Azhikode – A resting station for growing Kochi
Kodungallur was once a port city. Centuries back, this port city was a major transportation centre, and the whole world communicated with small Kerala through Kodungallur harbor. Now those glorious days have gone, and Azhikode still holds some of its historic memories. Once it was a major harbor through which pepper and other spices were transported to other parts of the world. In the glorious memories of those gone days, Azhikode is slowly growing and very soon it will become a resting camp and intermediate station for the fast developing Kochi. Though a few problems arose in the recent times, certain development processes helped this coastal village to bounce back.
Regional Shrimp Hatchery of Azhikode is famous across Asia
This coastal village belongs to Kodungallur taluk of Thrissur district, yet it’s very near to Ernakulam district border. Its old harbour situated on the southern shores Periyar, at Kottapuram where it joins the Arabian Sea. This place is also known as Azhikode Jetty. In the western side of this old harbour, Kerala’s Fisheries department owns 6 acres of land by lake side. Prawn hatching is done on a vast area of 2.1 Hectares, and it’s first one of this kind in India. The Regional Shrimp Hatchery was started by Fisheries department 4 decades back, and still existing.
But still, the organization uses old hatching methods and machinery. Decades-old tanks are still used to hatch prawns and other aquatic fishes of different varieties. Apart from prawns (naaran chemmeen variety), fish items such as pearlspot (Karimeen), Red Piloppiya and Katla (Kaara Meen) are hatched here. Decoration fishes are also cultivated here. Young ones of more than 1.5 lakhs pearlfish, 5 lakhs of fresh water shrimps are being exported from Regional Shrimp Hatchery every season.
Its success story has prompted many marine research students from Kerala and other parts of the country to visit this place and do future studies and researches. A special hatchery training school has been built most recently to train such students. Most recently the hatchery has also developed the technology to hatch test tube decoration fishes, which gained nationwide attention. The old hatchery has been renovated to a King Fish Nursery to hatch sea fishes such as Kaalaanchi and Nomiya.
Major attractions of Azhikode
Azhikode is famous for Regional Shrimp Hatchery, Matsyafed’s Fish Meal & Oil Plant, Maritime Institute and proposed Kodungallur harbor. Big Auditorium of Harbour department, Mohammed Abdu Rahman Sahib historic museum which forms a part of Muziris Heritage project, Marthoma Pilgrim Centre and the vast Muziris Munaikkal beach are other major spots. Also read: Top 15 Tourist destinations of Thrissur which includes Azhikode beach too.
More than a hundred acre of government land is allocated for various development projects of Azhikode. Tsunami protected science museum (Tsunami Suraksha Shastra Museum) and Azhikode light house are other specialties. A coastal police station to strengthen coastal safety against Tsunami and other natural calamities has been set up in the recent times. Three boats with modern equipment have been allotted to the police station solely for this purpose. In addition to it, work is in process for Fisheries station. It is being completed in 1360 square feet surface area with a total expense of 30 Lakh rupees.
Matsyafed’s Fish Meal & Oil Plant and Ice Factory
Matsyafed’s Fish Meal & Oil Plant which is also Azhikode’s Organizer Fertilizer Company under the governance of state government earns lakhs in profit. Yet due to lack of proper maintenance, it may face the same fate of government ice factory of the same place. The company still uses the 40-year old plant and go-down. Matsyafed’s Fish Meal & Oil Plant is situated just near to Regional Shrimp Hatchery.
The organization was set up four decades back in 1972 in the bushy and less-dense areas of Azhikode, using the very commonly available sardine fish on Kodungallur coast. Sardines were boiled, fat was separated and waste was used to make fertilizer – that’s how the organization worked in its primitive days. German equipment was used as machinery. But when sardine became scarce, and machinery started rusting, they were sold and the business was diverted to fertilizers on commercial basis. Slowly it turned a profitable organization and became a Fish Meal & Oil Plant which also produced organizer fertilizers. It turned to a profit organization in 2008. Now it’s situated on 7 acres of land in the coastal belt of Azhikode.
Organic wastes such as heads of dry shrimps, small fishes, neem cake (veppin pinnakk in Malayalam language) and castor cake (Aavanakkin Pinnaakk) are processed scientifically, and powdered to produce Neutrifish. This fertilizer is widely accepted under many organizations of government sector including many Krishi Bhavans. Government run Coconut Development Corporation uses Neutrifish as fertilizer, and it turned to be a profitable business.
State’s first ice factory was set up in Azhikode, one of the major fish markets of Kerala. It used German technology and ran in profit for many years. But certain unions and selfish interests put an end to everything, and the ice factory was closed stating the non-availability of fresh water for the preparation of ice. But now more than a dozen of ice factories run in Azhikode, but all of them in private sector.
Most recently a kerosene pump for fish boats was set up by Matsyafed, which supplies fuel to more than 615 boats with permit in the district. About 72000 litres of kerosene are distributed from the pump every month. A diesel pump for boats also runs in Azhikode.
Image source: Wikipedia