Not so long ago, growers of ‘Mattu Gulla’, a special variety of brinjal grown in two villages of Udupi district, fetched ₹10 per kg or ₹15 on a lucky day. Now they get at least ₹20, and often even higher.
Their success flows from an initiative to cut middlemen out, and market the produce directly through the Mattu Gulla Belegara Sangha (Mattu Gulla Growers Association).
The ‘Mattu Gulla’ enjoys a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, and is reputed for its unique taste. Only about 150 farmers grow this rare variety of brinjal in nearly 120 acres in Mattu and Kaipunjal villages near Katapady in Udupi district.
Middlemen earlier purchased the produce and sold it to markets in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts. That changed four months ago, when the growers decided to take over. All growers transport now their produce to the Association and fix the selling rate during the weekly meetings on Saturdays.