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Maharashtra scrambles for corporate funds to bridge shortfall of eggs

mumbai Updated: Sep 13, 2017 11:25 IST
Surendra P Gangan

The state’s animal husbandry department has set an ambitious goal for itself. It wants to produce enough eggs in the state to meet the daily consumption need of three crore.

But with a deficit of 2.10 crore eggs daily — made up with imports from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka — and the absence of funds, the government is angling for corporate funds to help achieve this goal.

The state government is chalking out a plan to raise Rs20 crore through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund to promote poultry farming among groups of women and farmers.

And in a bid to hard sell the project to corporates, the department will now project poultry farming as a way to achieve women empowerment, which is one of the 17 sustainable development goals earmarked by the United Nations.

Under this scheme, self-help women groups and farmer organisations will be given preference for government grants — seeded with corporate funding — to undertake poultry farming.

“We have been implementing schemes for the past two years with a budgetary allocation of just Rs1.63 crore. This has helped us increase our production by only 10 lakh eggs. The constraint of the funds has now forced us to tap into CSR funds. We are preparing a presentation to be made before the corporate houses,” said an official from the animal husbandry department.

Department officials hope that with the CSR funds, they can take the poultry population to 20 crore egg-laying birds.

Besides, women and farmers, the government plans to distribute chickens to at least 50% of the 1.35 crore rural families.

“With better breeds of chicken laying 310 eggs a year, our plan may take the production to 3.5 crore eggs a day. Under the Integrated Poultry Development block scheme, the government plans to give a grant of Rs5.13 lakh for every beneficiary,” said Kantilal Umap, animal husbandry.

Animal husbandry minister Mahadev Jankar said the government will achieve the target of producing 3 crore eggs in the next year. “The production of eggs and chicken acts like ‘Any Time Money’ for rural families as they get immediate cash. Beside improvement in financial status of the families, the level of the nutrient consumption among the family members will also go up,” he said.

The minister said the government was also chalking out schemes to weed out the shortfall of milk and fish as well.