USGC sees export potential in India

The U.S. Grains Council is engaged in assisting India’s growing commercial poultry processing industry with their strategic consumer marketing efforts. Traditionally, Indian consumers purchase live poultry because supermarkets or grocery stores were uncommon, but things are changing.

“You are seeing more and more retail markets, similar to grocery stores in the United States,” said Chris Corry, USGC director of international operations, adding that the shift is due ultimately to a growing population. “India is the second-largest country in terms of population in the world. The population also includes a growing middleclass.”

Specifically, in India the success of the overall economy depends largely on the success of production agriculture. India has the world’s 12th largest economy, the third largest in Asia behind Japan and China, with a total gross domestic product (GDP) of around $1 trillion, of which agriculture accounts for 18 percent. Nearly two thirds of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood.

Indian farmers embracing commercial poultry production are realizing a more profitable profession due in large part to the Council’s assistance with their consumer marketing efforts, according to Amit Sachdev, USGC consultant in India.

The Council’s efforts on behalf of the commercial poultry industry will become increasingly important to Indian poultry farmers as demand for poultry meat and eggs is expected to increase as India’s population continues on an upward trend. The current population is estimated at more than 1.1 billion and is growing at 1.3 percent a year, according to the U.S. Department of State.

As more and more consumers become educated about the safety and efficiency of commercial poultry processing, a relatively new concept to most Indian consumers, the poultry industry will

grow substantially, thus needing more feed grains, primarily corn.

“India only produces roughly 600 million bushels of corn annually, which is not enough to sustain a growing population, especially given that meat and egg consumption is on the rise,” said Corry. “There is no doubt, they (India) will have to import feed ingredients from somewhere, and we are working hard to ensure it will be from U.S. producers.”

Sachdev agrees with Corry and said he is anticipating the Council’s education efforts will pay off for U.S. farmers, while also feeding a growing nation and reducing poverty within India’s agricultural sector.

“We are hopeful our relationships in India and hands-on work there will ultimately lead to India once again buying U.S. feed grains,” adding that exports to India ceased in 2002 as a result of a 15 percent import duty imposed on imports from all destinations by India’s government. Sachdev said he works with Indian poultry processors and others involved in the livestock industry on a daily basis and reports that they are appreciative of Council intervention.

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