Shahi Litchi from Bihar has received Geographical Indication (GI) tag from Chennai based Geographical Indication Registry and Intellectual Property India. The GI registration was done in name of Muzaffarpur-based Litchi Growers Association of Bihar, which had applied for the tag. Shahi Litchi which famous for its sweet, juicy, unique flavour and aroma is mostly grown in Muzaffarpur and adjoining areas of East Champaran, Vaishali, Samastipur and Begusarai districts of state. Bihar produces 40% of the litchis grown in India on 38% of the area.
The GI tag for Shahi Litchi will improve demand for fruit and reduce fear of fake and poor quality litchis. It will also help and benefit thousands of litchi growers who will gain access to more markets and get better price for their produce in the country and abroad.
Shahi Litchi is fourth agricultural product from Bihar after Katrani rice, Jardalu mango and Magahi paan (betel vine), to get GI tag. In addition to four GI tags in agricultural field, some art form from Bihar such as Madhubani painting, applique – Khatwa patch work, Sikki grass work, Sujini embroidery work and Bhagalpur silk have also been accorded GI tag under handicraft category.
Geographical Indication (GI)
GI tag is name or sign used on certain products which correspond to specific geographical location or origin. It is used for agricultural, natural and manufactured goods having special quality and established reputation. The goods and products having tag are recognised for their origin, quality and reputation and gives it required edge in global market. It also ensures that none can use their name, giving them exclusivity. The registration of GI is valid for 10 years after which it needs to be renewed. Violation of GI tags is punishable offence under law. The purpose of GI tag enables stakeholders to authenticate their production while earning a premium and derive an improved livelihood.
GI is covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property. At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In India, GI tag Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999 governs it. This Act is administered by Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is also Registrar of Geographical Indications and is based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.