Malappuram: The farmers and merchants of Tirur and Edayur here are rejoicing as the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has approved the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Tirur betel leaf and Edayur chilli. GI tag is assigned to the products that have certain qualities or reputation due to its specific geographical origin.
Tirur betel leaf
The Intellectual Property Cell of the Agricultural University initiated to apply for GI tag for Tirur betel leaf. Late Muhammed Muppen of Mandayappurath, former councillor of Tirur municipality and president of Tirur Betel Leaf Producers Association, had struggled a lot for getting the tag.
With the GI tag approved, Tirur betel leaf will be known as a distinct brand and will get higher prices in international market. Tirur betel leaf is known for its unique taste, medicinal properties and thin and beautiful leaves.
Though Tirur betel leaves are of high demand in Indian and foreign markets, export to Pakistan which is a major export centre has been stopped for the past three years. The betel leaves had huge demand in Lahore and Karachi.
Along with this, a spiceless chilli variety from Edayur village in Malappuram has also been granted the GI tag. Vadakkupuram, Edayur, Pookkattiri and Athippatta are the major places where this chilli is cultivated.
Edayur chili is of high demand in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts during Onam season. This chilli is mainly used for making dried chilli fry (Mulaku Kondattam in Malayalam). As Edayur chilli has got GI tag, the panchayat can determine its market price. Also the power to distribute the seeds of the chilli will be vested in the panchayat authorities.
Last year, when agricultural minister V. S. Sunil Kumar visited Edayur for an event, the then agricultural officer Sreelekha and panchayat president K. K. Rajeev had told him about the specialties of Edayur chilli and requested for patent. Now their efforts has become fruitful.