West Bengal’s Gobindobhog rice gets geographical indication status
The Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) has granted geographical indication (GI) status to Gobindobhog rice, a speciality from Burdwan district of West Bengal. The state government had applied for GI status for Gobindobhog rice in August 2015.
Gobindobhog variety of rice is a short grain, white, aromatic, sticky rice having a sweet buttery flavor. It derives its name from principal ingredient usage in preparation of offerings to Govindajiu, the family deity of Setts of Kolkata.
It is primarily cultivated in east Burdwan district – in southern basin of Damodar River in Raina 1, Raina 2 and Khandaghosh blocks. Burdwan region (now divided into districts of east and west Burdwan) is known as the rice bowl of Bengal. The south Damodar belt is traditional area of Gobindobhog rice cultivation.
The rice variety has several advantages. It is cultivated late and therefore not much affected by rains. Its productivity per area is high and so farmers get better prices for Gobindobhog rice. It is less prone to pests as well.
As a result of getting the GI tag, rice produced from other regions or rice of other varieties cannot be branded as ‘Gobindobhog’. It will also strengthen marketability of this rice in the local, national and international markets.
About Geographical Indication (GI)
GI tag is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes. The status to the products marks its authenticity and ensures that registered authorised users are allowed to use the popular product name.
It is covered as an element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for the 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 registration is governed by the Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force in September 2003. It is granted by Chennai based GIR. Darjeeling tea was the first product to accorded with GI tag in India.
Benefits of GI Status: (i) Legal protection to the products (ii) Prevents unauthorised use of a GI tag products 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.