ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Banks Step in to Support West Bengal's Industry

by 5m Editor
5 March 2009, at 5:04am

INDIA - West Bengal's banks are to offer financial support to the state's poultry farmers, whose businesses suffered as the result of the latest bird flu outbreak.

Economic Times reports that, in step with the UPA government's attempt to support poultry farmers in West Bengal, banks operating in the state have collectively projected a credit potential of 3.67 billion rupees (INR) to develop the state's ailing poultry sector.

This is a good 15.4 per cent more than the projected bank credit of INR 3.18 billion in 2008-09. The credit projection is prepared by the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) based on feedback from district level bankers.

The poultry sector in the state had been denied sizeable bank credit during the good times and has remained largely as a backyard occupation. Banks in the state are now told to lend freely to poultry farmers, especially to overcome the losses they suffered due to bird flu.

The ministry of finance has recently directed Reserve Bank of India, Nabard and Indian Banks Association to tell banks to become proactive in offering loans to poultry farmers.

The poultry sector in the state needs a higher bank credit flow not only because it generates employment and subsidiary income: it also provides nutritional security for the rural poor. Eggs, one of the poultry products, are an inexpensive source of protein.

Annual egg consumption in West Bengal is the highest in India. The state consumes 1.16 billion eggs a day, of which merely 180 million are produced locally. The rest is imported from states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Currently, broiler population stands a 2.40 billion with yearly turnover of 20 billion. The potential in the sector has been estimated at INR 6.2 billion.

According to Nabard, out of the state's total egg production, 50 per comes from desi poultry, the unorganised rural backyard sector. Merely 16 per cent is contributed by the organised poultry sector and the balance 34 per cent is being contributed by duckery.

The per capita availability of eggs is 34 a year in the state. Eight districts in the state produces eggs more than the state average. These are Birbhum, South 24 Paraganas, Murshidabad, Nadia, Cooch Behar, Hooghly, Dakshin Dinajpur and Bardhaman.

Local bankers told Economic Times that the major bottleneck in the state's poultry sector development is the non-availability of good quality feed. Ingredients like poultry feed like maize, groundnut cake and soybean meal are not cultivated sufficiently in the state and thus are mostly imported from other states. This push up the feed cost. So, the cost of egg production is much higher in West Bengal compared to states like Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.