Famous Shahi litchi of North Bihar gets Geographical Indication tag

  • Category
    Economy
  • Published
    22nd Oct, 2018

Bihar’s Shahi litchi has received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag making it an exclusive brand in the national and international market.

Context

Bihar’s Shahi litchi has received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag making it an exclusive brand in the national and international market.

About

Shahi Lichi of Bihar

  • The GI registration for Shahi lichi was done in the name of Litchi Growers Association of Bihar, which had also applied for the tag.
  • The fruit is the fourth product from the state, after Jardalu mango, Katarni rice and Magahi paan, to receive the status.
  • It was granted tag based on geography and tradition that involves some unique means of production.
  • The shahi variety of litchi grown in Muzaffarpur has high pulp and is juicier compared to the litchi grown in other parts of the country.
  • Humid condition and alluvial soil having fairly good amount of calcium content in Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, and nearby areas, proved ideal for litchi cultivation in Bihar.
  • Litchi production was initially introduced in Bengal, which gradually spread to other parts of country, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
  • India is the second largest producer of litchi in the world and Bihar is the leading state for litchi production in the country. State produces 40% of the litchis grown in India on 38% of the area. Production is mostly organic.

GI Tag:

  • A Geographical Indication (GI) is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
  • It allows a state or a geographical region to lay an exclusive claim over a product, gives an assurance of quality, and is often used as a reason to increase product rates.
  • It is granted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • After initial formalities, details of the product seeking GI tag are published in the Geographical Indications Journal and are made available in the public domain. If no objections are raised within 3 months, the product is cleared for GI registration.
  • Once a product or good gets the tag, no other person or company can sell a similar item under that name.
  • The tag is valid for a period of 10 years and can be renewed after that.
  • In India, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is actively involved in promotion and marketing of GIs with a vision to enhance the horizon both socially and economically for GI producers.
  • GI tag application, registration and verification are done under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration &Protection) Act, 1999 and the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules 2002.
  • GI is in compliance with World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms.

Facts

  • The first product to get GI tag in India was the Darjeeling tea in 2004.
  • There are a total of 325 products from India that carry GI tag which includes Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Banarasi Sarees, Tirupati Laddus among others.
  • Some of the recently added products include Alphonso mango from Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, Dantewada’s Kadaknath chicken, Banganapalle mangoes of Andhra Pradesh and Tulapanji rice of West Bengal.

Significance:

In the past, absence of patent created problems for both farmers and commercial enterprises. Farmers faced heavy losses as litchi from other parts of the country were often sold as shahi litchi by middle men. Companies like Litchika International could not produce wine from the shahi litchi even after showing interest.

The tag is one step closer at curbing these woes, as it will reduce the fear of fake and poor quality litchis, and push its commercial value and demand up. Thus, farmers from Bihar are set to benefit from protection as the fruit has a huge market even globally.

Learning Aid

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