August 3, 2016 08:00 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Aug 3: Despite growing commercialization, production of chicken is still lower than buffalo meat, popularly known as 'buff', government data shows.
The data suggests that consumption is also in the similar trend as the there is no formal export of chicken and buff.
Economy Survey 2015/16 conducted by the Ministry of Finance shows that production of chicken is around one-fourth of total buff production in the country. But a recent Nepal Commercial Poultry Survey 2071/72 commissioned by Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) shows that such a huge gap in production of chicken and buff is not a reality. The survey, which studied commercial poultry farms across the country, put annual poultry production at 114,058 tons. If the household production (48,230 tons) of chicken is counted, total chicken production in 2015/16 was 162,288 tons.
Economic Survey shows that the country produces 174,099 tons of buff annually. The figure is almost constant over the past decade as there is not sizable commercial production, officials say.
According to Nepal Commercial Poultry Survey 2071/72, domestic poultry industry is worth Rs 33.72 billion annually.
Government officials acknowledge that statistics of chicken in previous years was not scientific. “The Economic Survey did not specifically cover commercial production,” Pradeep Chandra Bhattarai, information officer of Ministry of Livestock Development, said.
Narayan Hari Khatri, chairman of Nepal Feed Industries Association, said even the Nepal Commercial Poultry Survey 2071/72 has overlooked around 15 percent of farms across the country. “Our assumption is that chicken is the most consumed meat in the country. Conservative estimate shows that around 5,000 tons of chicken is consumed in the country every week," added Khatri.
A rough calculation based on production shows per capital consumption is 5.73 kg.
According to Nepal Commercial Poultry Survey, the country produces 1.22 billion eggs annually. However, the Economic Survey puts the figure at 934.67 million per year.
Poultry farmers claim that the country is becoming self-sufficient on poultry products.
Mutton is the third most consumed meat in the country after buff and chicken. The country produced 63,646 tons of mutton in the last fiscal year.
“Lack of proper data does not mean that the government has not realized the contribution of poultry sector. We have introduced number of programs and policy preferences for this sector," added Bhattarai.
Ministry of Livestock Development has planned to focus on specific data collection of major livestock. However, only Rs 10 million has been allotted for the purpose in this fiscal year. Also, the ministry is yet to work out details of such specific surveys.