It is a special type of brinjal grown exclusively at Mattu village

The heavy rains that lashed Udupi district from October 21 to 23 has led to massive destruction of “Mattu Gulla”, a special type of brinjal (eggplant), which is grown exclusively in and around Mattu leaving farmers here distraught.

This brinjal is sought after as its taste is different from other brinjals. Besides, this brinjal is not grown in any other areas except Mattu, hence the name “Mattu Gulla”.

According to the legend, Sri Vadiraja (1480-1600) of Sode Math gave the seeds of this special brinjal to farmers of Mattu to cultivate. The farmers here have been cultivating this brinjal or Mattu Gulla for over 500 years now.

The worst affected farmers are those who cultivated it on the uplands in Mattu. The farmers of low-lying lands cultivate this vegetable late. Lakshman Mattu, a farmer, told The Hindu on Tuesday that he had cultivated the brinjal in one-and-a-half acres of land on his field. “But the flooding that occurred because of heavy rains from October 21 to 23 damaged all the brinjal plants. Nearly 200 acres of “Mattu Gulla” has been damaged and about 150 farmers have been affected,” he said.

Koraga Suvarna, another farmer, said he had cultivated the vegetable on 80 cents of his land. “Since all brinjal plants were damaged, I have removed them and now I am planting new saplings of Mattu Gulla in their place. I had never expected such a downpour. The entire crop is lost,” he said.

His wife Sharada Suvarna, who was helping him, only hoped that such heavy rains would not strike now. Another farmer, Chinna Anchan, showed the devastation caused by rains to brinjal saplings in his field.

Secretary of Mattu Gulla Belegarara Sangha Parmeshwar Adhikari said farmers in low-lying area had not been affected as they usually planted the “Mattu Gulla” saplings late. But farmers in the uplands of Mattu village had borne the brunt of heavy rains. “We have brought the matter to the notice of Horticulture Department,” he said.

The sangha formed two months ago was striving to get a patent for “Mattu Gulla”. “Besides protecting the interests of our farmers, we want proper marketing facility for ‘Mattu Gulla,” Mr. Adhikari said.

Assessment is on

Deputy Commissioner P. Hemalatha said the Department of Horticulture was assessing the damage done to the “Mattu Gulla” crop in and around Mattu. The assessment of the damage was expected to be completed by the end of this week. “We will be paying for the damage according to the guidelines,” she said.

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