Udupi, Dec 08, 2016 : Palm jaggery made in Tamil Nadu clearly appears to be in high demand in the district, as can be evidenced by the swarm of farmers from the neighbouring state here. Around 30 merchants from the neighbouring state have descended to Udupi, and staying at the Krishna Mutt. While ’Shunti Bella’ or ginger jaggery, which is further enriched by the addition of, as the name suggests, ginger, elaichi and pepper, costs around Rs 200/kg, palm jaggery costs Rs 150 per kilogram.
The sale of palm jaggery appears to be a lucrative fare for the merchants for TN, who are earning up to Rs 1,500 per day. Sallalai Thevar, who has come to Udupi from Tirunelveli, said that the jaggery was extracted from the sap of Palmyra palm trees. "The sweet sap is harvested from the trees, and processed to make jaggery. I have come here with four others. We have already sold up to 1.5 quintals in four weeks," Thevar said.
Babu, a farmer from Thoothukudi, pointed out that the demand for palm jaggery witnessed a sharp spurt during the Pongal season in his home state.
"We prepare this jaggery in our garden. The sap is collected in a big pot called ’Taj’. More than 10 people boil the liquid in the pot using dry palm wood. This liquid is mixed with coconut shell and bamboo sticks. The syrup is poured into coconut shells, and kept out in the sun to dry," he added.
Theertha Kaup, another trader from TN, attributed the good fortune of the traders and farmers from his state in the district to the heightened awareness of the Udupi people to the medicinal benefits of palm jaggery. "During this season, children are increasingly susceptible to catch a cold, and jaggery can be used as a cure. Jaggery is, in fact, used in the preparation of many traditional Indian medicines," Kaup said.