An indigenous variety of brinjal popularised by a residential forum, ‘Niravu Vengeri,’ here has received a certificate of merit from the Kerala Agriculture University (KAU) for being relatively tasty, of high yield and above all suitable for backyard vegetable gardens.
According to a study conducted by P. Indira, Professor of Horticulture, Olericulture Department of KAU during 2013, this variety, now known as ‘Vengeri brinjal’ has an average length of 44 cm and 12.5 cm thickness. The brinjal plant, which is taller than other varieties, gave a yield of 1.75 kg on an average during the experiment. “The actual yield will be much higher considering the extended life span of the plant,” said Dr. Indira.
The variety with a deep violet colour showed better resistance to pest attack during the experiment and was of relatively better taste, she added.
It was in 2006 that the Niravu Residential Forum decided to actively take to organic farming and ensure that every member household had a backyard vegetable garden for them. Niravu had as many as 101 residents then. When the forum came across a scarcity of good and indigenous vegetable seeds, its members decided to collect vegetable seeds from different parts of the State. “This variety of brinjal was among four unique varieties of vegetables we collected as part of an aggressive drive to gather as many good vegetable seeds as possible,” said Babu Parambath, an office-bearer of the forum.
1 lakh seedlings
In 2009 when agitations against BT brinjal erupted across the country, the residential forum decided to respond to the development in a creative way. “We decided to get ready as many as 1 lakh seedlings of this variety of brinjal and distribute them among people from different parts of the State,” said Mr. Parambath.
All the 101 residents cooperated fully with the drive and more than 1 lakh saplings was prepared.
According to him one resident, Geetha Devadas, prepared nearly 10,000 samplings.
“The then Agriculture Minister C. Divakaran had even visited Ms. Devadas’s house to appreciate her initiative,’ said Mr. Babu.
It was during this period that KAU Director of Research T.R. Gopalakrishnan visited Niravu Vengeri to witness their agricultural initiative.
He collected the seeds of this brinjal and handed them over to the Olericulture Department of KAU for a study of the variety. It was following this that Dr. Indira undertook a study on this variety of brinjal.