Egg basket

Print edition : August 29, 2008

The poultry industry in Namakkal is vibrant despite a plethora of problems facing it.-E. LAKSHMI NARAYAN

Namakkal district produces 75 per cent of the zones poultry.

NAMAKKAL, the major poultry producer of southern India, has been witnessing a positive change in the recent years. The district alone accounts for about 75 per cent of the birds produced in the Namakkal zone of the National Egg Coordination Committee. The poultry sector in the zone has grown by 19.53 per cent in the past two years. The total number of birds has gone up from 307.34 lakh in 2005-06 to 367.35 lakh in 2007-08. The zone produces about 2.5 crore eggs a day, with Namakkal contributing 1.75 crore of the total production. The labour-intensive sector provides direct employment to over one lakh people. The two issues confronting the sector are the ban imposed by some West Asian countries on the import of table eggs from India and the spiralling cost of poultry feed. The volume of export dropped to 20 lakh eggs a day from 50 lakh after some Gulf nations banned egg import in the wake of the outbreak of bird flu in some parts of India. In order to overcome this setback, poultry farmers have urged the Central and State governments to declare the zone avian flu-free. The poultry farms in Namakkal zone have adopted bio-security measures and carry out regular vaccinations. There is a proposal to establish a disease research laboratory for the poultry industry. This would boost the table eggs export from this part of the State.

The cost of rearing chickens has risen following a massive increase in the prices of inputs such as maize and soya beans. The industry wants the government to ban maize export. If these two issues are sorted out, the growth of the industry will be huge. More and more people will get employment, points out Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers Association president R. Nallathambi. The broiler segment in the district is also witnessing a significant growth. About 60 lakh birds are sent for consumption every week.

With concerted efforts from the State government, the district administration and business houses, the district is doing well in the transport, weaving and education sectors as well.

About 40 per cent of the trucks operated in the State are from Namakkal. The district, noted for truck body building, has over 18,000 trucks, including 3,000 tankers and 2,500 trailers, with an annual addition of about 500 trucks.

The sector needs more personnel to stay in the growth path. Labour shortage has become severe in the recent past, said P. Sengodan, president, State Lorry Owners Federation Tamil Nadu.

The district is also emerging as a higher education hub. It has 20 engineering colleges and over 15 arts and science colleges.

The textile weaving industry in Rasipuram, Tiruchengode, Pallipalayam and Komarapalayam towns are witnessing a boom. The modernisation of units and the establishment of a hi-tech weaving park in Komarapalayam, focussing on the powerloom clusters, have fuelled growth in this sector. The district administration is evolving programmes to develop other sectors, such as tourism, as well.

The Kolli hills, Namakkal fort and the monolithic Anjaneya temple are some of the tourist attractions of the district.

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