At lifeline of Kerala cattle business, traders, brokers & dairy farmers hit

Vaniamkulam market feeds smaller ones; contractor says business down by 3/4ths since sale restriction.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: June 13, 2017 10:29 am
kerala, kerala cattle sale, cattle sale, cattle business, cow sale, cow ban, cow slaughterhouse, Vaniamkulam market, indian express news, india news Vaniamkulam market in Palakkad district is said to be centuries old; now not much cattle coming in from other states. Source: Nirmal Harindran

Business has fallen by three-fourths at the Vaniamkulam livestock market in Kerala’s Palakkad district since the Centre’s notification restricting the sale of cattle for slaughter, says the contractor who runs the market.

The weekly market, said to have started seven centuries ago and spanning five-and-a-half acres, is among three major hubs of the cattle trade in Kerala — Kuzhalmannam in Palakkad district and Perumbilavu in Thrissur being the others — and the lifeline of smaller such markets in the state.

N Chandran, who has the contract to run the Vaniamkulam market, says trade of animals, which had peaked at Rs 1.25 crore in the weeks preceding the notification — issued by the environment ministry on May 23 — had reduced to Rs 30 lakh by last Thursday, June 8.

Thursday, incidentally, was the day when the Kerala assembly passed a resolution asking the Centre to withdraw its notification. The resolution, moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a special assembly session, brought the ruling Left Democratic Front together with the opposition United Democratic Front, with only BJP legislator O Rajagopal opposing it.

“The impact of the notification is that traders are afraid to bring cattle from other states,” says Chandran, the contractor at the Vaniamkulam market. “Normally, 4,000 animals would be traded and we would get 85 to 90 truckloads. Last Thursday we got only 32 truckloads of cattle and only 1,000-odd animals were sold. The week before that, it was less than 20. It is a matter of concern that even during the month of Ramzan, the market could get only 32 truckloads.”

The centuries-old market was traditionally run by the Kavalappara Moopil Nairs, prominent landlords of the region, before being taken over by the Vaniamkulam village panchayat in 1988. Since then, the panchayat has been auctioning the market to bidders every year.

Chandran, who won the contract this year, points to the auction rates to underline that the market was growing before the notification.

Last year, the winning bid was Rs 32 lakh; this year, Chandran had to pay Rs 38.80 lakh for the rights to run the market. “The price of cattle too has gone up for want of enough supply,’’ says Chandran.

Animal Husbandry Minister P Raju says the flow of cattle to Kerala has reduced drastically since the notification. “The week before the notification, 23,800 heads of cattle had been brought to Kerala, which came down to a mere 1,000 in the first week after the notification,” he says.

At Vaniamkulam, the business includes various stakeholders from traders, farmers and brokers and even “cattle beauticians” who who shape the horns of bulls and bullocks. About 40,000 people are directly or indirectly dependent on the market, says P Yousaf, Cattle Merchants Association general secretary. “There are middlemen, sellers of cane and rope, truck owners and their drivers all connected to the market. We can’t accept the restrictions brought on cattle markets as such a move would trigger a crisis in many allied areas,’’ says Yousaf.

Much of the cattle brought here, which include bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes and calves, makes its way from the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and even Odisha. “We need not go to the markets in other states as the local agents there source the animals for traders in Kerala,” says P Moithunni, a cattle trader for the last 40 years. His last truckload was from Andhra Pradesh, for which he has paid Rs 2.38 lakh for transportation. “Of the transportation cost, Rs 90, 000 is for the truck fare. The rest of the amount is spent on labour, tax at check posts, fodder charge and bribe for police and transport departments in three or four states,’’ he says.

Moithunni’s truckload of cattle is worth Rs 10 lakh. “We traders do not wait for huge profits. We may take a profit of about Rs 2,000 per animal. If we kept the cattle for several days, we would incur a loss as a large sum would have to be spent towards maintaining the animals,” he says.

The cattle is sold to traders who take them to 40-odd local markets in various parts of the state.

“If a bunch of cattle is not sold in one of the markets, the trader would take them to the next market. By one round of trade in these three markets, that week’s consignment from other states would be over. Most traders have covered trucks and dedicated workers at their disposal for ferrying the cattle to Kerala and then from one market to another,” says Muhammed C, who has been in the cattle trade for last 30 years.

Apart from traders from other states, there are local middlemen and farmers who bring cattle to Vaniamkulam. One such farmer is C Prabhakaran, who rears bulls on his agricultural land at Chalavar in Palakkad. He says dairy farmers would be worst affected by the recent notification. “If a farmer is not allowed to sell the unproductive animals for slaughter, no one would continue in this sector. For both traders and farmers, there should be a place to exchange cattle,’’ he says.

Another major fallout of the notification has been on the sale of bulls. The bulls have a steady demand in Kerala, where Muslims prefer the animal for the ritual sacrifice during Eid or other auspicious occasion in their families.

Traders say they bring the bull calves from other states mainly to cater to this demand and price them between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000.

The bulls reared for sacrifice are also sold at a premium price. “A farmer who buys a bull calf for Rs 10,000 can dispose it for Rs 35,000 next year during the Eid festival. Now, bulls or bullocks are not used for agricultural purpose. Instead, rearing a bull for sacrificial purpose or for an auspicious occasion in Muslim family, gives a great market potential for farmers,’’ says Moithunni, adding that prices of these bulls are likely to higher this year due to the sale restriction.

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  1. R
    Raju
    Jun 13, 2017 at 12:46 pm
    RSS and Hindu hardline extremist dominated BJP govt. making India radical, uncivilized uncultured country because mythological believe and rituals, People eating habit threatening , All cattle business going down , job losing of people and their financial burden increasing, all minority under fear, Communalizing the people of India.
    Reply
    1. A
      Antony
      Jun 13, 2017 at 11:06 am
      Time has come for south India to declare independence from the illiterate north Indian states before these illiterate communal goons convert our states also into jobless lawless toiletless dirty cowbelt communal state . Let them declare their cowbelt states Hindu rashtra and kill each other in the name of cow ! Rest of us can progress into a developed state within 5 years !
      Reply
      1. S
        sreenath
        Jun 13, 2017 at 11:33 am
        You seem to be a agent of porkistan or missionary..people like you have spoilt the culture of Hindus in south India. the name is secularism and communism you have destrogen the culture here..you get out of India u '
        Reply
        1. A
          Antony
          Jun 13, 2017 at 12:05 pm
          you are communal gober eating sanghi, you anti national get out of my country and go to porkistan where you can play communal games with your taliban cousins!
      2. J
        Joe
        Jun 13, 2017 at 8:33 am
        Children of cows are terrorizing ordinary Indians to establish Cowistan where god-men will decide LAW and culture. MOOOOOOOOO!!!
        Reply
        1. S
          shiravanthe sridhar
          Jun 13, 2017 at 11:39 am
          It's other way round, the piglets are terrorizing the majority to establish one more porkistan, want take orders from Vatican Isis.
          Reply
          1. A
            Antony
            Jun 13, 2017 at 12:43 pm
            looks like you had an overdose of gau mutra today ! you illiterate gober eating chaddi have no right impose your dirty ideology on others ! keep that in your sanghi states!
        2. J
          Joe
          Jun 13, 2017 at 8:22 am
          We ought to check if Amit Shah and Modi have horns which are being concealed somehow. HaHA
          Reply
          1. P
            punter
            Jun 13, 2017 at 9:35 am
            Your ammi really have big I love ing her aaah lovely
            Reply
          2. I
            Indian
            Jun 13, 2017 at 7:42 am
            TRANSPORTATION of LIVE ANIMALS for slaughter should be stopped immediately as animals suffer hugely while being transported. Animals should be SLAUGHTERED in the state it is purchased and only MEAT should be TRANSPORTED in refregirated Trucks as is done in most CIVILISED NATIONS. ................................ As per RULES PASSED by Congress Govt in 1960, only FIVE CATTLE (COW, BUFFALO, OX etc) can be transported in a truck with 10 ton capacity but about 15 CATTLE are pushed in such trucks and transported over long distance to KERALA.
            Reply
            1. S
              Samir
              Jun 13, 2017 at 7:40 am
              Keralites have more intellect than the sanghis. Normally Cow is not slaughtered and it is Bull or Buffalo, but the propa a from the saffron terrorists government is different for their political gain.
              Reply
              1. J
                Jaihind
                Jun 13, 2017 at 9:17 am
                The word cow slaughter is just for political gain lol ... Those who boast about patriotism are seeking reason to create a division from the root .wot an irony
                Reply
              2. P
                PAREED
                Jun 13, 2017 at 6:40 am
                THE CRUELTY TO ANIMALS CREATED THE SITUATION OF THE PRESENT CRISIS.THE MERCHANTS SHALL PROCEED TO SLAUGHTER ANIMALS IN THE STATE OF TAMILNADU AND ANDHRA.MANY STATES BANNED SLAUGHTER OF COW IN INDIA.THE UNHEALTHY COWS ARE SLAUGHTERED IN KERALA ISLAM CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ARE PROHIBITED. IN KALATHODE MAHALLU NEAR THRISSUR DISPENSED THE SLAUGHTER OF BUFFALOES FOR THE SACRIFICE FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS, THEY WERE USING GOATS FOR THE SLAUGHTER.EVEN PROPHET IBRAHIM SLAUGHTERED GOAT AS PER THE DIRECTION OF ALLAH THE PILGRIMAGE OF HAJJ SLAUGHTER IS NOT COW OR BULLS.THE GOATS ARE USED IN HAJJ FOR SLAUGHTER.THE GOAT FARMS ARE TO BE PROMOTED IN THE STATE.THE DAIRY INDUSTRY ALSO TO BE PROMOTED IN KERALA.THIS LEADS ECOFRIENDLY AGRICULTURE IN THE STATE.
                Reply
                1. J
                  Jaihind
                  Jun 13, 2017 at 9:20 am
                  Good suggestion stead of abusing and cal names it's something which can think about ... Usually people go for beef instead of mutton just because of its price .when beef costs 200 mutton costs 450 per kg ... Prices cam be reduced by allowing more farms and more breeding
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    shiravanthe sridhar
                    Jun 13, 2017 at 11:20 am
                    Then go for pork it's much cheaper at least you don't drink it's milk then kill it for eating ,or better kill your own mother for eating .after she becomes old helpless like cows
                  2. R
                    rameshnk
                    Jun 13, 2017 at 10:26 am
                    Very sensible thinking.
                    Reply
                  3. L
                    Legal
                    Jun 13, 2017 at 5:12 am
                    Kerala is the 'most literate' a 'totally uneducated' state of India. Heart diseases, Cancer, Stroke, diabetes are spurting alarmingly in the state due to high consumption of meat, liberal use of alcohol tobacco products. Declare total prohibition in the state seal all slaughter houses / meat shops to revive the health of the state.
                    Reply
                    1. J
                      Jaihind
                      Jun 13, 2017 at 6:05 am
                      George Cruise the It paid cell in different name ..... No such things are ever notified by health ministry here .it's ur fake information to mislead readers . and People are educated enough to fall for such agenda wot creates disharmony among people ..lakhs of people are engaged in this field and it will continue to run this trade as per the ministry .... No cows are slaughtered here ...since the religious sentiments is over only cow people is in this an agenda towards a particular community ....
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        shiravanthe sridhar
                        Jun 13, 2017 at 11:18 am
                        Change to jai porki it explains everything you spit venomously no further explanation is required for the sick minds outbursts
                      2. J
                        Joe
                        Jun 13, 2017 at 8:20 am
                        Legal> India is known for coronary disease, diabetes and growing obesity and this applies to vegetarians too, so nice try. I guess I can't blame you because you probably believe that the cow is the only animal to breathe in as well as release oxygen. Kerala is among the best Indian states as far as education and health care goes. If you are trying to convince people that India is better off adopting the ethos of the cow belt then it's quite laughable.
                        Reply
                        1. N
                          Npon-resident
                          Jun 13, 2017 at 9:33 am
                          Upper castes in bimaru states are vegetarian ,but that does not stop bimaru states from being dirt poor,almost all developed countries are non vegetarian and almost all are affluent, as far as life expectancy and health are concerned check statistics with human intellect not cow intellect.
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            shiravanthe sridhar
                            Jun 13, 2017 at 11:14 am
                            Poverty has no relation to healthy mindset just look at Anna Hazare compare with cheatumbaram zero loss kapil sibbal Mani ayyer- who talks more sense
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