Floods destroy Mattu Gulla in Udupi

More than 50 farmers report loss in Mattu, Kaipunjal and Uliyargoli areas in the district

Floods that hit Udupi district last month have destroyed the planting of Mattu Gulla, a variety of brinjal that has Geographical Indication (GI) tag, on 6.68 hectares, according to the Department of Horticulture, Udupi.

Deputy Director of the department Bhuvaneshwari said that over 50 farmers have reported the loss in Mattu, Kaipunjal and Uliyargoli villages and have submitted their documents. The loss is estimated at ₹ 3.34 lakh.

Normally the planting is done in October and November. But the plantings of some farmers who did it in advance expecting good price for the early produce when there will be no glut in the market have been destroyed, she said.

The Deputy Commissioner who visited the fields has said that it will be considered as a special case for recommending compensation to the farmers, she said.

Known for its unique taste, about 210 farmers in the three villages cultivate this rare variety of brinjal on about 110 acres of land from October to June. Mattu Gulla has less seed and more pulp.

This vegetable has a special relationship with the biennial Paryaya festival held in Udupi as the farmers offer the crop to the 800-year-old Sri Krishna Mutt/Temple for the festival. A dish is prepared using it and served to devotees. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) sanctioned the Mattu Gulla Farmer-Producers Organisation (FPO) in 2015.

Lakshman Mattu, the chief executive officer of the FPO who is also a mattu gulla grower, said that the planting of 56 farmers on about 20 acres (eight hectares) have been completely lost in the recent floods.

They had planted the saplings in the third week of August and in the first week of September.

“The yielding should have started from post half of this month (October). But farmers have lost all the plantings. Nothing can be retained,” he said.

Mr. Mattu said that the standing crop on about 20 acres had been lost in the three villages in post October, 2019 due to heavy rain (cyclone effect). “If it is plantings (lost) this time we lost standing crop last year,” he said.

The staggered planting of Mattu Gulla helped for the continued supply of fresh vegetable to the market and to avoid drop in prices due to glutting and lack of demand. The farmers have been practicing staggered planting since a decade, he said.

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