GI tag for Basmati rice soon
The Intellectual Property Apellate Board (IPAB) has cleared the addition of basmati rice to the Geographical Indication (GI) which will be done in four weeks. The application was pending since last 7 years due to litigations by associations who wanted rice from Madhya Pradesh also to be included. The IPAB also dismissed the petition of Lahore-based Basmati Growers Association due to lack of evidence.
Basmati rice are world famous long, slender, aromatic rice grown since centuries in the Himalayan foothills. They are known to elongate to atleast twice their original size and have a special soft fluffy texture and a distinct characteristic flavor.
Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used to denote a product's specific geographical origin which makes it posses certain qualities and reputation distinct from other places. Some popular registered GIs are Darjeeling tea, Mysore silk, Champagne, etc. Registering of GI helps in preventing unauthorized use by providing legal protection. In 2009, APEDA had applied for GI tag for basmati rice grown in Indo-Gangetic plains.
According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India is the world's largest exporter of basmati rice and in 2014-15 it exported 3.7 million tonnes worth Rs.27,600 crore.
GI tag for Basmati is necessary because under Article 22 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), for other countries to extend reciprocal protection, the geographical indication must be protected in the country of origin. APEDA has spent crores of rupees fighting litigations in other countries defending basmati; GI tag will help prevent that. GI tag will promote economic prosperity of producers.
Madhya Pradesh had submitted that thousands of its farmers have been producing basmati since decades and its rice has the required characteristic as mentioned in the application of APEDA.
APEDA has opposed the claims of Madhya Pradesh to be included in the GI tag for basmati as it does not fall under the Indo-Gangetic plains where basmati had been cultivated traditionally. Further, APEDA said that the climatic conditions of MP including the temperature and day length are different from traditional basmati producing states. Hence, APEDA filed an appeal at the Chennai based IPAB.