Livestock plays a vital role in economic development particularly as societies evolve from subsistence agriculture into cash based economies.
In the Asian region, livestock provides major additional contribution to agriculture through draft power, manure, fuel and as a fertilizer, animal products such as meat, milk eggs while poultry provide daily cash income and much required nutrition to rural population.
Many Asian countries, mixed farming involving crops and livestock integration has been a way of life since the beginning of agriculture. It is widely realized that this is the only method of providing additional income and employment to the small farmers and land less labor families.
Countries in many South Asian countries, next to crops, animal husbandry has the largest employment potential in rural areas. Further this sector can make a significant contribution to promote re-distribution effects of income in favor of weaker sections.
During past two decades, in many Asian countries, the poultry farming has made a spectacular progress transforming itself from a backyard industry into a dynamic and sophisticated agri-based industry.
During these years industry has grown in size, quality and productivity. As about 60% of the world’s population live in Asia and average consumption of eggs and poultry meat among most of the people in this region is well below that in developed countries. This is where the demand for poultry products will increase most in the future.
“Compared to other livestock sectors, the poultry industry is showing a characteristic tendency to a rapid application of advanced technology“
There are some clear differences between poultry husbandry and the animal husbandry in general, which can explain the fast developments in the poultry industry, such as: a high rate of reproduction, a quick return on capital invested and the absence of the necessity to own large area of land.
In the past two decades per capita consumption of poultry meat has increased by over 100 percent in many countries. Several factors contributed to this trend and the first and foremost in increasing consumer preference for poultry meat among all communities and religions in the region. Since it is accepted by all communities, it can be called as the “ Universal Meat” in the region.