Hathei chilli, which is found in Manipur’s Ukrul district and is known for its unique flavour, and Tamenglong mandarin orange have been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
Confirming the news in a Facebook post, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh wrote, “What a great start to the day for Manipur! I’m really happy to share that two products of Manipur viz Hathei Chilly and Tamenglong orange have been granted GI tag by Government of India. This is a historic milestone in the history of Manipur and it will increase income of farmers in Manipur. We will be receiving the certificates in the next few days.”
Dr L Jeebit Singh, project officer of Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA), said that the official certificates will be issued on September 22.
Dr Singh said that the Hathei chilly, commonly known as the Sirarakhong chilly, thrives well only in climatic condition of the Sirarakhong village, which is situated about 66 km from Imphal.
It has over 200 households and farming is the main occupation of the villagers. The major chunk of their income comes from the unique chilly. The chillies are grown organically across 300 hectares of the hills surrounding Sirarakhong village.
Experts said that the chilly has a distinct flavour. These chillies also grow in adjoining villages but their quality, in terms of taste, flavour and colour, are considered to be inferior to the variety that is found in Sirarakhong.
The Hathei chilly works as a good anti-oxidant and possesses high calcium and Vitamin C levels. It has an extremely high American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) colour value of 164. The extractable colour of chilli is usually expressed using ASTA values.
The Tamenglong mandarin orange is bigger in size, weighing 232.76 grams on average. It is a unique sweet and sour flavour. It has high juice content (around 45 per cent) and is rich in ascorbic acid (48.12 mg/100ml).
These oranges are grown over areas spanning 1,800 hectares in the hills of Tamenglong, out of which 400 hectares are certified as organic by MOMA, said Dr Singh.