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Another GI tag is on its way to be bagged by India for its indigenous grape variant. 2021 made a good start for India as a farmers’ association decided to apply for the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for a grape variant whose name is “Cumbum Panneer Thratchai”.
The Kaamayam Thratchai Vivasayigal Sangam, Theni filed the application for this particular product. The application was further facilitated by Nabard’s Madurai Agribusiness Incubation Forum. However, “Kaamayam Thratchai Vivasayigal Sangam” is a registered association of farmers under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act. Chinnaraja G. Naidu who is the Deputy Registrar of Geographical Indications also confirmed this news that an application has been filed by the association of farmers seeking GI tag for ‘Cumbum Panneer Thratchai’.
The farmers have adopted a very unique technique for growing this variety of Panneer grapes in and around Theni district. These grapes have exceptionally high nutritional value as they are produced particularly in a rain shadow valley, that too twice in a year. “A unique factor is that in this Cumbum valley the ‘panneer’ grapes are available and harvested all through the year as against only during January and April in the rest of India. The grapes grown are sold for markets that produce grape value-added products. The grapes grown are suitable for making wine, spirit, jams, canned grape juice and raisins,” said P. Sanjai Gandhi. He is an IPR attorney as well as Nodal Officer in the department of Geographical Indication Registration of Products of Tamil Nadu government.
These grapes also have exceptionally high yielding and return values because of the fact that they are produced in two seasons in a year. As per the details given in the application, this variety of ‘Panneer’ grapes is cultivated in nearly 2,000 acres of land at 10 villages in the valley.
Cumbum Valley is also known as Kambam Valley at various regions of the nations. However, it is a valley situated in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu state of India just near the Kerala state border. It is known to be the most fertile valley throughout in south India. The valley is a land situated between three hill ranges i.e., Thekkadi Hills, Varusanadu Hills, and Kodaikanal Hills. It is said that this valley is the only place in the whole country where grapes are harvested and can be harvested around the year with three different yield seasons. It is very interesting to note that Cumbum valley is capable enough to produce large volumes of about 90,000 tonnes of muscat grapes and 10,000 tonnes of Thomson seedless grapes every year.
“About 12,000 families that are directly and indirectly related to the paneer grape cultivation and trade will benefit if the GI tag is cleared,” said M. Selva Kumar. “At present, the grape faces marking challenges and we are hoping that the GI Tag will make the product and its value addition more competitive,” he further added. M. Selva Kumar is a farmer who is now mobilising other grape yard owners and farmers to get the GI tag.