The demand for Kadaknath, a protein-rich breed of chicken from tribal-dominated Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, has shot up significantly amid the COVID-19 outbreak, an official said on Sunday.
The supply of this chicken had been affected due to the lockdown, but ever since the restrictions were eased, its demand has gone up.
Talking to PTI, Chief of Jhabua's Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Dr I S Tomar, said that the supply of Kadaknath chicken was affected as transportation facilities were not available during the nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown.
But after the lockdown was eased, the demand has increased, he said.
KVK works for preserving and promoting this black- coloured variety of chicken through its hatchery.
"The poultry owners from across the country are coming to our hatchery in their own vehicles to buy Kadaknath chicks.
We sold around 5,000 hatchlings from our hatchery last month," Tomar said.
"The old stock of Kadaknath chicks in our hatchery is now over. The demand for it is so high that if one places a new order today, we will be able to supply it only after two months," he said.
Although the KVK has not conducted any separate scientific study regarding Kadaknath chicken in the backdrop of COVID-19, it is an established fact that this variety of chicken has higher amount of protein and is low in fat and cholesterol than other breeds, Tomar said.
Kadaknath chicken also has medicinal properties besides having a different taste.
Vinod Meda, head of a Jhabua district-based cooperative organisation associated with the production of Kadaknath, said that the demand for this chicken has increased during the pandemic.
However, due to the lack of regular passenger train services for the last four months, its supply for inter-state orders has been affected, he said.
"Before the COVID-19 outbreak, we were supplying live Kadaknath chicks and chicken across the country through luggage coaches of passenger trains from Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh and Vadodara in neighbouring Gujarat. They are packed in a ventilated packaging so that they remain alive until the completion of rail travel," Meda said.
Kadaknath chicken from Jhabua district had got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag last year.
This variety of chicken, which is mainly reared in Jhabua and called 'Kalamasi' in local dialect, is registered under the category of "Meat Product, Poultry and Poultry Meat" of the GI.
This chicken, its eggs and meat are sold at a higher rate than the other breeds.