Pulses millers and traders from Northeast Karnataka district seek geographical indication (GI) status for their “Gulbarga toor”.
“The toor (pigeon pea or arhar) grown in gulbarga is of superior quality, having to with this region’s unique soil and climatic conditions. Gulbarga toor should be projected as a brand in itself,” says Chandrashekhar Nadar, whose Rs 60 crore-turnover firm, Global Dhall Industries, sells milled pulses (dal) under the “Dove” label. Toor, also called arhar, is India’s second largest pulses crop after chana or chickpea. Gulbarga alone has some 300 dal mills, with capacities to process — i.e. de-husk and split the grain — between 10 to 15 tonnes of toor per day.
“Obtaining a GI for Gulbarga toor is certainly an idea worth exploring. But for that, we must first establish the parameters distinguishing it from toor of other origins. These may relate to flavour, cooking quality, grain size/boldness, and also the specific attributes of this region contributing to the distinctiveness and uniqueness of its dal,” points out S Chandra, former head of the Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Kanpur.
In 2013-14, India imported 4.66 lakh tonnes of toor valued at $291.1 million (Rs 1,755.88 crore), over half of it from Myanmar and the rest mainly from Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and Kenya.