Pigeon business spreading wings in Kerala

March 15th, 2009 - 12:50 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sanu George
Kochi, March 15 (IANS) Want to make some extra money by spending a couple of hours a day with birds? City-based Kerala Pigeon Foundation (KPF) says it’s quite possible, given the increasing demand for pigeons in the local market.

The KPF, which is conducting a pigeon market every second Sunday to promote the business, said they have approached the Kochi Corporation for financial help to pigeon-rearers, a move that could help expand the business in the state.

“This is a simple business and can be easily managed by women. Over the years, I have seen this business grow in a modest manner. This is not enough and it is here where the government should step in and extend financial subsidy and loans to new people to enter this business,” KPF secretary P.V. Seetharam Rao told IANS.

Rao, a hotelier by profession, said a few years ago the number of pigeon-rearers in Ernakulam district was just a handful and now it has touched 80.

“In Kochi itself in the last one year, more than half a dozen pigeon selling shops have opened. On an investment of Rs.10,000, anybody can enter this business and easily make a minimum of Rs.3,000 every month by selling baby pigeons,” he said.

Rao, who has more than 50 varieties of pigeons at home, said demand for the birds is going up.

“Currently the situation is that we just cannot meet the demand that comes from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and other states in North India,” he said.

“Today there are around 80 businessmen in Ernakulam and a few more in other districts. In two years, the number of businessmen here will touch 500. It is here that the local bodies should step in by extending support just like they do for poultry,” he said, adding: “This is easy additional money for families.”

Pigeon-rearers here said the birds are available at different prices. The costliest is American Fantail - Rs.50,000 a pair. English Macpee Poulter costs Rs.20,000 a pair, while King costs around Rs.10,000 a pair.

“I’ve around 20 varieties of pigeons and every month we make a minimum of Rs.10,000. I am really surprised that not many people are entering this business,” local resident Usha Xavier told IANS.

“I would suggest that interested people start with the common Australia Red variety of pigeons with 10 pairs of birds that cost Rs.10,000,” she added.

“Moreover, the droppings of these birds are good manure and there is a huge demand for that too. This is an additional income source for rearers,” Rao said.

(Sanu George can be contacted at sanu.g@ians.in

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