The cost and return analysis of different sizes of integrated broiler farms in Oru East in Imo State has been carried out based on the primary data collected from 150 broiler farmers for the period Mar 2011 to Feb 2012. The study has shown that the total fixed investments per bird have been highest on small farms, followed by medium and large farms. The total cost of meat production per bird, returns per bird over the variable costs has been found highest on small broiler farms, followed by medium and large farms. On the basis of net present value, and internal rate of return, investment in broiler farming has been found profitable in all farm-sizes, it being most profitable on large farms, followed by medium and small farms. The small broiler farms have been observed highly sensitive to increase in costs and decrease in net returns. The study has observed that broiler farming is a profitable venture and has a bright future in the Imo State agro based industry for improving economic status of the farming community in general and in the study are in particular.
Broiler industry is one of the profitable agro-industries which can effectively tackle the problems of unemployment and underemployment in the rural areas, particularly of small and marginal farmers. Broiler industry can be adopted under a wide range of climatic conditions and can generally be combined conveniently with other farm enterprises. The land and capital requirements for this enterprise being not large, it ensures a regular flow of income through the marketing of poultry products. In spite of a spectacular growth in the poultry sector during the past two decades, a huge gap exists between availability and requirement of poultry products. An increase in per capita consumption by one egg and 50 grams of poultry meat can create employment for about 26,000 persons per year (Kazi, 2003). The present per capita availability of poultry meat is 1.8 kg against the requirement of 11 kg, as per the National Committee on Human Nutrition in India. Therefore, to meet the domestic requirement, there is a need of about six- time increase in meat production. Increase in population growth, changing life-style, shifting of food habits, rapid urbanization, increased per capita income, awareness about health care, etc. are contributing towards rising demand of poultry products. Thus, the growth potential of this sector is bright due to regular flow of income throughout the year in the rural economy of the Imo Statestate. In India, the production of broilers increased from 1.89 lakh tones in 1989-90 to 23.13 lakh tones in 2009-10, at a compound annual growth rate of 13.21 per cent. In broiler production, India stands 5th in the world with 2.31 million tones of broiler meat, contributing Rs 9000 crore to the national economy.
Poultry farming assumes special significance in the state of Imo State due to integration of Poultry sector, conducive weather condition and available land area. The productivity and production of food grains, particularly of cereals in Imo State have already reached a point of saturation with little scope to increase, resulting in looking for subsidiary occupations like poultry farming. At the same time, due to limited scope of further addition to the net area sown and huge indebtedness, diversification of agriculture through allied activities like poultry farming has acquired added significance for solving the agrarian crisis of the state. Adoption of poultry farming (broilers), by farmers, will not only liberate them from the debt trap but would also meet the growing demand of poultry meat.