NEW Delhi: India is determined to get an exclusive Geographical Indication (GI) label for its fragrant basmati rice in the European Union (EU), though India’s request for a GI tag for basmati in the EU has been met with 12 objections, two of which come from Pakistan.
The EU is trying to get India to change its application to include the areas of Pakistan where basmati is grown or to submit a new application with Pakistan. According to S Chandrasekaran, an expert on GIs who authored the book ‘Basmati Rice: The Natural History Geographical Indication,’ India cannot accept the EU’s offer, because when a joint application is made, the maps of both countries will have to be included, and India cannot let Jammu and Kashmir shown as a part of Pakistan.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Agency (APEDA), which is in charge of getting GI labels for Indian products, has been told not to consider other options, such as submitting an amended application that includes Basmati-producing areas of Pakistan or submitting a new joint application with Pakistan.
Though India’s exports of basmati to the EU have gone down, the country’s total basmati exports have risen from 1 million tonnes (mt) to 4.5 mt, with West Asia buying more than the EU. Also, the UK, which makes up 50% of the demand for Indian basmati, has left the EU. So far, Basmati from India has been given a Geographical Indication label in four countries and a certification mark in seven countries, including the UK and China.
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and ensures good quality or a reputation in the region. GI tag is issued to a specific geographical location (area, or country, or state).
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