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Opinions of Friday, 12 November 2021

Columnist: Abdul Rahman Odoi

Frozen or live chicken

Producers of frozen chicken are forcing local breed producers out of market Producers of frozen chicken are forcing local breed producers out of market

Chicken serves as one of the frontline meats you would ever find present in an everyday delicacy.

People are so much engrossed with the consumption of chicken that they don’t wait to chew it only on festive seasons. Chicken is therefore eaten on daily basis.

Its gizzard alone is prepared and garnished in several ways. Some are fried and mixed with hot pepper and eaten with potato chips. On some occasions, you’re likely to see it being roasted as khebab. It may even bemuse you to know that people go begging at parties just because of fried gizzard or grilled chicken thighs.

As a chicken lover, I always grouch anytime I visit the market to get a few ingredients and I see lots of people queued at the cold store buying frozen chicken, whereas live fowls are breathing and clucking at them. The reasons are simple: I hate frozen meats, they don’t taste well, and I feel their consumption kills the local poultry farmer.

There is an honest reason for hating frozen meats. I always have this weird conviction that the lifespan of chicken in the cold room doesn’t have an expiration date. Therefore, a consumer could be chewing a five-year-old frozen chicken and wouldn’t even know. Most often, you hardly know what and what went into the slaughtering of the animal and all. And it has surfaced in the news severally that some unscrupulous traders sell frozen meat which has gone bad. This should be a great concern for chicken lovers, isn’t it?

You might however have your reservations about this point, but the truth is frozen meats don’t taste well for me. They just don’t taste well. More and more artificial spices are needed to be added into its preparatory stages (steaming) to get it yummy.

Unlike the live chicken, even simple onion, green pepper, ginger, a pinch of salt, and garlic would make the meat stands out proudly. The aroma live chicken gives to a stew, or soup, or whatsoever meal it’s made with, you can’t withstand its invitation. The tenderness of the live chicken and, how good it tastes is something we can’t exhaust writing about. Try live chicken as the base meat for Jollof, or okra stew, tomato stew, or groundnut soup, or Palm-nut. I bet that you would smell something lovely and appetizing.

Now it’s the killing of the local rearer which always forces me to consider live chicken. It’s true that frozen chickens is less expensive and more (in quantity-wise), as compared to live chicken.

The other time I bought a live chicken at a price of 60 cedis. The animal is just not big but beautiful and fleshy, with lots of meats on its various parts. I stood there while it was being slaughtered. I witnessed the dressing. Everything was done nicely and neatly, in a conducive atmosphere. It was then segregated into two white polythene bags for me. I’m still enjoying it; its meats are plenty. The difference between this package (in quantity) and that of frozen chicken is very slim. But as far as the taste matters, live chicken is in a comfortable lead, any day, anyway, anywhere, and anytime.

But since not all of us can afford to pay for the live chicken and get the quantity we want, I would not have a word to say to those who would love to consider frozen chicken over. That said, I would not allow this to adumbrate my preference for a live chicken. The local poultry farms kept dying. Because they aren’t being patronized to their full capacity. I don’t know why we need to import common chicken. And I don’t think it makes sense, for us, as a country, to fall so much on the foreign breeds of frozen meat before we feed ourselves. Are our poultry farmers going into extinction? Or we’ve lost the taste for good meat too?

Methinks there must be a ban or lots of duty imposed on frozen chicken and/or meats to discourage people from giving it preference over the local breed or live chicken. If we can’t think of anyway, to begin with boosting exportation and reducing importation, we can begin from here.

While this is being realized, the local poultry farmer can also feed his home and contribute to GDP. He will obviously get the prices of live chicken pruned. And All of us can get to afford it and, have a meal fit for a king.

For Sherman Alexie said: “And believe me, a good piece of chicken can make anybody believe in the existence of God."