BHOPAL: A protein-rich breed of chicken, popularly known as 'Kadaknath', has virtually become a bone of contention between Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states, with both staking claim over its nativity.
The two neighbouring states have filed applications with the Geographical Indication registry office in Chennai to obtain the 'GI tag' for this black-winged chicken variety.
'Kadaknath' is known for its high iron content and much lower cholesterol than other breeds, and sells at a much higher price than other varieties, say experts.
"Madhya Pradesh is likely to get the GI nativity tag for the tan-blooded bird, which has its origin in the state's Jhabua district," MP animal husbandry department's additional deputy director Dr Bhagwan Manghnani told PTI.
"The Gramin Vikas Trust of Jhabua applied for the GI tag in 2012 on behalf of the tribal families involved in breeding it," he said.
Chhattisgarh too staked its claim for the GI tag of 'Kadaknath' recently.
Global Business Incubator Private Limited (GBIPL), Chhattisgarh, chairman Srinivas Gogineni said the bird is reared in the state's Dantewada district in a unique way, and in a homely atmosphere.
GBIPL, a private company, has been roped-in by the Dantewada district administration for helping the tribals in livelihood generation in the area, under the public-private partnership model.
"The Dantewada administration, while taking assistance of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), an industry body, applied last month for the GI tag owing to the uniqueness and high production of Kadaknath in the district," Gogineni said.
The bird variety is reared in a natural environment in Dantewada and not fed with the ready-made fodder, he claimed.
The state government-supported self help groups of tribal women, running over 160 poultry farms in Dantewada, are engaged in the production of about four lakh chickens of the Kadaknath variety for meat annually, Gogineni said.
Other private poultry farmers are also engaged in rearing the bird in Chhattisgarh, he added.
Meanwhile, Manghnani said the government-run hatcheries in Madhya Pradesh produce about 2.5 lakh chickens of the Kadaknath variety annually.
MP had set up the first poultry farm for this breed of chicken in 1978 in Jhabua, but Chhattisgarh excelled in its production in a shot span of time.
Birbal Sahu, a senior scientist at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, brought about 1,000 Kadaknath chicks from Jhabua in MP in 2013.
"I remember that summer when I brought 1,000 chicks in an air-conditioned vehicle to Kanker. Around 300 of them died enroute due to the rise in temperature. The remaining were safely brought and bred in Kanker," Sahu said.
In a period of just five years, the tribal state has now been producing the chicken variety in abundance and claiming the GI tag.
Gogineni says the GI tag gives an advantage in marketing a product nowadays.
"Take the case of 'Kaja sweets' made in East Godavari of Andhra Pradesh. After the GI branding, its sales have shot up globally. The GI tag doesn't give the patent right, but the standardisation of the product counts globally," he said.
Meanwhile, according to Manghnani, the cholesterol level in Kadaknath meat is about 184 mg per kg while in other chicken it is around 214 mg per kg.
The lean bird's blackish grey meat has 25 to 27 per cent protein content, while in other birds this nutritional component is about 16 to 17 per cent, he said.
Kadaknath has just about 1 per cent fat, as against 5 to 6 per cent found in other chicken breeds, he said, claiming that the meat of this variety is also helpful for people suffering from respiratory problems.