There were many types of brinjal grown in different parts of the State but those grown in Periyakottai and nearby villages in Sakkottai block of this district stand out for their unique features and taste.
Farmers in this region grow three different species – pale green, pale green with blue stripes and violet with stripes and these varieties were not grown anywhere else in the district. The salient feature of the variety was that the fruits would grow big in size but still tender and tasty, say farmers.
“We have been growing the variety for more than three generations,” says CViswalingam, a farmer of Periyakottai. Every farmer cultivate this variety in at least 10 cents of land even if they cultivate paddy or pulses as main crop, he says.
“Its our pride and identity,” say the farmers who collect and preserve seeds on their own.They do not part with the seeds or seedlings with other farmers in the district. “It’s very difficult to get seeds from the local farmers and even if they give, they will dip them in hot water and give so that they will not germinate,” a progressive farmer in nearby Mithravayal said.
After cutting brinjals, oxidative browning takes place immediately in majority of other varieties but not in case of Periyakottai brinjal, the farmer said. The calyx of the fruits in this variety tastes good and that was the special feature of this variety, he added.
The produce was sold out in Karaikudi market and farmers get even Rs. 100 per kg, GAlagumalai, Assistant Director of Horticulture, Tirupattur block, who is in-charge ofSakkottai, said.
As the farmers preferred to collect and preserve seeds on their own, the department helps them with shade nets for nurseries, J Rajendran, Deputy Director of Horticulture, said.
The Dry land Agricultural Research Station (DARS) at Chettinad took up a study on the variety in a bid to secure Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the variety but gave it up later.“We may take up a study on this variety along with native species grown in Paramakudiand Pudukottai,” Myrtle Grace, Professor and Head of the Research Station, said.Securing GI tag was a long process and the Research Station could help the farmers with grafting technology to fight diseases, she said.
The salient feature of the variety was that the fruits grow big in size but are still tenderand tasty