Poultry meat production in India is projected to rise to 7.2 million tons by 2024-25, representing an annual increase of 6.3 percent, according to recently published report in Amber Waves from the USDA Economic Research Service. This compares with an 8.9 percent rate of growth per year over the period 2000-12. Domestic consumption is expected to match these figures.

The report’s authors, agricultural economists Maurice Landes and Kim Hjort, write that rising incomes and production costs below popular competing proteins have been responsible for fueling India’s poultry sector, which ranks 5th in the world in terms of output. As a result of integration and growing domestic production of corn and soybean meal, poultry meat production has become more efficient and growth is expected to continue.

Over the next few years, USDA forecasts India’s poultry meat production will exceed that of beef. The beef sector is based on the water buffalo and its meat, known as “carabeef,” exports of which have shown double-digit annual growth over the past five to six years to make the country the global No. 1 beef exporter. From an average of 1.7 million tonnes per year over the period 2011-14, exports are forecast to double to 3.4 million tons in 2024-25. Leading markets for Indian carabeef are low- and middle-income countries.

A recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) forecasts that India will make the 4th highest contribution to the future increase in global meat production, behind China, the U.S. and Brazil. Between 2012 and 2024-25, Indian meat output is expected to increase by 1.07 million tons for poultry and 729,000 tons of beef.

Avian flu crisis over?

In two reports in recent days to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Department of Agriculture in New Delhi reports no new outbreaks of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza in the country.

The series of outbreaks in the State of Kerala in the far south of the country – totaling 5 between November 2014 and January 2015 – is now described as “resolved.”

A more recent set of officially linked outbreaks started in early March 2015 in Uttar Pradesh and then in Manipur and Andhra Pradesh in the next month, with a total of three cases in poultry and two in wild birds (crows). Despite ongoing surveillance, there have been no virus-positive results since April 2015.