Famous Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai gets GI tag

Sweet news! Famous Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai gets GI tag

Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai, the mouth-watering and healthy snack made of groundnuts and jaggery in parts of Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu, was on Thursday granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.  

The granting of GI tag to manufacturers of Kadalai Mittai could not have come at a better time for the cottage industry which completes 100 years of existence this year. Launched in 1920 by S S Ponnambalam, Kovilpatti and adjoining areas today have nearly 150 small and medium enterprises that manufacture the sweet candy.

“Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai has been granted GI tag today. I have signed the order,” Chinnaraja. G. Naidu, Deputy Registrar of Geographical Indications, told DH. GI tag, according to manufacturers in Kovilpatti, will help them go a long way in establishing their value at a time when people across the state are using the town’s name to manufacture Kadalai Mittai.

Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai is made using groundnuts and jaggery in carefully selected quantities from selected specific locations in Tamil Nadu along with water from river Thamirabarani which “enhances the taste naturally.”

The first initiative to get GI tag for Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai was taken in 2014 by the then sub-collector Dr K Vijayakarthikeyan, now Tiruppur District Collector, who filed an application in this regard. However, the competent authorities suggested that the application be filed by manufacturers’ association rather than a government servant.

“We launched an association in 2018 and applied for GI tag in 2019. We are so happy to receive the GI tag today. It is a big recognition for all those who manufacture the delicacy in this town and nearby villages. The tag will help us maintain the quality of the sweet candy,” A Kartheeswaran, President of Kovilpatti Regional Kadalai Mittai Manufacturers and Retailers Association, told DH.

Vijayakarthikeyan told DH that he was happy that the initiative that he launched six years back has yielded the desired results. “It was me who first gave the idea of applying for a GI tag. I was of the view that the tag would give the industry advantage of quality control and would lead to more demand. I have been getting so many calls since Thursday afternoon thanking me for the initiative which makes me happier,” he said. 

Groundnuts grown in the native black soil in and around Kovilpatti and those sourced from the nearby town of Aruppukottai are used for making Kadalai Mittai. The groundnuts are shelled and roasted in a machine before being used.