India has brought an Act on Food Security which basically aims at providing food and nutritional security based on human life cycle approach by ensuring access to adequate amount of quality food at affordable prices and also to provide supplementary nutrition to children from 6 months to 14 years through Integrated Child Development Scheme and mid day meal scheme. It makes provision for providing 5 kg of food grains at a subsidized rate. Rice is to be provided at the rate of Rs 3 per Kg, wheat at Rs 2per Kg and coarse grains at Rs 1 per Kg. It also makes provision of a free meal in terms of well defined security of calorie and protein. The bill is a land mark step towards fight against hunger and malnutrition. But do we have enough preparation for meeting the requirement of foodgrains and protein. In this article we shall examine the role of Rat farming in providing conservation of foodgrains and supplying cheaper source of protein. Continue reading Rat Farming- An opportunity for food security
Rats–coming to your grocers soon! by John Wood Sr
I personally think Mr Prakash has a noble idea–another good source of cheap protein is invaluable, especially considering how many of the worlds millions live on the edge of starvation. I truly hope that his endeavors are successful, and that his visionary idea spreads across the globe.Which brings us to the United States.
Read BBC on Rat Farming: August 13, 2008 by Amarnath Tewary
Mr Prakash says his proposals to popularise rat meat eating are intended to uplift their social-economic condition.
“There are twin advantages of this proposal. First, we can save about half of our food grain stocks by catching and eating rats and secondly we can improve the economic condition of the Musahar community,” he told the BBC.
According to Mr Prakash, about 50% of total food grain stocks in the country are eaten away by rodents.
He argues that by promoting rat eating more grain will be preserved while hunger among the Musahar community will be reduced. He said that rat meat is not only a delicacy but a protein-enriched food, widely popular in Thailand and France.
Wall Street Journal
Read Old India rejuvenates as IT rivers of gold dry up: April 10, 2009 in Wall Street Journal by Peter Wonacott
In the village of Deve Kuli, in Bihar, India’s poorest and least literate major state, the Mushahar are the poorest and least literate. Most are farm labourers. About one in 10 can read. So impoverished is this group that they hunt field rats to supplement a deprived diet. Mushahar is Hindi for “rat eater”.
But the outlook for the state’s 2 million Mushahar has brightened in the past year.
Thanks to government aid programs, more Mushahar children are attending school. Increased state investment in roads and local factories has put their parents to work. Demand for labourers has pushed up wages for field work.
In a sign of the times, a government proposal to promote rat farming was ridiculed by the Mushahar, the very group of untouchables, or Dalits, it was supposed to benefit. They worried it would pull their children out of school and extend a social stigma to the next generation. Some protested on the streets of Bihar’s capital, Patna, shouting: “We want to learn to use a computer mouse, not catch mice.”
Growth has slowed in the new India of technology outsourcing, property development and securities trade. But old India – the rural sector that is home to 700 million of the country’s billion-plus people – shows signs it can pick up the slack. The rural awakening helps explain why India continues to grow even as the US recession drags on the world economy.
The change is largely political. In years past, many state leaders rode to power with vows to give voice to lower-caste voters. But after failing for the most part to lift living standards, these officials have been replaced in many cases by leaders who have. In poor and largely rural states from Orissa in the east to Rajasthan in the west, many new leaders have invested in health, education and infrastructure. That has set the stage for the creation of industry and consumer markets and enabled upward mobility.
“Rat meat is a healthy alternative to rice and grains,” Vijay Prakash of the Bihar state welfare department told a press conference in Patna , “and should be eaten by one and all. Rat and chicken have equal food values, not only in protein but throughout the entire spectrum of nutrition. I haven’t tried it myself, but my mother has and she finds it delicious. In fact, whoever has eaten rat says it is more spongy and better than even
The welfare secretary’s words were greeted with dismay by listeners. “Indian culture is based on vegetarianism,” said chef P. Soundararajan of the Mahindra resort chain. “Our culture and customs are based on not harming any living beings. And besides rats are dirty creatures that only the very poor would eat.”
But Prakash was unrepentant about his government campaign. “ Almost 50% of India’s grain stocks are eaten away by rodents in fields or warehouses. Increased human consumption of rodents will ease soaring food prices and provide increased employment for rat catchers. Rat has almost no bones but many people do not know this simple cuisine fact. We will have a massive media campaign to persuade people to try it. Some of the hotels here in Bihar have started selling rat meat, as a starter. If you order patal-bageri at one of our roadside hotels, that’s what you’ll get. Roasted Rat.”
Some interesting facts from the article:
- In Aizawl, one of the 11 districts of Mizoram State in India, smoked rat is a highly prized delicacy. The rodent is much in demand in kitchens in this northeastern state. Hundreds of smoked rats come in to the city from nearby villages every morning. Rats caught by traps in paddy fields sell like the proverbial hot cakes. “I don’t keep records of my sales, but Inormally sell about 200 smoked rats daily,” Lalvenpuii, a New Market shopkeeper, told the Indo-Asian NewsService. “They don’t come cheap either, with one smoked rat costing anywhere between Rs.15-20.” (rupees)
- When food is scarce rats are often a morereadily available source of protein than other fauna. African slaves in the American South hunted wood rats to supplement their food rations. The Aborigines along the coast in Southern Queensland, Australia regularly included rats in their diet. In the Mishmi culture of India, rats are essential to the traditional diet, as the women may eat no meat except fish, pork, wild birds and rats. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that rat meat makes up half the locally produced meat consumed in Ghana, where cane rats are farmed and hunted for their meat.
- In the 1980’s the University of Reading ran a summer school for Rat Catchers. Students from around the globe spent twelve weeks learning the basics of rodent control in the class room and visiting farms around the district baiting, catching and trapping the rodents. They then returned home to pass on their skills to the locals. Today their talents for catching them live are in much demand.
- With the credit crunch biting harder people are considering trying alternative forms of protein. Observer columnists Caroline Davies wrote last year, “It’s low in fat, low in food miles and completely free range.” “In fact, some claim that it is about as ethical a dish as it is
possible to serve on a dinner plate.” No, this time she was not talking of rats but Sciurus carolinensis – the grey squirrel, often known in the country as ‘tree rats’.
- Butcher David Simpson in Cornwall, whose game counter began selling ‘tree rats’ last year, is struggling to keep up with demand, “We put it on the shelf and it sells.”
This is a news item in Nai Duniya (March 8, 2009)
His idea on rat farming was ranked above Obama, McCain, Hillary, Sarah Palin, Oprah as the “world’s stupidest statement award” of 2008.
Dennis Avery considers his idea on “rat farming” to be the best “non-science” solution to issues of global food scarcity. Dennis T. Avery, is a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute in Washington. Dennis is the Director for Global Food Issues. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State.
Comments on Rat Farming
If humans will need twice as much food and feed in 2040 how would we feed ourselves and our increasing number of pets with low organic yields? Organic fields yields are limited primarily because of the global shortage of manure. However, the world would need billions more cattle to get extra manure, and we’d have to clear forests to grow their forage. “Green manure crops” steal land, sunshine, water, and soil nutrients from food and feed crops.
The best non-science solution I’ve heard is from Vijoy Prakash, Secretary of Welfare in India’s Bihar state. Prakash says we should eat rats. Then the rats won’t eat the stored grain, and the people will get more high-quality protein. He is promoting rat meat in the villages—and talking with hotels about rat meat on their menus. It’s at least more realistic than expecting humans to become vegetarian.
DENNIS T. AVERY is a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC and is the Director for the Center for Global Food Issues. (www.cgfi.org) He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years. Continue reading Rat Farming
Nutritional Value of Rat Meat
The current knowledge of the yield and nutritional (proximate and fatty acid) composition of meat derived from African ungulates, camelidae, rodents, ratites and reptiles is reviewed. Although most of the species discussed give low cholesterol levels consistent with their low meat lipid contents, the tegu lizard gives a very low level (18.2 mg/100 g tissue). The fatty acid profiles of the various species all have low saturated fatty acids and high polyunsaturated fatty acids resulting in favourable saturated to polyunsaturated fatty acid ratios. Although the springbok, camel, ostrich and crocodile are marketed and exported to sophisticated markets, the rodents are the species that show most promise in becoming large commercial commodities. Not only is their meat desirable and nutritional, but they are also highly adaptable to extensive and intensive production systems.
The yield and nutritional value of meat from African ungulates, camelidae, rodents, ratites and reptiles
L.C. Hoffman, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag XI, Matieland 7602, South Africa Continue reading Nutritional Value of Rat Meat