Assistant Collector R Aishwarya who has been tasked with collecting relevant information before applying for the tag told DT Next, “The work is being done by the horticultural department and our first job is to find historical evidence for this special brinjal variety in ancient Tamil literature similar to Madurai malli (Jasmine) and Kancheepuram silks.”
Stating that the work would consume nearly a year, she said “if ancient literature does not yield results then we will check the condition of the soil and its constituents in areas it is specifically grown and compare it with the constituents of the vegetable. Then the nature of the soil will also be examined as to why this variety is only grown in specific areas. As the GI tag has to be applied by relevant farmers we will also form a farmers’ collective for this purpose, if necessary” she added.
According to former MLA and farmer M Kalaiarasu, who said he had mentioned the vegetable once in the state Assembly, “the vegetable is a high yielder and a profit maker as a farmer can easily earn Rs 3 lakh for an investment of Rs 1 lakh per acre.”
Due to its exotic nature, it is also costly compared to the ordinary variety costing Rs 35 per kilo against the ordinary brinjal’s Rs 15 per kilo. As it is presently limited to Anaicut, Kaniyambadi and Gudiyattam panchayat unions in Vellore district and Madanur PU in Tirupattur district “efforts have to be made to popularise it so that the crop is more widespread and hence will help farmers financially,” Aishwarya added.
Asked how the GI tag would benefit farmers, she said “farmers raising this vegetable will know that it is an elite product which will then be allowed to be raised in other areas so that their earnings increase.”