Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala - which leads the
country in several indicators including literacy - is also the
highest consumer of meat with a daily requirement of over 5,000
tonnes, according to the state animal husbandry department.
Animal husbandry director R. Vijayakumar does not find the figure
of 5,034.96 tonnes a day surprising as 80 percent of the state's
residents are non-vegetarians.
"The sad part is that the domestic production of meat (beef,
mutton and chicken) is just around 264.31 tonnes," Vijaykumar told
IANS, adding: "The rest comes from nearby states."
The department has collected this data for a national meeting in
Gujarat later this month to review the production of meat and
The survey finds chicken to be the most preferred. In fact, from a
mere six percent share in 1990, it now accounts for 45 percent of
the meat consumed in Kerala.
"The eating profile of our people has undergone a huge change,"
Vijayakumar said. "With a large number of IT professionals working
in key centres, the fast food habit has picked up hugely. Hence
meat is the most preferred item."
In fiscal 2009-10, Keralites spent a staggering Rs. 2,844 crore on
chicken, of which Rs. 1,752 crore went to poultry farms outside
"There is a golden opportunity here as there is immense potential
to rear chicken, pig, goats and even rabbit," Vijaykumar said.
"Now all the money is going to neighbouring states," Vijaykumar
said. "We are going to give huge emphasis to this sector in our
Kottayam, Thrissur and Malappuram lead the state's 14 districts in
meat consumption. In fiscal 2009-10, a record 6.1 million cattle
came into the state through various check posts; another 1.8
million are estimated to have entered unchecked.
Of the 33 million people in Kerala, according to Vijaykumar,
Christians and Muslims together constitute around 47 percent and
most of the meat eaters are from these communities.
"If people in our state take to animal husbandry seriously, it
would only benefit them," Vijayakumar said.