and sincere gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. P Anitha Associate Professor Department of Poultry Science, College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Mannuthy. Her understanding, encouraging and personal guidance have provided a good basis for the present thesis. I wish to express my warm and sincere thanks to Professor E Nanu, Dean, College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Mannuthy for permitting me to join this course. I am deeply grateful to my Professors Dr. A Jalaludeen and Dr. P A. Peethambaran, Centre for Advanced Studies in Poultry Science for their detailed, constructive comments and important support throughout this work. I owe my most sincere gratitude to Dr U S. Ramachandran, whose ideals and concepts have had a remarkable influence on my entire career. I am thankful to Dr P D Suresh, Dr Baburaj,Dr Joy George, who gave me untiring help during my work. I warmly thank my colleagues Dr. Anish D, Dr Geetha R, and Dr. Radhika for their valuable advice and friendly help. The extensive discussions around my work and interesting explorations in operations have been very helpful for this study. My warm thanks are due to Ambili, a good friend and colleague who was kind enough to help and support me.

6 My sincere thanks are due to the official referees for their detailed review, constructive criticism and excellent advice during the preparation of this thesis. I also wish to thank Dr. Baburaj, Dr Sethumadhavan, Dr Joy George, for their continued support and guidance has been of great value in this study. During this work I have collaborated with many colleagues for whom I have great regard, and I wish to extend my warmest thanks to all those who have helped me with my work. I owe my thanks to my family members, my sons Roshan and Aaryan. Without their encouragement and understanding it would have been impossible for me to finish this work. My special gratitude is due to Mr. Musa Isaacs and Mr. Farook Qureshi for their constant encouragement and affection.


8 LIST OF TABLES Table no Title Page 1 Year-wise Estimate of Egg production 13 2 Profile of Thrissur District 17 3 Observed frequencies and percentages 36 of Variables studied among farmers 4 Production performance of standard 48 birds 5 Observed frequencies and percentages 51 of variables among integrators 6 Details of poultry projects in 58 Panchayath-I 7 Details of poultry projects in 61 Panchayath-II 8 Economics of backyard poultry units 67 9 Economics of broiler production 69 10 Ratings of constraints faced by poultry 70

9 farmers 11 Constraints felt by broiler farmers 71

10 LIST OF FIGURES Table no Title Page 1 Family size of the respondents 37 2 Experience of the respondents in 38 poultry rearing 3 Details of pullets distributed in the last 58 five years 4 Details of pullets distributed in the last 62 five years in Panchayath-II 5 Split up of cost of production in 68 backyard units 6 Ratings of constraints faced by poultry 70 farmers 7 Ratings of Constraints felt by broiler 71 farmers

11 Preface This thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the course Appreciation Programme on Sustainability Science submitted to Indira Gandhi National Open University. The matter embodied in this project is genuine work done by me and has not been submitted to this University or to any other University / Institute for the fulfilment of the requirement of any course of study. This thesis is the final work of my study of done in collaboration with the Department of Animal Husbandry, Local self governments, Government of Kerala. It serves as documentation of my project work, which has been made from my detailed discussions with veterinarians, poultry farmers, kudumbasree members, trainees, entrepreneurs, and subject matter specialists. The study has been a part of my job as a scientist at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Poultry Science, Mannuthy. The thesis consists of ten chapters which cover various aspects of rural poultry production scenario in some Panchayaths of Thrissur district. My supervisor on the project has been Dr P Anitha of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Poultry Science, Faculty of Veterinary & Animal Sciences of Kerala Agricultural University. The thesis has been made solely by me and there has been an attempt to provide in this work, references to similar studies done elsewhere.


13 1. INTRODUCTION Poultry provides employment to about 1.5 million people and contributes about Rs. 350 Billion to the National GDP. Though poultry development in the country has taken a quantum leap in the last three decades, the growth has been mainly restricted to commercial poultry. Rural backyard poultry, contributing nearly 30% to the national egg production, is the most neglected one. This is in spite of the fact that their poultry eggs and meat fetch a much higher price than that from commercial poultry. For the poorest of the poor and the landless, the major issues are food security and risk spreading through subsidiary income. Backyard poultry requiring hardly any infrastructure set-up is a potent tool for upliftment of the poorest of the poor. Besides income generation, rural backyard poultry can improve food self-sufficiency. Small- scale poultry production has the potential to stimulate economic growth of resource poor households. Poultry rearing can enhance household food security and contribute to poverty reduction through provision of supplementary food, income and employment. Poultry production in Kerala remains largely as a backyard venture with virtually no modern units. These backyard birds have low to medium productivity. There is, however, a market demand of 5063 million eggs in the State against the availability of a meager 1197 million eggs. The State food security project aims to enhance Egg

14 production in the State from the base level of 1196 (Million Nos.) to 2395 (Million Nos.). Its implementation requires coordination and integration of government departments, local governments, and several other institutions. Increasing the productivity of small-scale farmers will improve the availability and nutritional content of food, and enhance food security generally among the poor. There are a number of community groups and individuals engaged poultry production projects. This research will focus on finding out how the projects are functioning, their socio economic status, profitability, constraints and strategies that can be employed to improve their success. The per capita availability of egg in Kerala is very low at 72 eggs/ year and that of poultry meat is at 0.9 kg/year against the world average of 147 eggs and 11 kg poultry meat /year, which is the level recommended by the National Institute of Nutrition. The Census figures indicate that the chicken and duck population in Kerala reduced to half over a period from 1996 to 2003. However, there has been a significant improvement in the population of other species of poultry especially quail and turkeys. An overall 47% reduction in the poultry population was observed during the period. One of the biggest problems is the non- availability of land. Kerala is already placed in India among the most thickly populated States. The agricultural land is also on the decline, which translates to a higher cost of feed

15 ingredients. There are no feed companies in Kerala which make specific poultry feeds. Therefore, many a times, feed has to be procured from other States. The availability of quality chicks is another problem in Kerala. Moreover, the cost of labour compared to neighbouring States is another constraint. For poultry farmers, loan/credit facilities are far from satisfactory. Furthermore, small poultry units lack insurance coverage. Over and above, Government has imposed a 12.5% Value Added Tax. Low production potential in the stocks maintained by the backyard farmers and small holders is yet another problem. However, the up gradation has to be gradual as the birds need to retain their hardiness, required for their scavenging nature and survivability in harsh rural conditions. Proper feeding and other managemental aspects will also help improve the productivity of the birds. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY DEPARTMENT, GOVERNMENT OF KERALA The Department being the nodal agency for poultry activity provides a nucleus for the implementation of schemes like SGSY (Ministry of Rural Development) as per their requirement. This Department has taken up in association with Indian Council of Agricultural Research a targeted program for up-gradation of low-input technology birds Poultry Development activities in the State aim at increasing the production of egg, production and distribution of chicks and good quality poultry meat, impart training on Scientific Poultry Rearing and Management,

16 encouraging unemployed youth and members of weaker sections of society to take up poultry rearing and gain self employment, assisting women to start backyard poultry units etc. To carry out the development activities there are nine poultry farms, one Broiler Farm, One Duck Farm, One Central Hatchery and two Intensive Poultry Development Blocks under the Department. Table 1 Year-wise Estimate of Egg production Sl. No. Year India % change over Kerala % contribution previous year of Kerala 1 2001-02 38729 5.72 2002 5.2 2 2002-03 39823 2.82 1347 3.4 3 2003-04 40403 1.46 1277 3.2 4 2004-05 45201 1.87 1197 2.9 5 2005-06 46166 2.13 1196 2.6 6 2006-07 50663 9.74 1199 2.4 Source: Economic Survey and Department of Animal Husbandry In a country like India where the average level of nutrition is very low, chicken and eggs, which are not expensive, can contribute considerably towards improving diet as a source of animal protein. As per estimates available, the per capita availability of egg is very low at 41 eggs /year and poultry meat is 0.9 kg/year against the world average of 147 eggs and 11 kg poultry meat /year. Government of India has set a target for achieving production of over 52 billion eggs by 2011-12, at a growth rate of 4.3 per cent.

17 Poultry farming for egg production relaying on purchased feed are uneconomic in Kerala. Poultry rearing on commercial lines is therefore largely confined to broiler production. The egg production which reached 2054 million in 1999-2000 is continuously showing declining trend and in 2005-06 it reached a lower level of 1196 million recording a drastic fall of 41.75per cent. During 2006-07 the situation is changing and a 0.25% increase over the previous year is recorded and egg production increased to 1199 million Nos. The per capita availability of egg based on production during 2003-04 is only 39/ year and from 2004--05 to 2006-07, it further declined to 36/year. The per capita consumption of egg during 2006-07 is 66/year. The gap is filled by importing eggs from neighbouring State. An alarming factor to be noted in this regard is that over the last three years the domestic production of egg is declining to a lower level than that of 1984 - 85. The decline in poultry population and hike in cost of feed were the major reason for the decline in production. During 2006-07, 1021 million numbers of eggs is imported to the State. The export during the year is 4.3 million numbers Backyard poultry system has good potential in the state. Around 8-10 lakh chicks are being introduced every year in the state. Apart from Animal Husbandry department and Kerala Agricultural University, KSPDC, a few NGOs and private farms are also involved. But the system is yet to develop to the required extent. The

18 functioning of the department farms is to be strengthened to foster the backyard poultry system. On the contrary, in India as a whole it was transferred into a vibrant scientifically organised industry. BROILER PRODUCTION Poultry production has undergone rapid changes during the past decades due to the introduction of modern intensive production methods, new breeds and improved preventive disease control and bio-security measures. Nearly 10-15 Private hatcheries, working as satellite hatcheries contribute to the local production of chicks and chicken meat. Approximately 40000-50000 direct employment is generated through broiler production. Apart from this, around 30000-40000 MT of chicken meat, which includes broilers, layer chicks, broiler and layer parent, culls etc. is being imported from neighbouring states. PEOPLES PLAN CAMPAIGN The State of Kerala flagged off the people’s plan campaign in 1997. Poultry projects are being implements right from the start of the campaign. The greatest challenge to any Government is alleviation of poverty in the rural areas of the State. Kerala State Planning Board, initiated a 'Peoples' Campaign' in order to improve the Panchayaths and municipal bodies to draw up the Plan Schemes within their respective areas of responsibility. Following are the objectives of the campaign

19 • To evolve economic planning with peoples' participation and mobilization of local resources in the development process by involving stake holders. • To effect substantial relaxation of beauracratic control and thus the empowerment of people. One of the important features of people's planning is that the major thrust of the Panchayaths has been focused on productive sectors mainly agriculture and other activities followed by social sectors and infrastructures. THRISSUR DISTRICT PROFILE Thrissur is the cultural capital of Kerala State. Profile of the District is depicted in Table 2 below. The district lies between 100 101 X 100 461 latitude and 760 541 longitude in the central part of Kerala and is surrounded by (a) Arabian Sea on the West (b) Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu and Palakkad district of Kerala in the east (c) Malappuram and Palakkad district in the north and (d) Ernakulam and Idukki district in the South. It has an area of 3032 Sq km. The land holding is predominantly marginal. The district has moderate infrastructural facilities. It has a busy railway station and is well connected to other districts and states. Two national high ways NH 47 and NH 17 passes through the district. The economic development of the district in the recent past has been more conspicuous in the tertiary sector. The flooding NRI remittance has helped development of new town

20 ships and growth centres at different parts of the district. The district has a well-developed bank network Canara Bank, the lead bank of the district has been doing exceedingly well as the leader. Among the public sector banks SBT, SBI and Canara bank have a major presence. Thrissur is an industrially and commercially developed district. The district has basic infrastructure facilities and as per the latest census the district has a population of 29.74 lakhs of which, 71.8 percent live in rural areas, the district has 92.56% literacy rate and a high percentage of skilled persons. Table 2 Thrissur Districts’ Profile

21 Table -2 District Came Into Existence 1 st JULY 1949 District Head Quarters Thrissur Geographical Area 3032 Parliamentary Constituencies 3 Assembly Constituencies 14 Taluks 5 Villages 254 Corporation 1 Municipalities 6 District Panchayath 1 Block Panchayath 17 Grama Panchayaths 92



24 2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE Studies in Bangladesh by Rahman and Hossain, (1995) showed that an intervention with poultry production created a relatively small decline in the overall poverty with the proportion of extreme poor declining from 31 to 23% and the moderate poor stagnating around 29%. `Todd, (1999) and Dolberg, (2001) opined that poultry activity is to be considered as a learning process for the beneficiaries, but it has to be realised that one activity alone is not sufficient to lift a family out of poverty. The opportunities called as the enabling environment must be available for the beneficiaries to establish a small poultry enterprise, to minimize the risks and to take up other income generating activities. Jensen (2000) observed that about 70 % of the rural landless women are directly or indirectly involved in poultry rearing activities. He found that homestead poultry rearing is economically viable. The poultry sector could be one of the most productive sectors if these women are properly trained, supported with credit and other necessary inputs and made to operate under supervision of extension workers. Poultry rearing is suitable for widespread implementation as it is of low cost, required little skills, is highly productive and can be incorporated into the

25 households work. Poultry is the only activity in which a large number of landless women can participate. In the small-scale poultry units, which support the landless, production per bird may be low, but distribution of benefits will be more equal and have great human development impact. Poultry rearing is a culturally acceptable, technically and economically viable. Moreover, the ownership of poultry is entirely in the hands of women. Mack et al (2000) opined that in order to increase egg and poultry meat production there is a need for increased investment guided by policies and institutions that promote equitable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly long- term outcomes. As Backyard poultry make an important contribution to poverty mitigation, it should be considered as any strategy to improve rural livelihoods. Right policies and investment, well designed and participative development programmes can overcome the constraints faced by the smallholder poultry producers. These intensive production methods place high demands on proper health, hygiene and management and require only a small, but very skilled labour force. This type of production has also been adopted in developing countries but the scope of adoption has been limited due to the high inputs and skills required. The progress in industrial poultry production methods has however had little effect on subsistence poultry production methods in rural and peri-urban areas, where inputs into disease control remain minimal. Although this is

26 true in general, there are some geographical hot spots where industrial poultry production and small holder village poultry systems have both massively grown in close geographical proximity, notably in Thailand, Indonesia, and China. Del Ninno et al., (2001) described in their paper that rural poultry production will not protect poor people in Bangladesh against the natural disasters that hit the country from time to time, but it can help them build up their asset base. Jensen and Dolberg (2002)advocated for using poultry as a tool in poverty alleviation. An enabling environment must be established by providing access to feed, vaccine, vaccinations services, micro-finance, marketing and other inputs and services. A village group, composed of members of socially equal status, is an excellent entity to disseminate improved technology, a cost-effective entity to disseminate extension messages, and a secure entity for disbursement of loans. Karlan, (2002) opined that an enabling environment would give all the villagers access to poultry farm input supplies and services; pave the way for disbursement of micro-credits in a cost-effective way; facilitate easier formation of associations through formalised village livestock groups; help people acquire the skills that are required for a business set-up ., form

27 the basis for a marketing organization for farm products and can be used by other NGOs, having the same target groups, to implement other development activities. Dolberg (2003) reviewed poultry as a tool in poverty alleviation focusing on experiences from Bangladesh but survey and project work that has been undertaken in India. Animal husbandry and agricultural departments’ extension programmes are hardly known or used by most poor people for whom the poultry work is relevant. The work in Bangladesh is closely linked to the presence of NGOs and their capacity to reach out to poor people. Micro-credit has been an important component in the interventions that the NGOs undertake and it is difficult to distinguish between the benefits from micro-credit and the benefits from poultry production in Bangladesh. In India, there are many NGOs that are much closer to people than the government extension services, but few of them have any poultry expertise. in some States, the commercial sector has a strong presence. He stresses that project ‘models’ need to be adapted to the conditions prevailing in different countries. Gondwe et al (2003) found that rural poultry is raised and utilized by about 80 percent of the human population, primarily situated in rural areas and occupied by subsistence agriculture. Different poultry species are raised, mostly

28 indigenous to the area, except chickens, where traces of Black Australorp breed can be identified The paper describes a community-based project that aims to contribute to food self- sufficiency among smallholder farmers through promotion and improvement of poultry species in an integrated system without changing the cultural and farming system Distribution of flocks by age groups was in favour of old birds (over 52 weeks) in chickens and ducks and growers (20-30 weeks) in pigeons. This showed that farmers keep their birds for a long time. The proportion of chicks and ducklings less than ten weeks old was small. This suggests high mortality rates caused by diseases and predators. This age group is vulnerable and needs care. In pigeons the number of squabs is low since this is the group that is mostly consumed. Growers, mature and old pigeons are used for breeding. Inbreeding within flocks is probably occurring because of the lack of a cockerel-exchange system and record-keeping. The major constraints to poultry production were outbreaks of Newcastle disease among chickens in the months of September to December every year; predators that fed on pigeons, chickens and ducks; and poor housing and prolonged weaning periods for chickens and ducks. There is also haphazard sharing of breed stock among relatives, friends and others, within the village rather than between villages. Poultry in rural areas could play a role to contribute to the nutritional status of the people in these areas.

29 Bujarbaruah and Gupta (2005) reported that a flock size ranging from 25-250 birds are reared across the country under the village poultry system. They have low production potential with only 40-80 eggs per year but are less susceptible to most of the common diseases requiring less veterinary care. In order to meet the deficiency gap in poultry meat and egg sectors, adequate and sustained efforts will have to be made to improve the production efficiency of the rural poultry which has been responsible to produce 40% of meat and 44% of egg requirement in the country. Average productivity from around 75% of the indigenous poultry population is 60-70 eggs per year per bird. The distribution of desi birds per square km is 71 with an average holding of 2.59 indigenous birds per family i.e. a production of 2.59 X 65 eggs = 168 per family per year. With an average family size of 5.5 in the region and projected requirement of 90 eggs per person per annum (50% of WHO recommendation), the requirement per family is 5.5 x 90= 495 i.e. a deficiency of 327 eggs per family. For the development of the region through family poultry, the need therefore is to increase the production potential of the indigenous birds through improvement measures like Sound and systematic breeding programs with improved breeds developed for backyard purpose. Slow but steady replacement of the existing indigenous birds with lower production potential with improved breeds like Vanaraja / Giriraja was recommended.

30 Mapiye and Sibanda (2005), in a study carried out in Zimbabwe revealed that on an average, each household had a flock size of 30 ± 6 chickens. Chickens that received full feed supplementation had highest flock sizes, hen and chick numbers. About 40.5 % of deaths recorded were due to predation, 30.2% due to disease, 8.8% due to accidents, 8.6% due to parasites and 12.9% due to unknown causes. Although 88% of the households were male-headed, women owned 95% of the chickens. Female-headed households had higher chicken flock sizes and lower mortalities than male-headed households. Women dominated in feeding (43.5% of the households), watering (51.2%) and cleaning (37.2%). Men mainly dominated in shelter construction (60%). Housing, feeding and health systems were identified as opportunities, and predation, diseases and chick mortality as constraints to the expansion of village chicken production. Adequate disease control, reduction of chick losses, improvement of husbandry practices and implementation of gender sensitive projects were recommended. Rai et al (2005) studied the poultry production in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and found that majority of eggs in the market come from hens kept in semi-intensive or backyard systems in rural areas. Poultry keeping has a pivotal role in the economy of rural farmers. Of late there has been an increasing awareness among the farmers to adopt diversified agriculture, including livestock and poultry. Poultry flock size in the villages varies from 10-50. Women,

31 assisted in some cases by children, play key role in this sector, and they are main owners and managers of family poultry production. The birds are reared either under free-range system or backyard or semi intensive system. The owner sometimes provides supplemental feed like rice, wheat and paddy. The amount of food provided to the birds depends on the financial status of the farmers and egg laying capacity of the birds. Constraints analysis of backyard poultry in Erode, a district of TamilNadu done by Baskaran et al(2005), it was observed that the farmers predominantly had medium level (31-38) of constraints, while inferior number of respondents had low (< 30) and high (> 39) level. The results of correlation analysis revealed that out of 11 socio-economic characteristics, education, experience in backyard poultry farming, possession of backyard poultry birds and contact with extension agency had significant negative relationship with the constraints faced by backyard poultry farmers. Further, the regression analysis revealed that all the 11 socio-economic characteristics put together contributed to the extent of 81.20 per cent towards constraints level which was found to be highly significant (P < 0.01) and the characteristics namely, occupation, experience in backyard poultry farming, possession of backyard poultry birds and contact with extension agency had significant negative influence on constraints level among the respondents

32 Krishna Rao (2005) recorded that poultry are inseparable from mankind and in the rural scenario they do not need any land, are easy to manage, regularly lay eggs, disease resistant and well adapted to the harsh environment. With better nutrition, their egg production can be stepped up substantially. Only a good Night Shelter need to be provided to them. With all these attributes poultry farming in the rural environment can be a powerful tool for poverty alleviation and social justice. To the rural poor this can be Rainless Harvest with egg production and stock multiplication proceeding unhampered irrespective of rain or drought. It is women that are largely involved in poultry farming. In every village market and fairs poultry and eggs are major commodities. Huq and Mallik (1998) found that rural women in Bangladesh use poultry as a tool in poverty alleviation and concluded that poultry development has potential for capturing the inequitable distribution of income and employment in rural areas. Women could operate and manage broiler, layer and duck farms efficiently with a high return on the investment. Poultry production on a smaller scale like in the are useful to improve the native backyard poultry under scavenging and semi-intensive systems, where women traditionally play the most important role. Lack of quality feed supply, Lack of vaccines especially RD, Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) and Marek’s disease, Low price of dressed

33 broilers and eggs were pointed out as the constraints faced by them. Singh and Jilani (2006) conducted a study in Garhwal, Himalayas with sample size of 100 backyard poultry farmers and found that most farmers belonged to old age category, having medium family size, low annual income and high social participation. Among the constraints perceived non- availability of day old chicks/lack of suitable germplasm, Infrastructure facility, high price rate of day old chick, lack of technical know-how, non-availability of vaccine and medicines, Government policy and credit facility of farmers were ranked as most important. The total improvement of this sector needs proper planning, creation of adequate infrastructure and monetary support. To make backyard poultry rearing a profitable venture the farmers should be adequately trained in scientific poultry rearing. Mandal et al (2006) studied the Backyard poultry farming in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh, India and found that the respondents were predominantly young, had low level of education, belonged to Muslim religion and were from the medium sized nuclear family. Agricultural labour was the major occupation; they had marginal land and medium livestock holding with more than 6 years of poultry farming experience. The average flock size was 5 birds and they reared birds in free-range/backyard system with little supplementary feeding. The production level was very low. Natural hatching

34 was the main source of chicks. No systematic care was taken with regard to the diseases and vaccination of the birds was also not carried out in any of the villages surveyed. Direct marketing was prevalent in the area although middlemen existed. The major constraints identified were high incidence of poultry diseases, lack of suitable germ-plasm and attack by predators. Choprakarn and Wongpichet(2007) reviewed the information on indigenous chickens in Thailand, describing the production systems, management, conservation and utilization. Their production systems have been sustainable and about 6 million households, or 50 percent of Thais, keep poultry at home. Each family produces 30–50 birds of marketable size annually, which represents 100– 120 million birds for the country as a whole. These chickens kept as one cockerel and three to five hens per household. Flock size varies through the year, as it depends on the hatching rate, the availability of natural feed, the effects of endemic diseases, and the amount of time that the farmers have available to take care of their birds. Periods of seasonal change are critical times of high mortality; about 30–70% of birds in a flock die annually. About 50–70 % are raised for home consumption; the rest are for sale to provide cash income. Few are used for cultural and religious activities.


36 3. RATIONALE OF THE STUDY In spite of the progress in agriculture, India still faces a big challenge in job creation and maintenance of food security and women’s role in farming is still inadequately acknowledged. With increasing urbanisation and sky-rocketing of land prices everywhere due to population explosion and allied factors back-yard poultry units have vanished to a great extent from the middle-class and lower middle-class and lower middle-class people leaving poultry largely in the hands of rural poor in single digit numbers only who can only maintain these birds through a system of foraging and scavenging. To these deprived sections of our society Poultry constitute instruments of social justice and measures for poverty alleviation. It is estimated that 78% of India’s economically active women are involved in agriculture. Across the poor farming communities, care of animals is the women’s domain, but not in the rich families. Rural poultry sector contributes nearly 30% of the national egg production in India and is the most neglected one. The rural households normally maintain the desi birds under scavenging or semi-scavenging conditions. During the past three decades, the popularity of scavenging chicken has reduced drastically due to low production of the native chicken used in this system.

37 Against this background of poultry ownership there are only two major groups of Poultry keepers, the economically advanced commercial farmers and the economically poor rural farmers, labourers etc., who supplement their meager income by raising a few desi chickens. It may therefore be appropriate to term the poultry raised by the urban elite as Urban Poultry and the poultry raised by the rural poor the bulk of which belong to the desi group as Rural Poultry. Government of Kerala has implemented several poultry projects in the past and especially after the advent of the peoples plan campaign. It is expected that such projects will continue to be implemented in the future. There is the need to evaluate the success of these projects and to suggest measures to improve them. In this context a study has been undertaken to critically examine the after effects of poultry distribution projects in two important Panchayaths in Thrissur District. Along with this, an evaluation of integrated poultry units (broilers) prevalent in many parts of Thrissur will also be done to get an idea about their performance and feasibility. This study will provide information on the profitability of these projects will act as a stimulus to attract more entrepreneurs to this field. Opinion of experts in this field will be collected to enlist the main problems faced by

38 poultry farmers and also the pitfalls in the programmes taken up previously. The findings of the study will help the local level planners to critically evaluate the projects implemented in past and restructure the future poultry projects as needed. This will result in better profitability and streamlining of poultry production in the District. The outcome of the study will be improved food security, more sustainable use of natural resources and increased income for the rural poor.


40 4. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Keeping in mind the limitations of the various ongoing schemes and taking into account the need to have a deeper insight into the requirements of the rural poultry sector with focus aimed at the poorest of the poor the study was completed in two important Panchayaths of Thrissur District. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 1. To analyse the situation of poultry rearing in the two Panchayaths 2. To evaluate the poultry projects implemented in the two Panchayaths during the past 5 years. 3. To determine the socio-economic development registered if any consequent to these projects. 4. To investigate the profitability of backyard and small scale poultry projects. 5. To determine the constraints faced by the poultry farmers. 6. To develop strategies to improve the success of poultry projects. METHODOLOGY

41 Structured interview schedule was used to conduct the situational analysis of the two Panchayaths. Thirty households in the two Panchayaths were covered under the study. The households were selected at random. The variables as perceived by the rural poultry owners were recorded in the schedule prepared for the purpose of the study. The rank position of the constraints was decided on the basis of frequency distribution against each constraint. Data available with the Veterinary, Local self governments and Rural Development Departments were collected and evaluated. Ten experts in the field and ten small scale poultry production unit owners were identified and information was gathered from them. A total of 30 respondents were selected from the two Panchayaths by purposive sampling technique. Data collected through personal interview was categorized and tabulated. The data was then subjected to standard statistical analysis by finding the mean. Correlation and multiple-linear regression analysis by taking the total constraints score as the dependant variable and the chosen socio- economic characteristics of backyard poultry farmers as independent variable.

42 Variables studied with respect to rural poultry farmers (a)Gender (b)Family size (c) Occupation (d)Experience (e)Flock Size (f)Management Practices (g)Feeding system (h)Flock Health (i)Diseases (j)Production particulars (k) Preferences of beneficiaries (l)Self help groups (m)Cost of production Descriptive research was used in the study of integrated poultry units so as to obtain a complete and accurate description of the schemes and the problems there in. Items of observation would include • Description of the project • Cost of production • Problems faced • Profitability Socio economic development in terms of improvement in the following variables was also evaluated. • Increase in income • Improvement in the skills • Trainings received

43 • Job satisfaction • Improvement in the nutritional status of the households


45 RESULTS & DISCUSSION The results are expressed as answers to six major objectives and depicted below followed by a brief discussion of the same. 5.1. Situation of poultry rearing in the two Panchayaths 5.1.1 General overview Most of the households rear village chickens under scavenging system mainly as a source of income (39%) and food (36%). It could be seen that women own and mange most of the flocks (54%). But chicken meat is only consumed when important guests visit the family. Most farmers (59.5%) prefer chicken with brown plumage color mainly because it sells faster at the market. 5.1. 2 Variables observed are depicted in the Table 3 below Variables Category No. of Percentage respondents Gender Male 11 36.67 Female 19 63.33 Family size <4 14 46.66 5-7 11 36.67 >7 5 16.67 Major Others 29 96.67 Poultry Rearing 1 3.33 Occupation Experience in <1 3 1.00 years 2-5 11 36.67 >5 16 53.33 Flock Size <5 5 16.67 6-10 15 50.00 >10 10 33.33 Table. 3 Observed frequencies and percentages of variables

46 5.1.2.a Gender It could be seen that a good majority of the respondents (63.33%) were females where as only 36.67% were males. The person in charge of the poultry unit in these houses was identified as the respondent in all of the cases. 5.1.2.b Family size The data revealed that 46.67% of the respondents had a nuclear family with a family size less than four, whereas 36.67 % had a family size between five and seven. A 16.67 % lived as a joint family with family size above 7. The graph representing family size of the respondents is given as Fig 1 . Family size of the respondents 50 46.67 40 36.67 30 Series1 % 20 16.67 10 0 <4 5-7 >7 Number of individuals Fig 1 Family size of the respondents 5.1.2.c Occupation A vast majority (96.67 %)of the respondents considered poultry rearing as a subsidiary occupation. Though most of the respondents belonged to the farming community, with

47 agriculture as their major means of livelihood, only one farmer did not have any other means of livelihood. 5.1.2. d Experience The study revealed that 10.00 % of the respondents were having less than 1 year experience in poultry farming. A 36.67 % of the respondents had 2-5 years experience, whereas a majority (53.33%) had more than 5 years experience. Years of Experience in Poultry Farming 10.00 53.33 <1 2-5 >5 36.67 Fig 2 Experience of the respondents in poultry rearing 5.1.2. e Flock Size Average flock per household was eight birds with a sex ratio of four hens for one cock in around 60% of the households evaluated. Scavenging space is the criteria behind the decision of flock size. About 16.67 % of the households reared less than 5 birds, 50.00 % reared less than 10 birds and 33.33% reared more than 10 birds. Most of

48 the families (63.33 %) did not hatch eggs using a broody hen. Chicks were brought at day old stage and above in 36.67% of the households. Pullets and male birds were also purchased as growers below 2 months of age. At least one broody hen was always kept to maintain the flock. Rarely did they hatch eggs regularly. Some (19 %) households did not have a cock. About 65% of the families opined that they purchased chicks only from reliable sources or through the local veterinary hospital/ dispensaries. 5.1.2. f Management Practices Most of the farmers housed the birds in their backyard. A temporary shelter was constructed in all the households to provide shelter to the birds. Around 70 % of the households made shelters with wooden planks. None of the households were following intensive system of management. All the respondents were using semi- intensive system of housing. Around 42% of the respondents were aware of homestead cages. No bedding material is provided in the poultry houses. Some have the habit of using cane baskets to protect and cover the birds. Few farmers have built pakka poultry houses but are mostly with inadequate spacing. Chicks when hatched were not given any artificial warmth. They are left with the mother hen under a bamboo basket at night. Most of the farmers let out chicks only after at least 10 days of age. In most of the houses there were not more than two broody hens. The birds are let out from as early as 7 am in the morning, and they are permitted to roam around till 6 pm

49 generally. Owners were not aware of the floor space requirements. 5.1.2. g Feeding Practices Seventy-three percent of the farmers give supplementary feed to chicken. There is no regular time for feeding of poultry though they are fed daily in most of the households. There is no proper idea about the nutritional requirements of poultry. When 63% opined that birds should be fed less than 25 g of feed every day, 30% opined that it should be between 25 and 50 g. About 7 % were of the view that this should be around 100g. Few farmers (23.33 %) give shell grit to improve the shell quality of eggs produced. The birds in backyard survive well on kitchen waste, coconut grating, insects, pests, wild seeds, grains, grasses and other vegetations. The supplemented feed consist of cooked rice, kitchen wastes, vegetables, rice bran, dried fish, commercial feeds, flour and milling wastes lacking in vitamins and proteins. More than 75% of the farmers were supplementing carbohydrates alone. There is no regular provision of protein sources to these chickens. The total quantitative supplementation varies from 2.00 to 3.30 kg per week given mainly during harvest time. On an average this expenditure comes to 20 to 33 rupees per week. Chickens are given water in all the households mainly by women. Water is also provided in basins inside the poultry shelters. These containers are seldom removed for cleaning and sanitation. Water is simply refilled when the level goes down. Few

50 household (13.33%) had the practice of giving feed supplements (mineral mixtures, B-complex vitamins etc). No regular deworming was in practice and usually the medicines were got from the local veterinary dispensary. Farmers also had the habit of purchasing medicines from the local medical shop without prescriptions. 5.1.2. h Flock Health The mortality rate is often more than 50% rising to 100% in most of the households. Around 72% of the house hold reported disease incidences and mortality rates. Thirty percent of the farmers had noted a mortality of 100% over the past five years. Ninety-eight percent of the farmers treat sick chicken with diverse types of drugs including traditional medications. About 12.7 % were reported to use traditional methods, 66.9% used modern drugs including anti-biotics, and 68.9% vaccinated chicks while 14.5% used pesticides to control external parasites. 5.1.2.h.1 Diseases The most worrying disease symptoms are respiratory distress, white, greenish diarrhea, blood in droppings, closed eyelids, mucus exudates from the nostrils and mouth and gaping. Pox is a common incidence in almost all of the households. Few farmers reported that the cross bred birds distributed had poor immunity and seldom lived beyond 2 years. Some farmers also reported that some poultry developed dermatitis

51 problems and bumble foot, which were difficult to be cured. Farmers of the opinion that coloured birds have better livability. The death rates were found to be higher among chicks immediately after purchase, followed by birds above two years of age. The causes of mortality in chicks were predators (42.6 %), disease (31.3%), and accidents (26.1%). From the symptoms described by farmers, it is probable that Newcastle disease (ND), Infectious Bronchitis (IB), Fowl Pox, Chronic Respiratory distress, Coccidiosis, Fowl Typhoid and Pullorum Disease may be prevalent in the backyard poultry. Most (93.33%) of the households bury dead birds while the rest throw dead birds into pits, which are eventually picked up by scavengers. 5. 1.2.h.2 Vaccinations. All of the households had vaccinated their birds during the - RD vaccination programme under Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases of the Panchayath. Some farmers utilized the vaccines supplied by the Veterinary dispensaries during the rest of the periods. There is no practice of any vaccination other than against Ranikhet Disease.

52 5.1.2.h.3 Avian Influenza awareness Farmers are aware of the zoonotics importance of the disease and are concerned about the control measures. None of the households were found to adopt any of the bio-security measures. 5.1.2.h.4 Constraints to managing chicks Main constraints to chicks in the backyard were found to be the lack of feed, disease outbreaks, predators and poor management in this order of importance. 5.1.2.i Flock Production Characteristics Farmers opined that cross bred hens start laying at an age varying from 160 to 175 days. In some cases the egg production was nil. Hens lay an average of 15 eggs per clutch with an annual production varying from less than 100 to 140 per year. It could be noted that the birds are seldom kept for production beyond a period of two years. Households consume about 75 % of the eggs laid. Selling of eggs is not common among the households, though they sell eggs in the neighbourhood. Usually, the birds after laying, stay in and around the house of the owner in search of feed and come back at dusk or by the call of the owner. 5.1.2. j Preferences of beneficiaries There is a better preference for brown shelled eggs. The average price obtained for each egg

53 during local sales varies from 3 to 4 rupees. Farmers are of the opinion that coloured birds fetch better price when sold. The price may vary from Rs 120 to 150 per kg live weight. Some birds did not produce any eggs and were sold for meat at around 8 months of age when they attain around 2 kg body weight. All the poultry owners reported that, the price of eggs and birds varied according to season and religious festivals 5.1.2. k Self help groups Among the respondents, 70% were members of kudumbasree. Farmers believe that membership in Kudumbasree has helped them to be selected as beneficiaries of various plan schemes, increase their awareness about the plan, participate in various training programmes etc. 5.1.2.l Cost of production The farmers kept no records of the expenditure incurred in the rearing of backyard flock. So the calculation of cost of production could not be done accurately. 5.1.3 Discussion of the findings The findings reveal that poultry is kept as a means of income and food by majority of the households. This is in agreement with the findings of Gondwe et al (2003). The results of the present study indicated that a majority of the respondents were females. This is an asset

54 over which the poor women actually have control. This activity can therefore play an important role in poverty alleviation and also s may contribute to an improvement in the income of the household. Jensen (2000) also reported similar findings. The fact that poultry meat is consumed only during special occasions indicated that their standards of living are not especially good. A good majority of the households did not have a big family and this is again in support of the general trend in Kerala. Respondents considered poultry as only a subsidiary income source. The fact that a vast majority of the farmers had more than 5 years experience in poultry rearing indicates that this system is prevalent in Kerala for many years and is generally accepted as a viable one. The proportion of new households is a positive sign as this indicates many new families coming into this sector in the recent days. The average flock size of 8 and a male female ratio of 1:4 were reported. This is in tune with the ratio recommended by the Kerala Agricultural University for Backyard rearing. Scavenging space is the criteria behind the decision of flock size. It is a known fact that the non-availability of land is a major constraint to commercial poultry production in Kerala. The same is again a restricting factor in rural poultry rearing indicating the need for innovative techniques of poultry rearing which also takes into consideration the scarcity of land. The fewer number of families holding a

55 broody hen is indicative of the increasing popularity of artificial incubation and the realization of production losses owing to broodiness. Majority of the households raised cocks and this indicated that cocks are of demand among the farmers. These cocks are used for religious purposes and sold at a comparatively higher price than that of hens. There is also another positive finding that majority of the farmers did not buy chicks from unknown / road side vendors. It indicates

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