As at now, Turkeys are consumed in Mauritius by a minority of the population and that’s mostly during special occasions. The price of a turkey of 7 kilos is currently around Rs 3500. The Ministry of Agro-industry is, however, trying to popularize the consumption of turkey in the country by renewing and reviewing the techniques of turkey rearing.
500 young turkeys have been imported from France last October. They are now 8 months old, weighing around 13-15 kilos. They have been sheltered at Reduit and at Albion. They are now part of the Turkey Unit at the experimental station of Albion. This unit has been inaugurated on Tuesday 24th of June 2014. The turkeys are not going to be sold in their current state. Rather, the aim is to produce new turkeys for the rearers. The price of the young turkeys would be settled between Rs 150 and Rs 200.
According to the Minister, Satish Faugoo, we have delayed the rearing of turkeys long enough. We have been producing chicken since 1960, and, are now independently producing it, while we have lagged behind when it comes to turkeys – a situation to be recitified by new methods in rearing to make the turkey more accessible to Mauritians. 200 tonnes of turkey meat are consumed yearly in Mauritius. Of this, only 5 % is locally produced. The money invested for the import of the rest amounts to around Rs 30 millions. If we were to produce all the turkeys locally, it would be to our own profit.
The aim now is to increase the production of turkey by professionalizing its rearing in the island. Around 50 rearers currently practice back yard feeding – a method which needs to be replaced by modern and sophisticated ones, thereby allowing the large-scale rearing of turkeys. The rearers will thus have more facilities at their disposal. They will have pecuniary aid which will cover around 50 % of the costs of the necessary equipment. The turkey will then have to be pushed into the Mauritian cuisine.
The turkey is mostly consumed by a certain proportion of the population, specially so for the festival of Christmas. A turkey of 7 kilos is normally sold at Rs 3500. Hopefully, with the measures to increase the production and consumption of the turkey, the price will decline considerably so that it becomes more accessible to other groups of the population.