The famed ‘Mattu Gulla’, a special variety of brinjal, grown in and around Mattu village in Udupi district in Karnataka, is likely to be made available not just in Mumbai and other Indian cities but also the Gulf countries by October this year, if everything goes according to the plans of the growers.
This brinjal, which enjoys the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, is sought after because of its unique taste. Nearly 200 farmers grow this brinjal on about 150 acres of land in Mattu and its surrounding hamlets such as Kopla, Kaipunjal, Uliyargoli and Pangala.
Although ‘Mattu Gulla’ is sold in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, it has not been marketed in other places. Growers too do not get a good price for their produce. But the Mattu Gulla Growers Association has decided that they will not sell their produce to middlemen from the next season beginning in October.
The association has also decided to introduce cold storage facilities to increase the shelf life of ‘Mattu Gulla’. “The association will take up the marketing of the brinjal from the next season. This will ensure better price for the growers. We want the ‘Mattu Gulla’ to be marketed in Bangalore, Mumbai and also the Gulf,” said Mohan Rao, treasurer.
The association has already applied to the Trade Mark Registration Office in Chennai to register ‘Mattu Gulla’ as a brand name with a logo carrying its (Association’s) name. According to B.P. Satish, Deputy Director of Horticulture, the brand name along with a logo was expected to be approved within a month.
‘Mattu Gulla’ is a seasonal vegetable and its seeds are sown in September after the monsoon. It is available from January to May. There is high demand as soon as it enters the market. Farmers sell it at Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 3,000 per sack (about 50 kg) at the beginning of the season. The yield ranges from 10 to 13 tonnes per acre per week.
“Once we get the brand name and logo for our ‘Mattu Gulla’, buyers too would be assured of the quality. Additionally, if the government chips in with funds for marketing and cold storage, this vegetable will become popular in other parts of the state and country,” said M. Lakshman, a farmer.