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TN chicken farmers ready retail outlet plans

G. Gurumurthy

COIMBATORE, March 28

CHICKEN producers based in Tamil Nadu have informally set a five-to-six-year time frame to shift to 100 per cent processed chicken marketing from the present live-bird marketing.

To set the ball rolling in this regard, the State Broiler Coordination Committee (BCC) has sounded its members to open within the next two months at least one or two retail outlets that could exclusively market processed chicken meat in major towns in the State.

These exclusive retail points, to be run directly by the major broiler companies, could have cold storage facility and care has to be taken that these shops are not in any way linked to live-bird selling so as to emphasis on the exclusivity of dressed chicken marketing.

BCC's keenness to promote processed chicken sale in Tamil Nadu comes in the wake of sustained growth levels recorded by the poultry farmers in the State posing indirect pressure on the broiler producers to correspondingly widen the market.

The BCC members from Tamil Nadu sent a 30-member delegation to Sri Lanka early this month to study how Lankan chicken producers fared after taking to fully processed chicken marketing in the last six years.

The BCC members picked on the Sri Lankan model as the Island nation, which remained a 100 per cent live-bird selling one till 1992, has now totally shifted to processed chicken sale.

In the process, the Sri Lankan broiler industry has seen the per capita chicken consumption soaring to 4.5 kg from an average one kg.

``We find the Sri Lankan experiment quite interesting and may be relevant to our market also, though the Sri Lanka may not be a volume market compared to ours,'' said Mr B. Soundararajan, President, BCC. According to him, Lankan consumers shift to processed chicken was largely influenced by quality and hygiene considerations associated with the dressed chicken.

In a bid to lure more farmers to take up processed chicken meat, Mr Soundararajan said BCC had decided to extend a subsidy of Rs 25,000 for individuals setting up their own units.

At least 20 BCC members would be in a position to take up direct marketing of the processed chicken by locating exclusive retail outlets in select cities in the State, he said.

His own company, Suguna Poultry Products, is also planning to set up a few exclusive selling points including one in Chennai.

The 100 per cent processed chicken market envisioned by BCC may go through three stages with the first promotional stage concentrating on dressed chicken with package and branding.

This could be followed by marketing of `portion' chickens and other value-added chicken products such as sausages, nuggets, rolls etc.

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