The “Bangalore Rose Onion”, which is almost exclusively grown for the export market, has managed to get the coveted “Geographical Indication” tag. It is the 217th product in India to get the tag. The GI tag is an intellectual property right that not only indicates the geographical origin of that product but also conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness of the product.
The Bangalore Rose Onion tag means that this onion is grown in one of the 16 taluks of Bengaluru rural, Kolar and Doddaballapur. The GI tag was announce late last week.
Bangalore Rose Onion is the only product to get the tag this year (2014 — 2015) out of the 20 given products across the world. This is only the second item to have “Bangalore” in its name. Out of the 235 products that now have the GI tag in India, 29 are from Karnataka. Out of these, edible products include the Coorg Orange, Mysore Betel Leaf, Nanjangud Banana, Monsooned Malabar Arabica Coffee, Coorg Green Cardamom and the Bangalore Blue Grapes.
The effort to get the GI tag for Bangalore Rose Onion started with the Bangalore Rose Onion Growers’ Association facilitated by the horticulture department of the state government. In their detailed application before the Geographical Indications Registry, they pointed out the “uniqueness” of the onion.
What is unique about the Bangalore Rose Onion is that the bulbs have a flat base. The shape is spherical with deep scarlet red colour, anthocyanin, phenols and high pungency. The high pungency makes it preferable in making pickles. It also has higher levels of protein, phosphorus, iron and carotene.
Bangalore Rose Onion is grown only in and around Bengaluru, that is Bengaluru urban, Bengaluru rural, Kolar, Chikkaballapur district. The climate and soil conditions of the area are ideally suited for this variety of onion. Deep fertile mekklu soil and sand mix of red soil of the area with good infiltration, soil pH ranging between 6.5 to 7, atmospheric humidity of 70 to 75% and average temperature of 25 to 35 degrees C is most suitable. Bangalore Rose Onion is not consumed locally and the tag could only be a status symbol. TN Prakash Kammardi, Chairman of the State Agriculture Prices Commission, said, “You can find them in super markets these days, usually in pickled form. What the GI tag will do to the product and how far it will benefit farmers has to be seen.”
———- S Shyam Prasad.