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Tripura introduces exotic, jet black Kadaknath chicken, says positive response in initial experiment

Written by Debraj Deb
| Agartala |

Updated: June 27, 2020 5:04:56 pm


Originally reared by tribal communities in Bhil and Bhilala and Dhar of Madhya Pradesh, the chicken has fast become commercially popular in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu in recent years. (Debraj Deb)

Five months back, a group of veterinary scientists at a Krishi Vigyan Kendra in North Tripura started an experiment to introduce the much-acclaimed and exotic Kadaknath chicken in the state. The experiment has nearly come full circle now as hundreds of poultry farmers have enquired about the poultry breed and some purchase orders have been placed.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Dr. Somendra Kumar, Subject Matter specialist, veterinary sciences at Panisagar Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) of north district, said the birds were brought to Tripura from Central Avian Research Institute at Ijjatnagar of Uttar Pradesh in February this year.

Native to Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, Kadaknath is one of the rarest poultry breeds in India. The bird and its meat is striking jet black in colour. Originally reared by tribal communities in Bhil and Bhilala and Dhar of Madhya Pradesh, the chicken has fast become commercially popular in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu in recent years.

While other varieties of black chicken meat are available such as Silkie and Ayyam Cemani, native to China and Indonesia respectively, India’s own Kadaknath breed became famous after agri-scientists of Madhya Pradesh recommended the black chicken to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Indian skipper Virat Kohli, shortly after Kohli said he was going vegan.

“It is a country breed bird and can be reared through backyard farming or composite farming. The birds will need a vaccine and nothing else. Poultry bird chicken isn’t prescribed to people with cardiac ailments, hypertension, high blood pressure but Kadaknath chicken is prescribed to them since it has low cholesterol, high protein and almost no fat deposition. The Indian cricketers were prescribed this meat. Athletes and high energy burning performers can use this meat as well,” Dr. Kumar said.

Abhijit Debnath, a senior scientific officer at Panisagar Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) in north district, said his team of veterinary scientists tested to ascertain how the breed performs in the tropical climate prevalent here.

“It’s been five months we brought these chickens here. We are observing positive growth and a very low mortality rate of 4-6 percent. We have built a mother block. We have plans to hatch eggs laid by the first batch of birds and distribute the chicks to interested poultry farmers through different beneficiary schemes,” he said.

Kadaknath chicken is priced much higher than country breed chicken and is usually sold at Rs. 1,500 per kilogram. Its eggs are priced at Rs. 30 per piece, while newly-hatched chicks are highly priced as well.

Tripura earlier set a 10-year target for food self sufficiency in 2002-03. The target was not achieved at the time of evaluation in 2012-13 with barely 25 thousand MT meat, 12.5 crore eggs and 1.05 MT milk produced annually. Later, the erstwhile Left Front government set a new target for self sufficiency in food production by 2020. But despite repeated attempts, it failed to cut down on its import dependency so far.

Earlier this year, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said his government is trying to double income of farmers and poultry farmers by intensive cultivation and introduction of high yielding varieties. He stressed on developing production in primary sector activities to boost revenue and overcome the crises arising out of the lockdown.

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