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No buyers for emus in Erode district

S. Ramesh
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The administration is still maintaining over 10,000 birds

Officials are having a tough time in conducting auctions to sell the emusin Erode as there is poor response from meat traders.—file PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN
Officials are having a tough time in conducting auctions to sell the emusin Erode as there is poor response from meat traders.—file PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN

The officials in the district are having a tough time in conducting auctions to sell the emu, which were left behind by the promoters of various private companies involved in the multi-crore contract farming scam, due to poor response from the meat traders both in Tamil Nadu and other states in the country.

The district administration conducted the first auction based on the directions of the special court in March this year and sold about 640 birds. The maximum price offered for a bird during the auction was Rs. 1,350. In the second auction held a month ago, the price went down to Rs. 235 a bird. The administration sold about 2,400 birds.

The trader that purchased the birds, however, failed to turn up to take them. This had forced the administration to find another trader and sell the birds at the same price.

“We had a very difficult time in finding a buyer for the birds as there is very little demand for its meat in the country,” a senior official here said.

The administration is still maintaining more than 10,000 birds. Of them, about 7,000 birds belong to the Susi Emu Farms, the leading player in the contract emu farming business.

The birds were kept at eight different places in the district and the revenue department along with officials from the animal husbandry is taking care of the birds.

The government has spent over Rs. 2.75 crore towards maintaining these exotic birds, which consume a huge amount of feed every day.

“When the court orders to sell more birds, we will have to do a lot of work to find buyers. Last time, contacted more than 100 traders and very few turned up to participate in the auction. We even had bids offering just Rs. 47 per bird. It appears that we will not be able to generate a significant revenue from the sale,” another official here said. “The promoters of emu farming claimed that a bird fetched Rs. 20,000 in the market. But a fully grown up bird does not even fetches Rs. 250 now,” the official pointed out. The administration had also written to the government about the difficulties in selling the emu birds.

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