Objections Likely To One Of 7 Odisha Products In Last Leg Of Race For GI Tag

Koraput: Days after seven products, unique to Odisha, reached the final stage of obtaining a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Jeypore expressed reservations over the advertisement for ‘Koraput Kalajeera Rice,’ an aromatic rice variety with nutritional value.

Since the application for the GI tag has been filed by a private company called Jaivik Shree Farmers Producers Company (JSFPC), the foundation fears that the status could be disadvantageous for farmers as the firm would then have exclusive rights to cultivate and market Kalajeera Rice.

“Kalajeera Rice is an exclusive produce of Koraput district and the GI tag has to be applied for by any government agency and not any private organisation. Once it gets the GI tag, the applicant company will be the sole beneficiary,” MSSRF director Prasant Parida told TOI.

The foundation will file an objection before the GI authority, he said, adding that the government should instead file for it to ensure all farmers benefit from it.

Prabhakar Adhikari, a representative of JSFPC, told the daily that it is an organisation of farmers of 14 blocks of the district. “Farmers have applied for GI tag for Kalajeera Rice. If it gets the GI tag, then the entire farmer community will be benefited and not one organisation,” he added.

Notably, JSFPC at Pujariput had applied on January 11, 2022, for the registry of Koraput Kalajeera Rice. Chennai-based Geographical Indication Registry – the national body for GI registrations – on August 31 advertised applications for Odisha Khajuri Guda, Dhenkanal Magji, Similipal Kai Chutney of Odisha, Nayagarh Kanteimundi brinjal, Kapadaganda: Dungaria Kondh Embroidery Shawl, Koraput Kalajeera Rice, and Painting of Lanjia Saura (Idital) in the GI Journal. If there is no opposition, these will be entered in the GI Registry and the registration certificate will be issued in favour of the products. The entire process may take four to five months, sources said.

Kalajeera Rice is grown in Koraput district’s Tolla, Patraput, Pujariput, Baliguda and Mohuli areas. According to ancient text, Kalajeera rice improves memory and controls diabetes. It is believed to increase haemoglobin levels and the body metabolism. This fragrant grain has antispasmodic, stomachic, carminative, antibacterial, astringent and sedative properties.

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