Sugar-based industries were one of the first industries known to man. The use and preparations from jaggery date back to Rig Vedic times. In the ancient medical treaties of Ayurveda the use of sugarcane juice, jaggery and sugar cubes are widely referred.
In Kerala, as early as the Vedic times sugar and jaggery were used for preserving and blending taste to foods as the accent was always on the preservation of good health through a well-adjusted diet. Marayoor is a place in the Idukki district of the state, towards the north of Munnar, has perhaps the best variety of jaggery.
The peculiar geographical location of Marayoor, which nestles amid the forests of the Western Ghats gives the sugar cane a distinct geographical identity. Marayoor falls in the rain shadow region and the quality of the molasses is attributed to the speciality in temperature and the ph value of the earth. Added to this, the age-old specialized skill of the local people in making the jaggery in the farm itself, make it a unique product.
The production of jaggery is manual. The raw sugar is manually extracted from the freshly harvested canes using a diesel-run sugarcane roller until it is pulped into a fibrous residue. As the juice is extracted, the impurities are sieved simultaneously before it is boiled into a thick syrup on a large wok. Once the syrup thickens, the jaggery is poured into a trough. Before the mixture cools down, it is rolled into the Jaggery balls. The waste residue from the extraction – is used to fuel the wok.
The prices in sales of this high demand Marayoor Jaggery has been fluctuating, due to various external reasons affecting over 1000, small scale farmers. However, to help the farmers the Intellectual Property cell under the Centre has completed the process to verify the purity of Marayoor. Enabling the High demand jaggery to receive Geographical Indication (GI tag), that will empower the natives of Marayoor. After the Tag, only Marayoor natives can produce Jaggery. This will eliminate all the external factors affecting the farmers.