ALAPPUZHA: Though the Onam festival is almost a month away, muti-crore Kuttanad duck industry is now gearing up for a profitable season. For last several weeks aiming at a brisk business during Onam days, duck farmers here were busy rearing big flock ducks across the paddy fields. In the upcoming days either sides of Alappuzha- Changanassery Road, the hub of duck business, will be lined up with duck stalls.
According to farmers, with the Onam season round the corner, at least 10 percent hike in regular business in the upcoming days is expected. Though the industry was devastated by the scars of bird-flu outbreak in November 2014, they say, the industry had long recovered the setback. These days the demand has gone up. However, the rates have not gone up. It’s being sold Rs 260 per kg. The meat eaters often choose to buy the duck meat all Onam days except Thiruvonam”, says Thankachan Kaitharam, who rears a flock of 7,000 for Onam.
As per the data of Kerala Animal Husbandry Department (AHD), Kerala has one of the highest consumers of meat in the country, with its daily requirement touching 5,000 tonnes. Close to 80 percent of the population is non-vegetarian. Domestic production of meat (beef, mutton, and chicken) is only around 264.31 tonnes. K. Satheesan, a duck shop owner in Muttar, says he has 10,000 three-month-old ducks for Onam business. He also added that they got a good sale during Onam days over the years but the business was not as good as Easter season”, he compares.
Samuel Pallippad, state secretary, All Kerala Joint Duck Farmer’s Society, says the wholesale dealers purchase duck from the farmers at a rate of 130-150. He also demanded that there should be a monitoring system to stop the import from the other states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. However, K.T. Kuttappan, says Onam business had not given much profit as much as other seasons including Christmas, Easter and New. He points out it depends on the price of vegetables”, he said.
Rajan, a native of Ambalappuzha, says many people in his area have chosen duck curry during Onam days. He added that he used to eat meat especially Kuttanadan duck curry on Onam days. According to the AHD data, about 650 registered large scale duck farmers are currently in Kuttanad and surrounding areas and over thousand farmers in the unorganised sector.