Business Overview (Introduction)
The Indian feed industry is about 35 years old. It is mainly restricted to dairy and poultry feed manufacturing; the beef and pork industry is almost non-existent. The quality standards of Indian feeds are high and up to international levels. Raw materials for feed are adequately available in India. The industry's production is about 3.0 million tonnes, which represents only 5 percent of the total potential, and feed exports are not very high.
The feed industry has modern computerized plants and the latest equipment for analytical procedures and least-cost ration formulation, and it employs the latest manufacturing technology. In India, most research work on animal feeds is practical and focuses on the use of by-products, the upgrading of ingredients and the enhancing of productivity.
The country has entered into a period of liberalization and this is bound to influence the livestock industry. The per capita consumption of milk, eggs and broiler meat will grow. The Indian feed industry is undergoing a very exciting phase of growth for the next decade.
Feed manufacturing on a commercial and scientific basis started around 1965 with the setting up of medium-sized feed plants in northern and western India. Feed was produced mainly to cater to the needs of dairy cattle. The poultry sector was not developed at that time and was restricted to backyard production, with the desi (or native bird) kept mainly for the production of eggs. The poultry industry is now growing in importance. Today, the Indian feed industry is worth approximately Rs 45 billion, that is about US$1 billion.
Worldwide, India is number one in milk production, at 78.0 million tonnes per annum, and the dairy industry is spread across the whole country. India has one of the largest populations of cattle and buffalo in the world. In a total of 288 million head, there are 10 million cross-bred cows, 15 million good milch cows of local varieties and 36 million buffaloes of good milch varieties (Table 2). The remainder of the cattle population is of a non-descript variety and a sizeable proportion consists of bullocks.