EU has accepted plea on Basmati: REAP

  • The European Commission has accepted the ‘Reasoned Statement’ submitted by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) against India on Geographical Indication (GI) of Basmati. — Reuters/File
    The European Commission has accepted the ‘Reasoned Statement’ submitted by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) against India on Geographical Indication (GI) of Basmati. — Reuters/File
    LAHORE: The European Commission has accepted the ‘Reasoned Statement’ submitted by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) against India on Geographical Indication (GI) of Basmati. The exporters’ body announced on Monday that the statement opposing India’s claim to Basmati rice GI was accepted last Friday (March 5). The REAP had filed the Reasoned Statement in opposition to India’s claim of GI of Basmati on Feb 5, after sending the Notice of Opposition on Dec 7, 2020. After reviewing both of these documents, the European Commission has declared the Notice of Opposition and the Reasoned Statement of REAP admissible in the case, it said, adding the acceptance has made REAP a party to the case. The rice exporters say now they can directly advocate for the protection of Pakistan’s GI rights over Basmati. With the admissibility of REAP as a party, the case of Pakistan in the EU has reached its third stage where all the contesting parties will engage in consultations with each other. The time period for the parties to engage in negotiations is three months. In this case, the negotiations will last, tentatively, till May 6, 2021. This is a pre-trial phase, whereby parties are encouraged to reach an amicable solution. After the consultations are completed and in case no settlement is reached, the fourth stage of trial will commence in the tribunal of DG Agriculture, European Commission.
  • Pakistan finally notifies GI rules to protect domestic products in int’l market

  •   ISLAMABAD: After a lapse of around 18 years, Pakistan on Monday finally approved and notified geographical indication (GI) rules to protect its domestic products in the international market. The rules were approved in a fast move after the country was caught unaware when India applied for an exclusive GI tag to Basmati rice in the European Union (EU) in September 2020. Pakistan was also facing registration issues regarding domestic products in the international market as local items were not protected through the GI law. As per the approved rules, a copy of which is available with Profit, at least 79 products, including Basmati Rice, Khanpur Khwa, Bahawalpur Chunri, Bhakkar Karna Oil, Khewra Pink Salt, Chitrali Embroidery, Hunza Apricot, Sukkur Dates etc., have been protected through the GI law. “GI identifies agricultural, natural and manufactured goods originating, manufactured or produced in a territory, region or locality as determined by the country, where a given quality, reputation, characteristics, ingredients or components are essentially attributable to its geographical origin,” the rules stated. “In the case of manufactured goods, the production, processing or preparation of the specified product takes place in a certain territory, region or locality.” To implement GI rules, the concerned division shall establish a GI Registry under the management and control of IPO Pakistan. Trademarks Registry and its branches established under the Trademarks Ordinance, 2001 (XIX of 2001) shall carry out functions of the GI Registry and its branches till a separate GI Registry is established under the said Act. The rules include the procedure of application, assessment, conformity of GI with a book of specification, opposition to the application, duration, renewal, removal and restoration of registration, infringement of GI, grant of certificate, prohibition on transfer etc. Apart from the registration of domestic products, the GI rules also define law about registering foreign GI. As per the rule, a geographical indication of a foreign country shall be registered in Pakistan as long as it is registered in accordance with the local legislation in its country of origin. The title and date of the legislative or administrative provisions or of judicial decisions regarding protection to the geographical indication in the country of origin shall be considered for accepting foreign GI application. The registry shall not allow the registration of a foreign GI which is not or has ceased to be protected in its country of origin, or which has fallen into disuse in that country. The application for registration of foreign GI shall be made at the registry by its legal representative in Pakistan. During the registration procedure, the registry may require the applicant or legal representative to submit information related to registration in the country of origin which may affect its registration in Pakistan. It may be mentioned here that a product has to be protected under the GI laws of a country before applying for registration for the protection of any product’s GI tagging. Earlier, there were no rules of the GI Registration and Protection Act 2020, enacted in March this year, which was why Pakistan’s basmati was not a protected product. India’s claim to Basmati was challenged earlier this month, with Pakistan arguing that basmati rice was a product of both India and Pakistan.
  • Delhi HC lifts Centre’s curbs on GI tag for basmati rice

  • The Delhi High Court has struck down the decision of the Central government restricting the famously aromatic basmati rice production to only seven States in the Indo-Gangetic plains. The High Court’s verdict came on the Madhya Pradesh government's plea to include 13 districts in the State under the Geographical Indications (GI) category for basmati rice.

    Two memos

    The Ministry of Agriculture had through two Office Memorandums (OM) of May 2008 and February 2014 confined the GI certification for basmati to rice grown in the Indo-Gangetic plains in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. GI certification gives recognition and several protections to a basmati rice producer and help in maintaining the specific qualities of the rice grown in that particular region.
     
    The Madhya Pradesh government contended that the two OMs were outside the scope of the Seeds Act, 1966. It additionally argued that the OMs encroach upon its power to pass laws in relation to agriculture, which is a State subject. The 2008 OM of the Ministry set forth the standards of the ‘basmati’ variety of rice.
     https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delhi-hc-lifts-centres-curbs-on-gi-tag-for-basmati-rice/article26974290.ece
  • GI Rice Distinctively Unique

  • Thailand’s geographical features - soil, air and water - help cultivate produce with inherent characteristics. Thai rice with a geographic indication (GI) is unique in its flavour and other amazing attributes.

    There are currently nine strains of Thai GI rice. 1. Kam Rice of Lanna Cancer-preventing, nutritious black-grain glutinous rice. 2. Luem Phua Rice of Phetchabun  Fragrant, tender, delicious and nutritious black-grain rice. 3. Jek Choei Rice of Sao Hai Fluffy, shape-retaining rice that doesn’t spoil easily 4. Pathiu Yellow Rice of Chumphon Quick to cook, fluffy and shape-retaining long-grain rice. Perfect for street food. 5. Sang Yod Rice of Phatthalung Red-tinted long-grain rice with a chewy texture and a mild fragrance. Rich in antioxidants. 6. Thung Kula Rong Hai Hom Mali Rice Thailand’s best Hom Mali long-grain white rice. Deliciously supple and aromatic. 7. Surin Hom Mali Rice Long-grain white rice with a glossy exterior. Pleasantly soft and moist when cooked. 8. Hang Hom Sakonthawapi Rice Slender-grain golden brown rice. Highly nutritious. 9. Khao Wong Glutinous Rice of Kalasin Soft but not mushy, this fragrant glutinous rice remains palatably tender for a long time. Think Rice , Think Thailand
  • Efforts on to secure GI tag for ‘royal rice’

  • Rajamudi is a traditional red rice variety of Old Mysore region

    If all goes as planned, Rajamudi, a traditional red rice variety of Old Mysore region, which was patronised by the “royals” (and hence the nomenclature), will join the league of Basmati and get a Geographical Indication (GI) tag in recognition of its unique qualities. The Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Price Commission have joined hands with Sahaja Samruddha, an NGO working on conservation of traditional and indigenous varieties of agricultural crops, to set the ball rolling. This is the first case of an agricultural crop from the State being promoted for GI status though fruits such as Kodagu orange or Nanjangud rasabale have been accorded GI tags given their distinctive nature. “The best quality of Rajamudi is cultivated in Mysuru-Hassan-Mandya belt and we intend to prepare a database of the number of cultivators engaged in production of Rajamudi, the acreage under cultivation and then proceed further,” said Krishnaprasad of Sahaja Samuruddha. A Rajamudi utsav and a consultative workshop have been planned in Mysuru at the office of the Command Area Development Authority (CADA) on February 9 and 10 to take forward the agenda. The exercise will help document the knowledge and culture associated with Rajamudi cultivation and conserve it for posterity. There are various strains within Rajamudi which have to be identified and classified and hence farmers, experts from the Department of Agricultural Science, Bengaluru, Agricultural Price Commission, and paddy researchers will participate in the workshop, which is the first step in the long journey to procure the GI tag. What is significant is that cultivators of other varieties of rice in Karnataka such as Ratnachoodi, Gandhasale, and Salem Sanna, which are equally exotic, will also take part as there are long term plans to secure GI status for some of the lesser-known but unique rice of the State, said Mr. Krishnaprasad. Describing the history associated with Rajamudi, Mr. Krishnaprasad said that it was cultivated in large swathes of land under the princely Mysuru ruled by the Wadiyars, who preferred it to other forms of rice. It was also a preferred choice of the maharajas to procure it from farmers in lieu of tax.
     
  • Shivraj Singh Chouhan vows to continue fight for basmati GI tag, slams Pakistan for ‘posing hurdles’

  • The coveted GI tag is a name or sign that corresponds to specific geographical locations. Usage of such a certification on a product would indicate that it possesses certain qualities exclusive to its land of origin.

    Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has vowed to continue fighting to acquire the GI tag for basmati rice grown in the state.
    Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has vowed to continue fighting to acquire the GI tag for basmati rice grown in the state.(PTI File Photo)
    Undeterred by a recent legal setback at the Geographical Indications (GI) registry in Chennai, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has vowed to continue fighting to acquire the GI tag for basmati rice grown in the state despite “hurdles posed by Pakistan”. The coveted GI tag is a name or sign that corresponds to specific geographical locations. Usage of such a certification on a product would indicate that it possesses certain qualities exclusive to its land of origin. “The chief minister said state farmers have been producing basmati since 1908. As much as 50% of the rice exported to Canada and America comes from Madhya Pradesh. A few exporters, particularly those from Pakistan, do not want basmati rice produced here to acquire a global identity certification,” a state government spokesperson quoted Chouhan as saying in a television news programme on Sunday evening. “We will fight for our basmati-producing farmers and emerge victorious in the end.” Chinnaraja G Naidu, assistant registrar of the GI registry, had stated on March 15 that while the evidence filed by entities in Madhya Pradesh depicts the importance and special characteristics of rice grown in the state, it does not do the same for basmati in traditional cultivation areas. “The opponent has, therefore, failed to satisfy the fundamental requirements of popular public perception of Basmati cultivation in Madhya Pradesh as mentioned by the honourable Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in Chennai… A mere plea without the backing of any corroborative evidence has no gravity in the eyes of the law,” he added.
     
     
     
    While the respondent or applicant in this case was the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the opponents comprised the Madhya Kshetra Basmati Growers Association Samiti, Raisen; Narmada Cereals Private Limited, Mandideep, Raisen; SSA International Limited, Mandideep, Raisen; Madhya Kshetra Basmati Exporters Association, Udaipura, Raisen; the additional director of agriculture, department of farmer welfare and agriculture development, government of Madhya Pradesh; and Daawat Foods Limited, New Delhi. A senior official of the state agriculture department said they were studying the order in detail. “As there is an option to appeal against the order before IPAB within three months, we are seeking legal opinions on how best to do it,” he said on the condition of anonymity. It has been nearly a decade since Madhya Pradesh began fighting its battle for inclusion into an Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) list of basmati-growing states. It had even won a legal battle before the GI registry in 2013, but IPAB rejected the claim three years later on an appeal filed by APEDA. Madhya Pradesh claims that it has been growing basmati rice since 1908.
  • Madhya Pradesh loses GI tag claim for Basmati; India may ask Pakistan to check farming

  • The Geographical Indication Registry has dismissed Madhya Pradesh's plea for its inclusion in the Basmati growing region.

    basmati rice, basmati, madhya pradesh, Geographical Indication, centre, india, pakistan
    There were many instances in the past as companies tried to register their products under Basmati, since it commands a premium in the global market. (Reuters)
     
    The Geographical Indication (GI) Registry has dismissed Madhya Pradesh’s plea for its inclusion in the Basmati growing region saying there is no ‘corroborative evidence’ to suggest that the aromatic variety is grown in the state. The GI Registry in an order passed on March 15 has said: “This tribunal reaches a conclusion that there is proper demarcation of cultivation area in the GI application filed by the respondent applicant (Apeda). The opponent (MP government and others) failed to prove the Basmati cultivation in the claimed with supporting documents. A mere plea without supported by any corroborative evidence, has no gravity in the eye of Law. In finale, the oppositions are disallowed as lack of merit.” Basmati is grown in 77 districts of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. The aromatic rice variety is also grown in a few districts of Punjab in Pakistan. “The decision will help India to convince Pakistan not to expand Basmati cultivation to other areas and keep it confined to the region where it has been grown traditionally,” said Priyanka Mittal, director of India’s largest basmati exporter KRBL. The Chennai-based Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in February 2016 had directed the GI Registry to issue a certificate of registration to the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) and reconsider afresh only the plea of inclusion of 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh. Apeda, which had applied for the GI tag for Basmati rice in 2008 and got the registration after seven years of legal battle, had moved the Intellectual Property Appellate Board in 2014, challenging GI Registrar’s first decision (in December 2013) that directed it to file an amended GI application by including all areas where basmati rice is cultivated, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar. While other states stayed away from the legal battle, MP has been following it by roping in growers, millers and agriculture scientists. Apart from the state government, there were Madhya Kshetra Basmati Growers Association Samiti, Narmada Cereals, SSA International (from Raisen district), Daawat Foods and Madhya Kshetra Basmati Exporters Association who had sought inclusion of 13 districts. The parties to the oppositions are given three months to file the appeal, if any, in the IPAB, Chennai. “If these parties do not proceed further in the legal battle, the GI for basmati will be settled and India can initiate GI registration for the aromatic rice in other countries where there is a chance of infringement of the name,” said an industry official citing the example of Champagne, which has been registered in India under GI by France’s Comite Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) in 2010. There were many instances in the past as companies tried to register their products under Basmati, since it commands a premium in the global market. In the latest order, the GI registry said as per the direction of the IPAB, it has heard both sides on the limited issue of inclusion of 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh — Morena, Bhind, Gwalior, Sheopur, Datia, Shivpuri, Guna, Vidisha, Raisen, Sehore, Hoshangabad, Jabalpur and Narshinghpur. The registry has said that the documents and evidence filed by the state and others show the importance, special characters of rice cultivated in MP but not the Basmati cultivation in the traditional growing area. “Opponent has therefore failed to satisfy the fundamental requirement of popular public perception of Basmati-cultivation in Madhya Pradesh as mentioned by the honourable IPAB Chennai,” the order said.
  • No GI tag for Madhya Pradesh’s Basmati rice

  • New Delhi, Mar 19 (KNN) In a recent development, the Geographical Indication (GI) Registry has rejected Madhya Pradesh’s plea for its inclusion in the Basmati growing region. The authority in its rejection note has said that there is no ‘corroborative evidence’ to suggest that the aromatic variety is grown in the state. “This tribunal reaches a conclusion that there is proper demarcation of cultivation area in the GI application filed by the respondent applicant (Apeda). The opponent (MP government and others) failed to prove the Basmati cultivation in the claimed with supporting documents. A mere plea without supported by any corroborative evidence, has no gravity in the eye of Law. In finale, the oppositions are disallowed as lack of merit.” the authority said in a statement Basmati, a special kind of rice is grown in more than 70 districts of the country including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on select products that corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin. India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003. The GI tag makes sure that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.  (With Inputs from a media report) (KNN/DA)
  • Madhya Pradesh denied GI tag for basmati, will need to find new name for its rice

  • Currently, over two lakh hectares area in MP is reported to be under cultivation of improved basmati varieties such as Pusa-1 and Pusa-1121. This constitutes nearly 10 per cent of the estimated total area under cultivation in the country.

    Madhya Pradesh denied GI tag for basmati, will need to find new name for its rice APEDA, a statutory body under the Union Commerce Ministry, had in November 2008 filed an application for GI registration of basmati grown in the seven states. MADHYA PRADESH has lost its claim to market rice under the basmati tag, with the Geographical Indications (GI) Registry issuing an order excluding the state from the area officially demarcated for cultivation of this aromatic paddy variety. “Farmers in MP can continue growing the premium rice, but it cannot be called basmati. The GI certification rights for basmati cultivation will be limited only to seven states in the Indo-Gangetic plains on the foothills of Himalayas: Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh (west) and two districts of Jammu & Kashmir (Jammu and Kathua),” a top official from the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) told The Indian Express. MP principal secretary (agriculture), Rajesh Rajora, said the state government would challenge the GI Registry’s order in the Madras High Court Monday. “Many facts submitted by us have not been taken into consideration,’’ he said. The Chennai-based Registry operates under the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks. The APEDA, a statutory body under the Union Commerce Ministry, had in November 2008 filed an application for GI registration of basmati grown in the seven states. However, in December 2013, the GI Registry asked APEDA to also include MP, Rajasthan and other states where basmati varieties are grown, and submit an amended application. This was challenged by APEDA, which filed an appeal in February 2014 before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). Backed by rice miller-exporters and farmer organisations in Punjab and Haryana, along with the two state governments, the main argument put forth by APEDA was that adding MP and others to the list of states eligible to be issued GI mark would result in basmati losing its premium tag and a beating down of prices. In February 2016, the IPAB upheld APEDA’s appeal and ordered the GI Registry to grant recognition for basmati rice grown only in the seven states. But it also directed the MP government to provide additional evidence to show that the state had an established tradition of growing basmati to warrant a GI tag, while asking the Registry to consider these claims afresh. “The GI Registry has now rejected MP’s case,” said the APEDA official. The ruling would imply that farmers in Morena, Bhind, Sheopur, Gwalior, Datia, Shivpuri, Guna, Vidisha, Raisen, Sehore, Hoshangabad, Narsinghpur and Jabalpur — the 13 districts for whose inclusion MP had staked claim — cannot technically grow basmati rice. Currently, an area of over 2 lakh hectares in MP is reported to be under cultivation of improved basmati varieties, such Pusa-1 and Pusa-1121. This constitutes nearly 10 per cent of the estimated total area under cultivation in the country — about 18 lakh hectares, including 7 lakh hectares in Haryana, 6 lakh hectares in Punjab and 2.5 lakh hectares in UP. The GI Registry’s judgment is expected to impact not just farmers but also companies such as LT Foods, which sells basmati rice under the popular Daawat brand, SSA International and Narmada Cereals Pvt. Ltd. All of them source significant quantities of basmati from MP and have set up modern rice mills near Bhopal. In his order dated March 15, Chinnaraja G Naidu, Assistant Registrar, Trade Marks & GI, stated: “The documents and evidence filed by opponents (MP government and the above three companies) shows the importance [and] special characters of rice cultivated in Madhya Pradesh, but not Basmati cultivation.Opponent has therefore failed to satisfy the fundamental requirement of Popular Public perception of Basmati cultivation in Madhya Pradesh.The tribunal reaches a conclusion that there is proper demarcation of cultivation area in the GI application filed by the respondent/application (i.e. APEDA). The opponent failed to prove the Basmati cultivation in the claim with supporting documents. A mere plea, without supported by any corroborative evidence, has no gravity in the eye of law.” Priyanka Mittal, director of KRBL Ltd, India’s largest basmati exporter and owner of India Gate, welcomed the order. “It restores the sanctity and preserves the heritage of basmati as a premium rice indigenous to the Indo-Gangetic plains on the Himalayan foothills. We should protect basmati the way France has done for champagne. The basmati brand was getting diluted to the extent where even states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were taking up cultivation and sale of basmati. They should develop their own aromatic rice varieties,” she said. For the BJP government in MP, the order comes at an inopportune time, when it has been trying to placate farmers after the unrest in June 2017 that led to police firing near Mandsaur. Besides, assembly elections are due in the state later this year. During the legal battle, the state pointed out that its farmers had been growing basmati for decades using traditional and new techniques. Its petition also argued that the Madhya Pradesh Seed and Farm Development Corporation had been distributing basmati seed varieties to farmers, and that there was no consensus on traditional basmati growing areas in the country.