Like Srivilliputhur Palkova, Pattamadai Pai and Thanjavur Veenai, the Cumbum valley Panneer Grapes is likely to get the Geographic Indication Tag.
Cumbum Valley is the only place in the country where grapes are harvested round the year with three yield seasons. About 12,000 families that are directly and indirectly related to the paneer grape cultivation and trade will benefit, if the GI tag is cleared, M Selva Kumar, a farmer who is now mobilising other grape yard owners and farmers to get the GI tag said. At present, the grape faces marking challenges and we are hoping that the GI tag will make the product and its value addition more competitive, he said.
The application for the grapes is filed by the Kaamayam Thratchai Vivasayigal Sangam, Theni, registered under Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act and was facilitated by Nabard’s Madurai Agribusiness Incubation Forum, he said.
“The farmers have unique techniques of growing panneer grapes in and around Theni district. The grapes grown are sold for markets that produce grape value-added products like wine, spirit, jams, canned grape juice and raisins,” said P Sanjai Gandhi, IPR attorney and nodal officer, Geographical Indication Registration of Products, government of Tamil Nadu.
As these grapes are produced in a particular rain shadow valley twice in a year, their yield and nutritional value are exceptionally high, he said.
According to details provided in the application, the panneer variety grapes are cultivated in around 2,000 acres at 10 villages in the Cumbum valley.
It may be noted that DT Next has recently published stories on how the farmers in the valley were finding it difficult to market the indigenous grape variety.