With GI tag, will the Tirur betel leaf go places? -V Sajeev Kumar
-The Hindu Business Line
Kochi: Kerala betel leaf farmers are pinning hopes on the Geographical Indication status received for Tirur Vettila, the unique betel leaf variety from Malappuram district of the State, as the tag is likely to enhance its marketability in Asian markets.
Pakistan was a major market for Tirur Vettila till 2016, when the government imposed restrictions by levying additional duties on the merchandise trade between the two countries following the border skirmishes. Pakistan used to ship around 20 tonnes of Tirur Vettila daily and from there, the product found its way to Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The Pakistani market has now been completely taken over by Sri Lankan betel leaves, M Beerankutty, Secretary, Tirur Vettila Ulpadaka Sangham, told BusinessLine.
The disruption in exports also led to a production drop of this particular betel variety, despite good demand in North Indian markets. The decline in revenue from exports and high labour cost have forced farmers to shift their focus to other areas. Today, on an average, around five tonnes of Tirur Vettila is being transported by rail to Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Itarsi etc on a daily basis, fetching around Rs. 5 lakh revenue, he said.
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