Thursday, February 29, 2024

Meghalaya’s Lakadong turmeric gets GI tag

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Guwahati, Dec 4: The Registrar of Geographical Indications (GI), Chennai declared and awarded the coveted Geographical Indication tag No. 741 for Lakadong Turmeric vide Journal No 185 Part 1 of the Government of India.

This is a seminal moment for the state and especially for our farmers of Lakadong, as both the state and Lakadong village have finally been rightfully recognized as the source of the best turmeric in the world.

Three other GIs for Garo Dakmanda, Larnai pottery, and the Garo Chubitchi have also been awarded GI vide journal No 185 Part 3.

The journey for obtaining the GI of Lakadong started exactly 4 years back in October of 2019 when under the directions and guidance of the Chairman of the Meghalaya Farmers’(Empowerment) Commission, Shri K.N. Kumar and Shri P. Sampath Kumar, IAS, then Commissioner & Secretary, Agriculture, a committee was constituted by the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE) under the Chairpersonship of Smti. M.N. Nampui, IAS, then Secretary of Agriculture to select and empanel IPR firms to move for the GI of Lakadong.

Out of 4 firms empanelled by the above committee, the North East Foundation (NEF), represented by Mr. Bhanu Pratap Singh, was selected by the committee to apply for the GI of Lakadong Turmeric.

With the active support of the Directorates of Horticulture / Agriculture, the District Horticulture Officers of East and West Jaintia Hills, ICAR Scientists, and farmer representatives, and the dedication of the Project Officer of Mission Lakadong, Mr. Demandson Lyngdoh, MAS, the process of gathering all required information and documents necessary for preparing the statement of the case, was finally completed and submitted to the Registrar of GI, Chennai, which after several hearings and clarifications finally accepted and awarded the GI tag to Lakadong Turmeric on 29th November 2023.

The popularity of Lakadong Turmeric in the national and global markets especially post-COVID, has given rise to turmeric products from other places being mislabelled, marketed, and sold as Lakadong such that the ordinary consumer is often left wondering and confused, leading to losses for our local farmers.

GI can benefit small farmers by providing them with a unique selling point, helping them to differentiate their products in the market. This can lead to higher prices and increased demand, especially in niche markets or for high-quality products.

GI helps in protecting traditional methods and knowledge. It ensures that only those within the designated geographical area, using the traditional methods, can use the GI label. This helps in preserving local heritage and agricultural practices.

GI status can open new markets, both domestically and internationally. It can increase the visibility and appeal of products, making them more attractive to retailers and consumers who are seeking authentic, region-specific items.

 GI can significantly contribute to rural development. By promoting local products and securing better prices, it can lead to increased incomes for farmers. This, in turn, can stimulate local economies and encourage the sustainable use of local resources.

Products with GI status often command higher prices due to their perceived quality and authenticity. This can lead to increased revenue for small farmers, although it’s important to balance higher prices with maintaining market demand.

Since many GI products are linked to traditional and sustainable farming practices, their promotion can contribute to environmental conservation. This includes maintaining biodiversity and using resources responsibly.

GI adds a strong element to a product’s brand identity by highlighting its unique origin and characteristics. This can make the product stand out in crowded markets and build a loyal customer base that values authenticity and quality.

 

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