Sunday March 4 2018

Duck meat taking over Ugandan dining tables

Switching from rearing chicken to ducks yields results for family

A child feeds and tends to ducks in their backyard. File Photo  

By Denis Bbosa

At most hotels and supermarkets in Kampala, one needs to book in advance if he is to get a kilogramme of duck meat.

Tasty but costly
The buyers, mostly Chinese and Koreans, will part with Shs25,000 a kilogramme at Nakasero market without bargaining.
The Asians also have a penchant for duck eggs with an omelet costing Shs15,000 each.
Research shows that poultry farmers sell each mature duck at a fee ranging between Shs40,000 to Shs50,000 around township areas but upcountry it can be obtained at Shs30,000.
According to Cao Tao, a chef at a restaurant in Kampala, they purchase each female duck at $15 (Shs54,000), while each mature male duck costs $20 (Shs72,000). A full course meal of duck meat costs Shs100,000, while the shredded duck meal is lower at Shs38,800.
Tao adds that she sells to her customers a drum stick with chips at Shs30,000. A whole stuffed duck, grilled in oven costs Shs150,000. Tao also buys ducklings for rearing at $5 (Shs18,000) each.

Benefits of duck meat
Renowned chef Kadu Mukasa Kironde says the image that Ugandans have of ducks is that they are dirty and tend to wallow in fetid shallow water.
“This view does not augur well with our people and there is a tendency for folks to look down on ducks and yet they offer excellent protein,” he reveals.
“I also believe that to a large extent it boils down to people’s habits and culture,” says Kironde.
Although Kironde thinks that there are similarities between rearing chicken and turkey, commercial duck farming in Uganda is still at a low rate as few rear them in large numbers to meet the high market demand.
“I have no idea how big the size of the duck market in Uganda but what I do know is that the large Chinese community would be my first target if I were to think about rearing ducks,” Kironde, who has seen it all in Ugandan food industry, added.
He recommends Rosa Brothers Butchery in Kansanga and Quality Cuts over in Kabalagala as the best spots for the meat. “It is sure deal because the market is available yet the supply is low,” he adds.

Muscovy, Perkins ducks rank high
At Fang Fang Hotel, there are two major types of ducks you cannot miss - Muscovy and Perkins.
Perkins have the best meat according to Tao. Perkin ducks are the most widely available ducks. Fed on a diet of corn and soy, the Perkins are milder in flavour than other varieties.
It is heavy-boned and yields proportionally less meat per kilogramme than some other varieties.
Muscovy ducks are small with more pronounced flavour than the Perkin. They generally weigh between three to four kilogrammes. These ducks are best cooked to medium-rare or pink.
Though most people think of duck as too fatty to eat, if you remove the skin, roasted duck meat has the same calories as roasted chicken without skin.

Source of nutrients
Duck makes a healthful addition to your diet and offers several nutrients important for tissue function.
With its rich flavour and juicy mouth-feel, duck meat provides an indulgent way to reach your recommended protein foods -- a food group that includes meat, eggs, beans and nuts.
Like other meat, duck provides complete protein, which means that its amino acid profile includes each of the amino acids you need in your diet.
Adding duck meat to a diet also boosts the mineral intake -- it serves as an especially rich source of selenium and zinc.
Both of these minerals play a role in enzyme function and activate enzymes needed for healthy cellular metabolism. Zinc also boosts the immune system, while selenium helps your thyroid function properly.
Given its high nutrition value and high demand in high end eateries a farmer is bound to earn well if they too up the enterprise.