14th Mar, 2019
The Marayoor jaggery, the traditional and handmade product from Idukki district, has finally received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from central government.
- Marayoor/‘Unda Sharkarai’ is one of the sweetest jaggeries produced in Idukki.
- It is made using only traditional methods, it is dark brown in colour, high in sweetness, calcium and iron, with less sodium content and less insoluble impurities.
- It is not produced in modern factories or using modern equipment. It is prepared in sheds located on the sugarcane farm.
- No chemicals are added during the manufacturing process.
- The quality of jaggery is attributed to low temperature prevailing in the area, soil characteristics, quality of water used for irrigation and jaggery production, the traditional methods of production and sugarcane varieties used in cultivation.
- Over 1,000 farmers in Marayoor area engaged in sugarcane cultivation. A few years ago, places near Marayoor, like Pattam Colony, Mashi, Koodavayal and Meladi, too, started cultivating sugarcane widely. The jaggery produced from the geographical area has a higher market demand than that produced from other regions, since it is very sweet in taste and is of good quality.
- The GI tag will provide more windows of opportunity, market and price to the traditional sugarcane farmers in Marayoor. One of the major challenges these farmers have been facing is the sale of fake jaggery from Tamil Nadu, which are being sold with the tag of Marayaoor jaggery. This has led to the constant fall in the price of the original jaggery, thus forcing several farmers not to take up sugarcane cultivation anymore. It will ensure getting farmers fair price for their produce.
GI Tag and its Regulation
- Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product.
- Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country.
- Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs. They are also covered under Articles 22 to 24 of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, which was part of the Agreements concluding the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.
- India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15th September 2003.
- This Act is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is also the Registrar of Geographical Indications.