Dial EGGCOS for green eggs

The business of backyard poultry rearing in Poothady village in Kerala’s Wayanad district is acquiring a definite structure, sustainable business model and a recognisable brand name with the adoption of the APCOS model of milk collection and sales for eggs.

Poothady Rural Egg Collection and Marketing Cooperative Society (EGGCOS), as it has come to be called, replicates the Anand Pattern Milk Cooperative Societies. The cooperative venture is an egg collection and marketing system established under the supervision of the veterinary dispensary at Irulam, Wayanad, under the State Department of Animal Husbandry.

The egg collection and marketing programme was launched using the Kudumbashree Mission network. Kudumbashree is Kerala government’s poverty eradication mission to prevent inter-generational transmission of poverty by organising women’s neighbourhood groups for micro, small and medium enterprises. There are 4.1 million women organised under 2.5 lakh SHGs in the State. There are 1.5 lakh women under 10,350 NHGs in Wayanad district.

The programme, which is now achieving full momentum, had a humble beginning. The pilot was launched during 2013-14 under the people’s plan with the distribution of eight 60-day-old pullets each to 110 selected beneficiaries in the Irulam ward of the Poothady Grama Panchayat. A total of around 1,700 eggs are collected each week these months on an average. Production is down during the rainy months, said the official.

The green eggs are in great demand at the supermarkets because of the assurance of quality with which they come.

The Animal Husbandry Department allotted Rs.4 lakh for expanding the programme to all the 22 wards in the Poothady Panchayat and a total of 5,500 birds have been distributed and they are expected to be laying eggs by November by when the programme will acquire full steam.

The target is to bring to the market around 70,000 eggs per month. The eggs will be tested for quality, weighed, packed and branded as Green Eggs, said a senior Veterinary Department official associated with the programme.

They have been branded Green for the natural way the birds are reared without confinement and for their quality and concept of healthy green eggs, the official pointed out.

The uniqueness of the eggs from the project lies in the restrictions on the rearing of the birds. “The eggs should be purely from backyard system of poultry rearing with a maximum of 10 to 15 birds per household,” said the official.

Besides, no male pullets are allowed among the flock to avoid embryo development to ensure that the vegetarian egg specifications are maintained. The birds are also given, besides their regular quota of feed, herbs such as turmeric, thulasi and karuka grass. These herbal supplements are natural and improve the yolk quality. The eggs are sold, mostly through supermarkets, on the basis of their weight. Eggs, weighing above 50 grams, fetch a premium over eggs weighing below 50 grams, the official said.

The farmers are paid Rs.5 per egg. A bonus of two kg of feed per 100 eggs is also planned by the time the programme achieves bigger volumes by November. The feed will be organic, comprising maze, groundnut cake, fishmeal and the like.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 12:49:38 AM |

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