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Lakadong turmeric faces threat from dummy variety

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SHILLONG, Feb 20: The farmers of Meghalaya moved heaven and earth to grow the Lakadong turmeric but a threat now looms large as people outside the state have come up with a “dummy” variety of the Lakadong turmeric.
Raising the issue in the Assembly on Tuesday, VPP’s Nongkrem MLA Ardent Basaiawmoit said when he attended a programme at Saphai village recently, the villagers had requested him to take up the matter with the state government as the sales of their Lakadong turmeric has plummeted.
“The sales are going down because people from other states have also planted Lakadong turmeric by taking the rhizomes from here. They sell the produce by using the name of Lakadong turmeric,” he said.
Asking the government to intervene and patent the product, Basaiawmoit said the trend has diluted the quality of the original Lakadong turmeric because the soil outside the state cannot yield the same quality of turmeric. Soil is one of the major factors, he added.
“It has created a confusion among consumers to differentiate between the original Lakadong turmeric and a dummy one which uses the name of Lakadong,” Basaiawmoit said.
In her reply, Agriculture Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh said a number of market players are making inroads into the villages of Jaintia Hills to source the Lakadong turmeric by taking advantage of the crop’s default organic nature and high curcumin content.
According to Lyngdoh, this has led to a concerning trend of mislabeling and marketing of the turmeric products in other states as “Lakadong Turmeric”. The process for Geographical Indication (GI) tag was initiated in 2019 to protect the authenticity of Lakadong turmeric from the Jaintia Hills region, she said.
“After a series of hearings and clarifications, the Registrar of GI in Chennai officially awarded the GI tag No 741 to Lakadong turmeric for East Jaintia Hills and West Jaintia Hills districts on November 29, 2023,” Lyngdoh said.
The GI status accorded to Lakadong turmeric stands to safeguard traditional methods and knowledge, ensuring that only farmers and growers within the designated geographical area, utilising traditional methods, can use the GI tag, she added.
The Lakadong turmeric is considered as one of the best in the world due to its high curcumin content and medicinal properties.

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