There’s a possibility of India losing out to China if it introduces this variety in the global market at a lower price.

India and Pakistan could come closer courtesy of Basmati
news Basmati Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 11:57

Although peace talks are on hold between the two disputing neighbors, a GI (geographical indicator) tag for the long grain Basmati rice might force India and Pakistan to join hands.

The Chennai-based Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) will decide if it will grant the GI-tag to a variety of Basmati rice grown primarily in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan and Punjab province of Pakistan.

geographical indication (GI) tag is a sign or mark of reputation used for agricultural and manufactured products with a special quality and is associated with a specific geographical area. 

Initially, it was Madhya Pradesh (MP) that asked for a GI-tag for Basmati rice but Pakistan opposed it. The famous aromatic Basmati rice contributes more than 80 percent to India’s rice exports.

The call for joining hands though comes from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), which senses that India would be the bigger loser if it loses the tag. Taking up the matter, the institute has also requested the government to follow up with the Pakistani government.

TOI quotes K V Prabhu, the joint director of IARI as saying, “We do not want others like China to introduce Basmati in global trade at low prices and spoil our market, which is potentially imminent.”

There’s a possibility of India losing out to China if it introduces this variety in the global market at a lower price. A GI-tag will protect this variety of Basmati rice to be produced only within the defined geographical limits and no other product will be allowed to use the same name and it will be treated as a mark of quality.

In the same article, TOI quoted a scientist who chose to be anonymous as saying, “Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia are among certain east African countries where conditions are conducive for Basmati cultivation. China has acquired big farms in these and other east African countries. “

India to date has more than 200 GI-tags of which Darjeeling tea, Goa Fenny and Malabar pepper are prominent. The GI-tag was introduced in 1999 in India as the country became a part of the World Trade Organization, but it came into effect from 2003.  

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