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Mussel Stew In Coconut Milk

Mussel cultivation is catching on in north Kerala and creating a local market in its wake

Mussel Stew In Coconut Milk
Mussel Stew In Coconut Milk
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

These women have shown how mussel, a variety of bivalve shellfish naturally occurring in colonies in seawater, can be farmed inland. But the real mussel-man, if you like, is Gul Mohammed, a Gulf returnee, who experimented with growing spat (the larval form of the marine mussel) in cloth pouches dipped in shallow brackish water. In 1996 his demonstrative first harvest yielded 160 kgs, priced Rs 8 per kg. Strangely enough, Gul is not a marine biologist. After working as a manager in a company in Dubai, he came home and decided to do something that would help others.

Initially, no one was convinced that his method would be commercially viable. The village women also had a mental block about stepping into the backwaters with bamboos and ropes to lay the larval bed. It is from the larva that the shell grows, inside which the mussel develops. But Gul was able to convince them and promised them Indian Rural Development Programme subsidies and gramin bank loans to start mussel farming societies. Among the first to set up a society in 1997 was Thamabayi, a casual labourer who was getting work for less than 10 days a month. She persuaded her neighbours, equally underemployed but vociferous supporters of the Marxist party, to join in.

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