Game for poultry


As landholdings shrink in Haryana owing to residential colonies and industry, poultry seems to have become a new means of livelihood. The state has seen a jump of 10-15 per cent in its poultry business just in the past six months with those owning dry, infertile lands in south Haryana waking up to high demands and higher returns as they shifted from backyard to large farms, from white chicken breeds to rearing the exotic.

"Poultry in Haryana is no more restricted to backyard farming. With investment ranging between Rs 2 to 5 crore, industrialists, big farmers and landlords are establishing large poultry farms. Haryana's poultry population now stands at 1.90 lakh — up from one crore two years ago — and the jump has mainly come from the south Haryana belt. The daily egg production of the state has touched 1.5 crore.

"Basically, a vegetarian state, Haryana is exporting most of its produce to Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam and Bihar. We are now the fourth largest producer of eggs after Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra," says poultry manager to Government of Haryana, S K Khanna.

There are nearly 133 large poultry farms in Haryana with some having up to three lakh birds. Though Barwala is the poultry hub of the state, other districts such as Jind, Gurgaon, Bhiwani, Panchkula, Karnal, Rohtak, Fatehabad, Yamunanagar and now Sonipat and Hisar too are going the poultry way. The largest and hi-tech farm with 10 lakh birds is also coming up in Haryana at Jind.

Punjab, which lost out to its neighbour during days of terrorism, is also catching up and now produces a crore eggs a day. However, when it comes to diversified poultry, Punjab steals a march over Haryana.

Many non-resident Indians (NRIs) and progressive poultry farmers are using their farms to rear exotic varieties such as quails, turkeys, guinea fowls and emus, a trend which is only starting to be visible in Haryana.

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