With ‘GI’ tag, Srivilliputhur palkova-makers now eyeing exports

After the long wait for the ‘Geographical Indication’ (GI) tag for ‘Srivilliputhur palkova’ is over, having bestowed with the prestigious status recently, its makers are delighted and are looking to take a step forward in marketing this edible and delicious product.
With ‘GI’ tag, Srivilliputhur palkova-makers now eyeing exports

Chennai

With this new recognition, Srivilliputhur, a small town, has staked its claim to fame around the world. Now, the marketing trend of palkova sweet, a gourmet delicacy made of milk and sugar, is expected to grow in coming days, according to T. Kannan, president, Srivilliputhur Milk Producers Cooperative Society.
The society, which took the initiative in 2013, managed to achieve this status after a gap of six years. The Srivilliputhur-fame palkova, made hygienically with a right proportion of ingredients and a shelf life of 15 days, is being sold in packs of 250 grams, 500 grams and one kilo.
On a daily average, about 800 to 1,000 kg of palkova is sold and it will go beyond 2,000 kg during seasonal days in Courtallam and Ayyapa season, Aadi Therottam and on the occasion of Diwali. “Since this edible consumer product has earned the ‘GI’ tag and its demand growing, adding to a new market dimension, the producers have been eyeing a potential market for exports,” Kannan told DT Next on Thursday.
C. Sivanan, manager of the society, said palkova is traditionally made manually in iron utensils with firewood. Though it is familiar across Srivilliputhur, its method of preparation at the society, which came into existence in 1945 with a total of 4,600 members now with 18 branches, creates a unique taste.
On the making, he said,  considering the needs and tastes of consumers, many litres of fresh cow milk is pasteurised and churned together to finish the product in 30 minutes from a stove.
The society was concentrating on quality rather than quantity and hence he ruled out the possibility of mechanised production. Apart from counter sale at two locations, including near Andal temple and at Srivilliputhur bus stand, this product was also being catered to consumers based on orders placed. Among traditional products, ‘Srivilliputhur palkova’ was the 32nd product to have bagged the GI tag, the manager said.
With growing customer base, V. Vijaymerchant, proprietor of palkova manufacturing company, Srivilliputhur, said the product was also being sold based on online payments. palkova was being prepared both manually and mechanically. With 10 litres of quality milk, three kilos of palkova could be made, he said.
S. Kumar, another palkova manufacturer, said it needs to focus on creating conditions conducive to exports as packaging material is yet to be discovered. “Currently, the only option available is nitrogen gas food packaging, but it will drive off its original taste,” the manufacturer said.
Though more than 100 manufacturers rely on palkova-making, Srivilliputhur Food Safety Officer R. Chandrasekaran said 11 licences and 32 registration certificates under Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had been issued so far.
Nodal officer takes pride in his feat
“It’s certainly a great pleasure for me to gain a new recognition for traditional products manufactured in Tamil Nadu,” P. Sanjai Gandhi, president, Intellectual Property Rights Attorney Association (IPR) and Advocate, High Court, who’s also a nodal officer for promotion of the GI products in Tamil Nadu, has said. 
Taking pride in his achievement, Gandhi said, with all his own efforts, 20 products had been credited with the ‘Geographical Indication’ – (GI) Tag in his career since 2002 when Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, was implemented.
As for this nodal officer, “pride comes from respecting your own soil, tradition and culture”.
A total of 34 products with its traditional existence and known for its regional uniqueness had so far acquired the GI status in Tamil Nadu. Currently, progress is made on 15 products in different categories such as agriculture, which includes ‘Seeraga samba’ rice, a key ingredient for preparing biryani with real flavour, ‘Salem mango’, food items such as ‘Kovilpatti fame ‘Kadalamittai’ – (peanut candy), ‘Manaparai murukku’ and wood carvings with its uniqueness in Kallakurichi, Arumbavur and Thammampatti under ‘handicraft’ category to achieve the GI tag, Gandhi told DT Next on Sunday.
September was the most successful month since the prestigious recognition was awarded for three traditional products as ‘Dindigul lock’, ‘Kandangi sari’ and Srivilliputhur fame Palkova’, this year.
The delighted nodal officer further, said his first and foremost among those 20 products was ‘Kancheepuram silk’ on which the prestigious GI tag was bestowed upon in 2004. While tracing its origin, the Kancheepuram silk was quoted in ‘Silapathikaram’, an ancient epic poem in Tamil penned by Ilango Adigal.

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