Animal Husbandry

Cattle Markets Losing its Relevance in Kerala but Keeps Momentum in Tamil Nadu

Ajith Kumar V R
Ajith Kumar V R
Cattle market

Cattle markets are a centuries-old tradition of trading. Livestock farmers depend on these markets to buy and sell animals. Here, as in all other areas, there are intermediaries. Call them 'tharavukaar' . They reap the benefits without the hassle of raising animals. The importance of the cattle market that existed in Kerala 30-40 years ago has waned today. Attitudes towards buying and selling cattle have changed. If you want a government subsidy, you have to buy cows as prescribed by the department, which is often from Tamil Nadu.

The animal trade is an interesting arrangement. Often the conversation itself is lacking. After seeing the animal and understanding its qualities, the price was determined by holding the hands together and marking on the palm with the fingers. I have seen this first hand at the cattle market at Mararithottam in Karunagapally, Kollam district, Kerala. About 50 years ago, hundreds of animals came to the market. The market starts at 4 am and ends at 12 noon. Even from distant places like Pollachi, people came with cows and bulls. The market was functioned weekly once. Private land was used as a market. Fees were also charged for entry of cattle here.

Although it is becoming alien in Kerala, the markets are very active in Tamil Nadu. Manapparai in Trichy is one such famous market. Farmers come here from Madurai, Dindigul, Sivaganga, Theni and Trichy. The arrival of sheep increases during the festive seasons. Usually a thousand sheep reach the market. But up to 5,000 sheep reached the Diwali market. This time the price increased by up to 20%. Goats are mostly bought by meat sellers. The goat, which normally sold for Rs 5,000, sold in the Diwali market for Rs 6,000-6,500. Samayapuram and Thayanur markets are usually held on Saturdays. Since Diwali is a Saturday, the market was called on Friday and many people attended. The Ettaiyapuram Goat Market in Thoothukudi is another important market. There was a trade of Rs 6 crore here on the eve of Diwali. 12000 sheep were sold. A full grown goat can fetch up to Rs 13,000. However, farmers said the price was 15-20% lower than the normal Diwali price. The market is usually held on Saturdays. In normal weeks, the trade will be between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore. People come to the market even from Chennai. The trade during Christmas, Ramadan, Bakrid and Pongal will be around Rs 3 crore.

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