Tamil Nadu’s Kanniyakumari Matti Banana has finally received the GI tag, making Tamil Nadu the region with the highest number of GI tagged products. The banana variety is grown in specific taluks of the Kanyakumari district. Here is everything you need to know about this fruit.
Tamil Nadu has always led the list of states with the highest number of unique products that have been given the GI tag by the Geographical Indications Registry. Joining this list of 58 unique Tamil Nadu GI tagged products in now the Kanniyakumari Matti Banana, Jaderi Namakatti and Chedibutta saree. Of the three new entries, the Kanniyakumari Matti Banana is a unique banana variety grown in the region. Here’s everything you need to know about the Kanniyakumari Matti Banana.
The application for the Kanniyakumari Matti Banana was filed by the Kanyakumari Banana and Horticulture Farmers Producer Company Limited. Mostly grown in the Agatheeswaram, Thovolai, Thiruvattar taluks of the Kanyakumari district, this banana cultivar is known to be highly fragrant, sweet in taste, firm texture and powdery nature.
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The Matti Banana is usually 2.5 to 3cm long and looks like the mouth of a crocodile, hence it is also called Crocodile Finger Banana. The 15-month old crop is considered rare and is grown only in the hills of South Travancore, especially near Nagarcoil. Each bunch of Matti Banana weighs between 12-19 kilos. Other common variants of Kanniyakumari Matti Banana include Semmatti (red Matti), Thaen Matti (honey Matti) and Malai Matti (Hill Matti). What makes the Matti banana even more special is the fact that it can be safely consumed by infants, and the corm extract from the fruit is also used as a jaundice cure.
The applicants who put up the name of Kanniyakumari Matti Bananas for the GI tag list also provided references from Tamil literature and government records to show just how valuable the banana variety has been for the region. One of the applicants even argued that Kanniyakumari Matti Bananas are rich in manganese and can provide 13% of our daily recommended needs for this essential mineral. Of course, like all bananas, the Kanniyakumari Matti Banana is also rich in potassium, essential vitamins and dietary fibre.
Though the Kanniyakumari Matti Banana has only now received the much-coveted GI Tag, the Kanniyakumari Banana and Horticulture Farmers Producer Company Limited had first applied for the status in 2021. That time around, the MSME Intellectual Property Facilitaion Centre and NABARD’s Madurai Agri Business Incubation Forum had also facilitated this application. It appears that the Kanniyakumari Matti Banana has really had a hard-won victory with the receipt of the GI tag finally in 2023.