Desi brinjal on the brink

Bitter news

‘Sunde badane’ a variety of brinjal found near Biligiri Bhavan at Biligirirangana betta. dh photo

The farmers too are in tight spot with no funds to try out new methods of farming to protect these types. Though India and China are said to be the origin of Brinjals, the desi variety of Brinjals like Boodi, Gumpali, Betta and Sunde that grow to a height of three metres, are vanishing fast. The plants are found with multiple stalks that yield flowers and fruits. These plants are capable of withstanding temperature of around 25 degrees and give good yield, three times a year. The vegetable which is bitter in taste, and its seeds are used for making curries.

Farmer M R Madegowda of Muthagada gadde village says that bitter Sunde has a lot of medicinal properties. This with a combination of pepper can be used as a remedy for common cold for children. Gumpatti Sunde variety is used as remedy for toothache, he adds.

Speaking to the paper, he said that Seer Nirmalananda had made an attempt to protect this variety of vegetable and had grown hundreds of them around his mutt. He even tried grafting method to achieve multiple varieties of brinjal in the same plant. Later, the interest towards protecting the same waned and only a very few of them are found in the forests, he says.

The variety of Brinjal is identified by the thorns. While bitter Sunde has thorns on the leaves, Sambar variety has thorns on the stalk. Each plant lives for more than four years and produces around a kg of vegetables per yield. Earlier, the tribals used to grow these plants along with chilli and vegetables, as they do not need any special care, said researcher Nagendra.

The Soligas say that the plants which do not need much water or care should be saved from going extinct.

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