Technology matters: Healthy profits can be made in the poultry industry

Randhawa discusses modern methods that increase productivity.

Imran Rana June 08, 2014
Prices of beef and mutton are very high as compared to chicken, which has helped in expanding the poultry business across the county. PHOTO: AFP

FAISALABAD: About a decade ago, Sajjad Randhawa decided to try his luck in the poultry business after graduating from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

Armed by only a small investment, he began his journey with opening a traditional poultry farm. Now, he owns 11 auto-controlled shed poultry farms in the city.

“I was not a businessman, but just a graduate in veterinary medicine,” Randhawa told The Express Tribune. “I took a risk and started my own business and ended up becoming a successful entrepreneur. Each of the poultry farm has a capacity of 70,000.”

When it comes to farming and even agriculture, much of the stress has been laid on modern techniques that increase productivity. Randhawa’s practice of applying those methods to tackle common poultry diseases has protected him from huge losses his competitors failed to avoid.

“Pakistani entrepreneurs and professions need to capitalise on these opportunities,” the young businessman advised. He utilised his education and skills to prosper where innovation proves to be the key.

The production at these controlled shed poultry farms is 20% higher compared to traditional methods of poultry farming.

The birds are healthier and better protected from common diseases than the ones nurtured in traditional farms.

Randhawa informed that at least 1.5 million people are associated with the poultry industry, adding that it is left exposed to losses due to sudden reductions in price that force the consumers to buy expensive chicken.

Huge potential

Most say that the country has huge potential in almost every field. Randhawa did the same, saying that a huge untapped halal meat market exists as he pointed to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.

He commented that prices of beef and mutton are very high as compared to chicken,

which has helped in expanding the poultry business across the county.

He was of the view that the government needs to set a minimum sale price of chicken

which would protect investors. He said chicken breeding and nutrition was a capital-intensive business and it basically boils down to luck. A poultry farmer can make huge gains one season before suffering losses the next due to reasons beyond anyone’s control.

The process

“A chicken requires 35 to 40 days for nutrition,” said Randhawa, adding that the farmers then sell it to the wholesale market which sets the price, depending on supply and demand forces.

These forces, he added, determine if there is a profit or loss to be made, making it a vulnerable business. It boils down to how long and how much an investor can sustain losses – if he can at all.

“Over time, small-scale poultry farmers are being edged out by big investors,” said Randhawa.

The poultry industry is exempted from any kind of taxation due to the clout it enjoys and also because, of the nature of the business, it falls in the essential food commodities category.

He said the sector was ready to be taxed but needed incentives and attention in return. He said many investors often show losses to avoid the government’s radar. However, the poultry lobby is very strong, he added.

According to market analysis conducted by The Express Tribune, consumers are

more inclined to buy chicken over mutton due to its lower price.

“Chicken is cheap and affordable to middleclass households,” said consumer Mudasar Ali. He said food items with chicken in their recipe are common due to the affordability factor.

“Chicken is not as healthy as mutton but chicken produced in an auto-controlled environment is better than the traditional poultry farm one,” said an expert in diet and nutrition. However, he cautioned that even the auto-controlled shed chicken was not better than mutton.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2014.

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Zain | 7 years ago | Reply

Informative article. I think there is huge scope for not only poultry business but also poultry related business such as poultry vaccine as there is rising demand for it. I would however, disagree with one statement that Mutton is Healthier than poultry. In US, where I live, the opposite is shown to be true in scientific studies. The Poultry (also called the white meat) is healthier than the Mutton, Beef (known as the red meat). The Red meat can raise cholesterol level, Urea in blood which can cause Gaut, and joint pain. Best diet is combination of Vegetables, pulse (Daal), fiber (Rice, wheat), Fruits, Cereals, Fish, white and red meat.

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