Agri Business

A new lease of life for Mangaluru’s unique chilli variety

| Updated on: Feb 15, 2016
image caption

Harekala chilli to be registered with the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority

A native variety of chilli in Mangaluru taluk, Harekala menasu, will soon be registered under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority.

Situated on the banks of River Nethravathi, Harekala, Ambalamogaru and Pavoor villages are known for a particular variety of chilli known as Harekala chilli ( Harekala menasu in Kannada). This particular variety does not have GI (geographical indication) tag.

However, it is one of the ‘hot’ favourites in the preparation of non-vegetarian dishes and pickles in the region.

Shrinking area Harekala chilli, which was cultivated on an area of more than 200 acres two decades ago in these three villages, is being grown in hardly 10-15 acres of land now.

Kishor Sapaliga, a young farmer who is cultivating this variety, said that he is one of the few farmers in these villages cultivating this crop for the past several years.

Grower can get yields up to 400 kg an acre during the four months of its harvesting. Sapaliga got around ₹160-220 for a kg of Harekala chilli in the last season.

Harish Shenoy, Assistant Professor of Agronomy at Krishi Vijnana Kendra in Mangaluru, said that the process of registering this variety of chilli under Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority is in process.

The move will provide certain protection to its growers under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act 2001, he said.

Desilting of canal Shrinking acreage and shortage of farm labour apart, the survival of this unique variety of chilli now hinges on the desilting of a two-km-long natural water canal in the villages where it is grown.

Manohar Shetty, who owns the land in Harekala and an office-bearer of the district unit of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, told BusinessLine that though the farmers are ready to expand the area of cultivation of Harekala chilli, factors such as the accumulation of silt in the natural canal running through the villages is limiting them to take up any further expansion.

The farmers in around 200 acres of catchment area of the canal were earlier getting the benefits of this canal to carry out cultivation of paddy, Harekala chilli and sugarcane, he said.

Sadashiva Samani, a farmer from Harekala village, said that the silt has not been removed from the canal for the past several years.

As a result of this, water from the catchment areas remains stagnant in the nearby field. Shetty said that several appeals to the officials of the departments concerned have not yielded any results. “We are ready to bring back the glory of Harekala chilli by cultivating it on 200 acres in the catchment areas, if steps are initiated to remove silt from the natural canal,” he said.

Shetty said that he is planning to mobilise growers in the villages for a ‘shramadaan’ on removing silt, he added, “My intention is to bring back the lost glory of Harekala chilli and to provide a good market for this unique crop from the region,” he said.

Published on January 19, 2018

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