Kerala’s Malabar pepper and Tellicherry pepper are set to get geographical indication (GI) status. Other spices which stand the second-best chance of getting the GI tag are Alleppey green cardamom, Coorg green cardamom and Sannam chillies of Guntur.
Spices Board marketing director S Kannan told ET that “The board has so far filed applications for GI registration for Malabar and Tellicherry pepper, Alleppey green cardamom, Coorg green cardamom and Sannam chillies.
Processing of applications for Malabar and Tellicherry pepper is in advanced stages. While applications for Alleppey green cardamom, Coorg green cardamom and Sannam chillies have been filed recently. All applications were filed to the office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Chennai.
Once GI registration is granted, producers from other regions cannot use those names. Pepper was at once actually being cultivated in the Malabar region of Kerala. Now its cultivation is mainly concentrated in the hilly districts of Idukki and Wayanad.
However, Malabar and Tellicherry pepper are considered to be the best due to historical reasons and on the basis of processing the spice that is being followed traditionally in the Malabar region.
Before independence, the facility of garbling pepper was available only in Kozhikode in the Malabar region. So, pepper garbled and exported from that port was termed as Malabar pepper.
Later, another centre for pepper garbling grew up at Tellicherry in Kannur district, falling within the Malabar region. Pepper garbled and exported from Tellicherry was termed as Tellicherry pepper.
Presently, garbled bold pepper berries are usually referred to as Tellicherry pepper. Today Malabar and Tellicherry pepper constitute 90% of the country’s total black pepper production and 80% of exports. Depending on the monsoon, pepper production in the country varies between 50,000-75,000 tonne.
Last year, backed by transport subsidy, black pepper export from India touched an all-time high of 28,750 tonne, valued at Rs 306.20 crore. Usually, the flavoured superior grade Malabar and Telleicherry pepper with high pungency command $200-300 premium over FAQ grade pepper in the world market.
Alleppey green cardamom for ages is acclaimed in the world for its aroma, colour and quality. The coastal city in Kerala is not a production hub of the special variety of small cardamom but a trading centre of all spices, including cardamom.