The MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Jeypore has objected to the recent advertisement published by Geographical Indication (GI) authority for the grant of GI tag to Koraput’s kala jeera rice.
The foundation claimed the application for the GI tag, filed by a private company called Jaivik Shree Farmers Producers Company (JSFPC), could potentially exclude local farmers. Once the GI tag is granted, the applicant company would have exclusive rights to cultivate and market kala jeera rice, potentially leaving other farmers in the district without access, it alleged.
“Kala jeera 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 as it will get the rights for cultivation of rice, disadvantaging other farmers,” said Prasant Parida, director, MSSRF. “We will file an objection before the GI authority soon,” he added.
The GI authority, which functions under the Union government, has stipulated a three-month window from the date of publication of the advertisement for the submission of objections related to the GI tag of kala jeera rice.
Parida said the MSSRF has extensively worked for the preservation and promotion of kala jeera rice in Koraput but it had never applied for the GI tag as it should be done by the government to ensure all farmers benefit from it. “The applicant has drawn upon MSSRFs publicly available research on kala jeera rice while applying for the GI tag,” he alleged.
However, Prabhakar Adhikari, a representative of JSFPC, countered the MSSRF’s claims. “JSFPC is an organisation of farmers of 14 blocks of the district. Farmers have applied for GI tag for kala jeera rice. If it gets the GI tag, then the entire farmer community will be benefited and not one organisation,” said Adhikari.
This article has been republished from The Times of India