Cry­ing ‘Fowl’

Two states, backed by two in­dus­try bod­ies, have ap­plied for a GI tag for a low-choles­terol chicken

India Today - - STATES - By Rahul Noronha

It is a ‘cock­fight’ like none other, with both Mad­hya Pradesh and Ch­hat­tis­garh claim­ing the Kadaknath—a low-choles­terol, black­plumed chicken—as an indige­nous breed. Things ap­pear headed for a show­down with Bhoom­gaadi, a Dan­te­wada-based farm pro­duce com­pany sup­ported by the district ad­min­is­tra­tion, set to file an ap­pli­ca­tion for a Ge­o­graph­i­cal In­di­ca­tion (GI) tag for the Kadaknath with the GI Reg­istry, Chen­nai. The Ch­hat­tis­garh-based com­pany’s claim is in con­flict with a 2012 ap­pli­ca­tion by the MP govern­ment claim­ing that the breed was na­tive to Jhabua district.

In­ter­est­ingly, the Con­fed­er­a­tion of In­dian In­dus­try (CII) and the Fed­er­a­tion of In­dian Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try (Ficci) are pit­ted against each other in the in­di­gene­ity claims. While Ficci is in talks with the Dan­te­wada district ad­min­is­tra­tion to move an ap­pli­ca­tion for a GI tag, CII is push­ing MP’s case. “Ch­hat­tis­garh will have to prove Kadaknath’s ori­gins in Dan­te­wada,” says the CII’s deputy di­rec­tor, Anil Pandey.

In Dan­te­wada, the state govern­ment has helped 28 self-help groups and a dozen in­di­vid­ual ben­e­fi­cia­ries to set up poul­try farms to breed the Kadaknath. Sub­sidised to the ex­tent of 95 per cent, the Kadaknath breed­ing project has emerged as a suc­cess­ful liveli­hood al­ter­na­tive for trib­als, with mar­kets like Hy­der­abad fetch­ing prices as high as Rs 500 a kg—nearly five times more than that of broiler chicken. The suc­cess has prompted Dan­te­wada’s district mag­is­trate, Sau­rabh Ku­mar, to push for a GI tag. The move is cer­tain to be chal­lenged by MP, which not only has a sim­i­lar ap­pli­ca­tion by the Jhabua-based Grameen Vikas Trust but also a thriv­ing Kadaknath breed­ing pro­gramme in­volv­ing women self-help groups. Jhabua’s breed­ers have mar­ket­ing chains in Ma­ha­rash­tra and Gu­jarat.

If suc­cess­ful, the twin GI tag ap­pli­ca­tions could im­pact the trade in the black-feath­ered fowl. “If the own­er­ship of a pro­duce is spread over more than one area, its value will de­crease,” says Vivek Singh, deputy di­rec­tor, IPR (in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights) ac­tiv­i­ties, Ficci.

BREED­ING KADAKNATH Selfhelp groups in both states have ben­e­fit­ted

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