Kerala

Marayur’s unique ‘koorka’ much in demand

Kattu koorka (a wild variety of Chinese potato) grown in the 12 tribal settlements brought to Chilla, an exclusive tribal market at Marayur, Idukki district.

Kattu koorka (a wild variety of Chinese potato) grown in the 12 tribal settlements brought to Chilla, an exclusive tribal market at Marayur, Idukki district.  

Over 13,000 kg of ‘kattu koorka’ arrives in tribal market

Chilla, an exclusive tribal market in Marayur, is actively promoting a special variety of Chinese potato, grown organically in 12 tribal settlements in the hills of Marayur. The crop, known locally as ‘kattu koorka,’ has the shape and size of a taro root, but does not belong to the colocasia genus.

There is much demand for the egg-shaped tuber in the mint family. It is usually sold for ₹30 to ₹40 a kilo. Saby Varghese, former Divisional Forest Officer, Marayur, who was instrumental in opening Chilla, said that ‘kattu koorka’ cannot be described purely as an endemic species. The special climatic and soil conditions could be yielding the special tuber variety.

K.V. Binoji, co-ordinator, Chilla, said the crop had fetched a price of up to ₹80 a kg. Over 13,000 kg of kattu koorka arrived at the market on last Thursday. Murugan, a farmer at Kammalankudy settlement, said that it took five to seven months for the plants to give yield in his settlement. However, the duration might differ. The crop, which has a unique smell and taste, is highly sought after in Rajakkad, Adimaly, and Kochi.

Main areas

Kattu koorka is mainly produced in the tribal settlements of Periyakudy, Koottukalkudy, Kavakkudy, Nellippety, Vengappara, Kammalankudy, Karpoorakudy, Oonjampara, Eechampetty, Iruttalakudy, Puthukkudy, and Thayannankudy.

A Forest Department initiative has been preserving many endemic varieties of vegetables such as spinach, found exclusively in the tribal settlements of the Marayur Forest Division and the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. Under a similar programme, the department has been encouraging tribals farmers to grow kattu koorka, leading to its popularity.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:09:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/marayurs-unique-koorka-much-in-demand/article30080190.ece

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