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Paramount emphasis on poultry science education in India

Central Avian Research Institute, Izatnagar- 243 122 (UP)



The vibrant network of poultry science (PSC) education and strong research and development (R&D) are the most valuable assets of fast growing Indian Poultry Industry (IPI). The changing food habits, economic liberalization, globalization, industrialization, rising income and urbanization have created a favorable atmosphere for development of poultry sector in the country. Hence, there is a need to inculcate dynamism in PSC education so as to be in tune with the ever-changing needs of IPI in the wake of World Trade Organization (WTO). The role of PSC education is to meet the future demands of technically trained personnel under human resource development (HRD) programme for keeping pace with poultry development in India and ultimately allowing such personnel to meet the challenges of institutions and industry as a whole. An attempt has therefore been made to recast the trend of PSC education in India and also to evaluate the issues of HRD for poultry scientists and trainers.

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Current Status of Poultry Sector

Poultry, which was considered as a backyard venture in the early 60’s has now been transformed into an organized scientific and vibrant venture with tremendous employment potential for fighting poverty and malnutrition. Despite cyclic boom and bust phenomena arising from uncontrolled production and lack of efficient marketing network, the spectacular increase in both eggs (44 billion) and broiler (1.6 billion) production in 2003 with an annual growth rate of about 7% and 15% over the last decade, respectively is quite evident. As a result, the India has emerged as the 4 th and 5 th largest producers of eggs and poultry meat respectively in the world. Consistent, with the increase in production and productivity, the per capita availability of eggs and poultry meat in India has increased to 40 eggs and 1.2 kg poultry meat per annum which is still lower in comparison to 180 eggs and 11 kgs of poultry meat per person per year as recommended by Nutritional Advisory Committee (NAC) to Govt of India (GOI).

With a turn over of more than 300 billion rupees, the IPI provides direct and indirect employment to over 5 million people in the country and has great potential to create gainful employment with every increase in egg/meat consumption. It accounts about 1 % of the India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 10 % of the total GDP attributed to livestock products. Bridging the gap between the availability and requirement, it is likely to create over 10 million jobs. The primary business of poultry keeping has given rise to a number of supporting and allied industries like egg and poultry processing, compounded feed, equipments and machinery, pharmaceuticals and biologicals etc.

Among any other livestock industry, the IPI is most scientific in terms of gene pool, flock-management, nutritious feed, product-processing, packaging, pharmaceuticals including vaccines, health care, manufacturing of high-tech poultry equipments, R&D activities etc. However, in the changing scenario of our growing domestic market, liberalized economic policy and associated industrial activities under WTO agreement, the projected future growth of IPI will largely depend on how far and how soon it catches up with the rest of world in terms of efficiency of production, processing and marketing and competitiveness in cost and in quality of poultry products to gap huge domestic and export markets. To meet these challenges, India would require adequately trained manpower both in quality and quantity to manage and operate various poultry industrial activities, rural poultry production schemes and need based R&D programmes.

Peep into Past Poultry Science Education

Way back in 30’s the role of poultry in fighting poverty and malnutrition was recognized and on the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Agriculture (1927), the Poultry Research Section (PRS) was established during 1939 at the Imperial (now Indian) Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar which became a full-fledged Poultry Research Division (PRD) in 1952. In order to fortify the endeavors of producing trained personnel, a 3-months Post Graduate (PG) certificate course was instituted in 1950. Abreast to it, an advanced training associateship of IVRI of 2-years duration (equivalent of master’s qualification) was also launched in 1943. Subsequently the National Diploma in Poultry Husbandry (NDPH) of 9-months duration was started at IVRI in 1960. With the help of United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), a Centre of Excellence in PSC was established in 1972 at PRD of IVRI, Izatnagar to train persons under PG programme for strengthening R&D of poultry in the country. Since then the education to cover various areas of PSC such as disease control, genetics & breeding, housing & management, nutrition, physiology and products technology leading to diploma, masters and doctoral degree has been the major activities of the PRD..

Realizing the further importance of providing all round support to the progress of poultry production in the country, the Central Avian Research Institute (CARI), Izatnagar was established in 1979, as a commodity based institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi. It has a Main Campus at Izatnagar and a Regional Centre at Bhubaneswar. As such the CARI is engaged in almost all the spheres of Avian Production including development and maintenance of high yielding germplasms of broilers, layers, desi birds, guinea fowls, quails and turkeys, conservation of indigenous poultry breeds, health cover, management, nutrition, physiology, post-harvest technology and transfer of these technologies to poultry farmers and industrialists for their utilization. The HRD of especially senior level professionals to man R&D organizations of public and private sectors through Diploma (NDPH), PG degree (MVSc) and Doctoral degree (PhD) of IVRI Deemed University, Izatnagar have been the other major activities of CARI. Additionally, the Short Term Specialized Training (STST) Courses and the Farmers’ Training Programmes on Poultry Production for shorter duration are also imparted at regular intervals at the Institute.

Development of Poultry Science Education

The country has developed a strong education followed by R&D network to provide the necessary support to IPI. Among the public sector institutions, the ICAR, New Delhi is playing a vital role through its CARI, Izatnagar, Project Directorate on Poultry (PDP), Hyderabad, All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRP) on Poultry Breeding (PB), Poultry Nutrition (PN) and Poultry Housing and Management (PHM), ICAR Cess Fund Projects and National Agricultural Technology Projects (NATP). The ICAR also provides necessary financial and technical support for undertaking research in different sub-disciplines of PSC at State Agricultural/ Veterinary Universities (SAUs/SVUs).

A network of 39 Veterinary Colleges and over 100 Agricultural Colleges attached with 37 SAUs, 5 SVAUs and two deemed universities has developed adequate facilities for undertaking undergraduate (UG) and PG education and research on various aspects of Agricultural Sciences including PSC. Some of them have full-fledged Departments of PSC to strengthen the PSC education. In other universities the training and research in poultry are being undertaken in the Departments of Animal Genetics and Breeding (AG&B), Animal Science, Bacteriology, Biotechnology, Livestock Production & Management (LPM), Livestock Products Technology (LPT), Medicines, Pathology, Virology etc.

The first Agricultural University i.e Govindh Ballabh Pant University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (GBPUAT) at Pantnagar (UP) established during 1960 started educating UG and PG students in Poultry Husbandry discipline in the Department of Animal Science. During the course of time, the PSC education was started at various Veterinary Colleges to UG and PG students in different years. These include Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University (APAU), Hyderabad (1962), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana (1965), Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), Mannuthy (1971), Haryana Agricultural University (HAU), Hissar (1973), University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore (1973), Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Chennai (1974), Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidalaya (JNKVV), Jabalpur (1975), Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar (1976), Dr Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (DPDKV), Akola (1981). The PG programmes leading to MVSc and PhD degrees and specialized courses leading to PG diplomawas also introduced at these Departments. Later on the Veterinary Council of India (VCI) revised the whole structure of Veterinary Courses and consequently merged PSC courses with AG&B, AN, LPM and LPT disciplines in 1993. Since then the PG programmes in PSC got diluted with other disciplines. This has created a vacuum in PSC education and the infra structural facilities, built over the years for the objectives, are not being fully utilized. At present, by observing a tremendous development of poultry sector in the country, it is strongly felt that offering a meaningful knowledge on different aspects of PSC and maintaining the identity of the discipline need more attention. It is heartening to mention here that the National Seminar on VCI Regulations Governing Undergraduate Education in Veterinary and Animal Sciences-A Retrospective held at Madras Veterinary College, Chennai in 1994 has recommended for starting a separate independent department of PSC in all Veterinary Colleges and naming all PSC courses as Poultry Science not as Avian Science and inclusion of three courses such as Poultry Production and Management (PSC 121) 3+1 credits, Poultry Breeding, Feeding and Flock Health (PSC 211) 3+1 credits, Poultry Products Technology and Project Formulation (PSC 221) 2+1 credits in the curriculum of BVSc & AH by taking the overall interest of veterinarians for securing a job or self employment.

The PG courses dealing with major aspects of PSC at IVRIDU, Izatnagar contain lectures and practicals for 30 credit hours for MVSc and PhD candidates but with 30 and 45 credits for research work for MVSc and PhD stream, respectively. The course curricula are extensive and flexible in institutions and colleges where the PSC is to be taught. Timely revision of course content and uniformity in teaching aids are some pondering points.

Other public sector institutes which have developed adequate teaching and research infrastructure include Central Poultry Training Institute (CPTI), Bangalore during 1972, Central Poultry Breeding Farms (now known as Central Poultry Development Organization-CPDO) of GOI, located at Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Bombay and Chandigarh and Central Food and Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore. For the field specialists, the CPTI at Bangalore conducts Short-Term Training Courses in Genetics, Management and Marketing, Nutrition and all other aspects of PSC. The CFTRI at Mysore conducts training courses and disseminates know-how on methods developed for the processing of poultry products and their preservation. To meet the wide-ranging manpower requirements, Dr B V Rao Institute of Poultry Management and Technology (DBVRIPMT) set up at Pune during 1985 by the Venkateshwara Group is meant to impart advanced, orientation and specialized courses of different durations on various aspects of poultry production.

Strengths in realizing the potential education
  • Several activities of farming including production, processing and marketing need a strong base of HRD.
  • The PSC discipline is no way a backbencher in producing a large number of educated personnel to solve the challenges and their implications across the progress of poultry production.
  • With the globalization of world trade, export of poultry and poultry products for fetching more foreign exchange is a valuable growth driver for national economy.
  • The integrated poultry production either at corporate, government or private sectors brings all-greater returns to the farmers, investors and producers and lower price to the consumers and above all the employment creation through mass education by poultry scientists cum educators.
  • There are greater challenges today for making the IPI globally competitive and viable and therefore it is of great need to enhance HRD programme in abundance the country.
Suggestive Approaches

The phenomenal success of poultry production in recent years in the country owes much to the efforts of the education, extension, research and related agencies in the cooperative, private and public sectors. Realizing the growth of IPI and its challenges, some suggestive ways need attention.

  • Special emphasis on teaching programme in PSC as a separate discipline.
  • Introduction of PG Diploma course of 6 months to 1-year duration in PSC wherever they are not existing.
  • Retention/Restart of PSC Departments in all Veterinary Colleges of the country.
  • Revision of course outline and increasing the credits in PSC discipline at UG and PG levels in view of recent improvised tenets developed so far in different aspects of poultry production.
  • Strengthening poultry component through Internship Programme by allotting 1/3 of the total period of Internship.
  • National indexing of detailed information on PSC Education through websites.
  • Installation of Poultry Informative Help-Line or Call Center to educate the concerned personnel on different aspects of poultry production.
  • Starting with Poultry Trade Schools at every district levels for persons after attaining high school level of education to undergo for 2-years intensive practical poultry training programme.
  • Establishment of Poultry Polytechnics for producing technicians with three years diploma/certificate after 10+2 level.
  • Poultry Business and Marketing be included in the curriculum of MBA/PGDBA/PGDBM to produce well-trained managers understanding each nick and hook of poultry production and marketing.
  • Introduction of Short and Long Term Training Courses for middle level to big farmers, hatchery men and feed managers.
  • Development and launching of various software suitable for feed computing, disease diagnosis, flock keeping, record management and operation of different poultry appliances by computer control.
  • Introduction of PSC education through off-campus or distance education system.

The poultry development has attained a prime position in diversified food production programme to fight with poverty and malnutrition. Provision of techno-scientific inputs on pros and cons of PSC through adequately trained human resources is also an essential tool to usher the growth of poultry in years to come. In view of challenges anticipated in the industry, certain types of specialized or customized training activities may be redundant and new areas of training requirement may emerge. It is very pertinent to recall the focal theme of poultry education boosting viable poultry production in the country and therefore the recasting of PSC education programme with more vigorous and zealous aptitude becomes imperative.

Source : IPSACON-2005