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With GI tag, Mayurbhanj’s superfood ‘ant chutney’ set to find more tables

  • Published
    13th Jul, 2022

Odisha has applied for the geographical indications (GI) registry of Kai Chutney under food category.


About Kai Chutney:

  • The chutney is prepared by mixing and grinding salt, ginger, garlic and chilly and is sold by tribals in rural markets.
  • This savoury food item, rich in valuable proteins, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, fiber and 18 amino acids, is known to boost the immune system and keep diseases at bay.
  • The process is herculean.
    • First, they collect the red ants from the hives in branches, leaves or the tree trunks in forests, and boil the ants to turn it into a paste.
    • A combination of grounded green chillies, ginger, garlic, onion and salt is then mixed with the boiled red ants, and the end result of the mixture is 'kai' chutney.
    • It is often served with 'Pakhala', finger millet (mandia), and whoever has savoured it will never forget the taste

Medicinal and bio-control uses:

  • The tribes of Mayurbhanj consume Kai chutney or soup to get rid of flu, common cold, whooping cough, to increase appetite, enhance vision and eyesight naturally without corrective eye wear and to treat joints pain, stomach diseases, essentials for the development of a healthy brain and the nervous system.
  • The tribal healers also prepare medicinal oil by dipping the collected Kais in pure mustard oil.
    • After 30 days, this oil is used as baby oil and externally used to cure rheumatism, gout, ringworm and other skin diseases.
  • Kais (Weaver ants) are bio-control agents.
    • They are aggressive and prey on most arthropods entering their territory.
    • Due to their predatory habit, Kais are recognized as biological control agents in tropical crops as they are able to protect a variety of crops against many different insect pests.
    • In this way, they are utilized indirectly as an alternative to the chemical insecticides,

About Weaver ants:

  • Weaver ants, scientifically called Oecophyllasmaragdina, are abundantly found in Mayurbhanj throughout the year. 
  • Red Weaver Ants are known for their unique nest building behaviour where workers construct nests by weaving together leaves using larval silk.
  • There is a division of labour, which is associated with the size difference between workers, whereby major workers ants forage, defend and maintain the ant colony and the minor ants stay within the nests to care of the newly hatched ants.

Geographical Indication (GI)

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • A geographical indication right enables those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards.
  • However, a protected geographical indication does not enable the holder to prevent someone from making a product using the same techniques as those set out in the standards for that indication.
  • Protection for a geographical indication is usually obtained by acquiring a right over the sign that constitutes the indication.
  • Geographical indications are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts, and industrial products.
  • A GI tag acts as a certificate and ensures that similar products from elsewhere cannot be sold under this name.
  • The tag is valid for a decade, after which it can be renewed for another 10 years.
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