Agriculture Current Affairs

Geographical Indication tag for Basmati rice of 7 states approved

The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has ordered Chennai based Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) to issue ‘Geographical Indication’ tag for basmati rice.

This GI tag will be issued to basmati rice variety grown in 7 states in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) on the foothills of the Himalayas.

These states are Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. This tag will help to preserve the unique identity of India’s aromatic basmati rice in the international markets.

Basmati Rice

  • Basmati is special long grain aromatic rice grown in a particular Indo-Gangetic Plains geographical region of the Indian sub-continent.
  • Historically it is being produced in undivided India from long time and with a recorded history of over 200 years.
  • Exports: India is largest producer and exporter on the Basmati rice in the world. Major chunk of India’s basmati rice is exported to Gulf countries viz. Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait.

Background

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) had initiated steps to protect and get GI recognition for Basmati cultivated in the IGP. It had applied for registration of GI basmati rice in its favour in May 2010.

Note: APEDA is statutory authority related to exports of agricultural products. It functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

About Geographical Indication (GI)

  • Geographical Indication is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes.
  • It is a mark of authenticity and ensures that registered authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • GI registration confers: (i) Legal protection to the products (ii) Prevents unauthorised use of a GI tags by others (iii) Helps consumers to get quality products of desired traits (iv) Promotes economic prosperity of producers of GI tag goods by enhancing their demand in national and international markets.
  • Legal Authorities: At international level, GI is governed by World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
  • In India, GI registration is governed by the Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Darjeeling tea was the first product in India accorded with GI tag.
  • Presently, there are total 218 GI tag products from India. Some of them are Mysore Silk, Mysore Pak, Thanjavaur Veena etc.

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Union Government to set up National Organic Farming Research Institute in Sikkim

The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has decided to set up the National Organic Farming Research Institute (NOFRI) in Sikkim.

Decision in this regard was taken by Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh after he met Sikkim Agriculture Minister Som Nath Paudyal in New Delhi.

The NOFRI will be established by upgrading the existing Gangtok based Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

Apart from this, Union Government also has assured State Government to help in sustaining the organic farming and also in marketing of the State’s organic products.

Background

In January 2016, Sikkim was officially declared as first fully organic state in India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The state has achieved this feat by converting around 75000 hectares of land into certified organic farms by following the guidelines prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production.

For more details refer: Sikkim becomes India’s first fully Organic State

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India overtakes Thailand as World’s largest Rice exporter

India has overtaken Thailand as the world’s largest rice exporter in the year 2015 by shipping (exporting) 10.23 million tonnes of rice.

It was announced by the Bangkok based Thai Rice Exporters Association Chairman Charoen Laodhammatas.

Key facts

  • Thailand: The south-east Asian country ranked second on the list of the world’s largest rice exporting countries.
  • It has exported 9.8 million tonnes of rice to the world market in year 2015 compared to 10.9 million tonnes in year 2014.
  • Vietnam: It was ranked third largest rice exporter with 6.4 million tonnes.
  • China: It has remained the number one importer country of rice in the year 2015.

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