Tirur Vettila from Kerala obtains GI Tag
Tirur Vettila or Tirur Betel Leaf from Kerala has obtained a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Mainly cultivated in Tirur, Tanur, Tirurangadi, Kuttippuram, and nearby regions of Malappuram district in Kerala, the product is unique and known for its high content of chlorophyll, protein, and antioxidant capacity. Although Tirur Betel Leaf is commonly used to make pan masala for chewing, it is often appreciated for its mild stimulant, digestive, and medicinal properties.
The application for the GI tag was filed in 2018 by Tirur Vettila Ulpadaka Sangam facilitated by Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Cell, Kerala Agricultural University (KAU).
Indira Devi, Director of Research at KAU, said that Tirur Vettila’s shelf period is more in comparison with other betel leaves. Besides, Eugenol is the essential oil that contributes to its pungency. She explained that Tirur Vettila not only has a more antioxidant capacity, which adds to its medicinal properties but is also comparatively more pungent than many other cultivars. Adding to the explanation, she said that the GI Registration would hopefully enhance the marketability and demand of this unique betel leaf.
Even though it is a joint initiative taken by the IPR cell of the KAU, State Department of Agriculture Development and Farmers’ Welfare, and Tirur Vettila farmers, which now has reached its final destination, Tirur Vettila Ulpadaka Sangam, Malappuram, is the registered owner for this Gl-product.
Use in Pharmaceutical Sector
Dr. Elsy, Coordinator at IPR Cell-KAU, suggested that the possibilities of using the extracts of this betel leaf in the pharmaceutical sector are to be explored further. Traditionally, the betel leaf is known to be helpful in the treatment of multiple diseases. Vettila is a component of ‘Thampooladhi thylam’ and is useful in the preparation of indigenous remedies to treat cough. Chewing Vettila after meal enhances digestion. In India, betel leaf is routinely served during social, religious, and cultural occasions, she noted.
Area under Cultivation
At present, the area used for the cultivation of Tirur betel leaf in India covers 22 hectares. Around 60% of the total produced Tirur Vettila is transported (through rails) to Delhi, Mumbai, Itarsi, and Jaypore, from where it goes marketed to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
Apart from Tirur Vettila, several other products, including Kaipad rice, Wayanad Jeerakasala rice, Pokkali rice, Wayanad Gandhakasala rice, Marayur jaggery, Vazhakulam pineapple, Central Travancore jaggery, and Chengalikodan nendran have obtained the GI tag before this initiative of the IPR Cell of the KAU. Moreover, efforts to receive the GI tag for Kuttiattoor Mango are on.
The IPR Cell of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) achieved the National IP Award, 2019 from the Government of India for its efforts in the facilitation of Geographical Indication Registration. For more visit: https://www.kashishipr.com/
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