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Egg Production in India

06/07/2019

According to a recent article by Professor Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Windhorst of the University of Vechta in Germany, India ranked third among the World’s egg producers in 2016. According to FAO data, the combined flock of India amounted to 404.6 million hens producing 4,561,000 metric tons (214.3 million cases) of eggs. Given a total population of 1.35 billion and production of 78.8 billion eggs, average consumption is 58.5 eggs per capita. This is a misleading figure given that a high percentage of the population are strict vegetarians and do not consume eggs. Much of the rural population is neither accessible nor qualified to purchase commercially-produced eggs based on location or poverty and rely on back-yard and village eggs which are not included in state or central statistics. Actual urban egg consumption is probably in excess of 120 per capita constraining the potential for a large increase in national consumption over the short term.

Egg production is highly concentrated in ten states with a combined population of 780.4  million representing 57.6 percent of the population of India. These states produce 67.4 billion eggs or 85.7 percent of national production. The three leading states, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana collectively represent 50 percent of national production.

Egg production is predominantly carried out by independent owners of farms holding 25,000 to 100,000 hens. They are contracted to packers usually financed by feed mills. The top ten companies that are vertically integrated represented five percent of the laying hens in 2018 with flock holdings ranging from 1 million to 5.8 million birds.

Despite increases in per capita consumption, production exceeds demand especially during hot summer conditions and periods of fasting. In 2016, 16,434 tons (752 million cases) of shell eggs and 10,000 tons of dry product were exported.

Oversupply may be accentuated in coming years as a joint venture between the state of Gujarat and Suzuki Motor Company has been announced adding 10 million hens to the total.

It would appear unrealistic to regard India as a potential market for either eggs or egg products given that the nation is a net exporter. Accordingly, expenditure by the U.S. on technical programs to promote domestic egg consumption may reduce total exports from India but will have little or no beneficial effect on producers in the U.S.