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IMPORTANCE OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION FOR CONSERVATION OF TRADITIONAL PRODUCTS

Author: Karthik T, IV year of B.Com.,LL.B.(Hons.) from SASTRA Deemed to be University


Introduction

In the previous couple of decades, Geographical Indication (GI), has emerged together with the property rights in developing countries to guard the local goods and traditions from biopiracy and unauthorized use. A geographical indication, which is one of the property rights, is a symbol used on goods that have a selected geographical origin and possess qualities, reputation, or characteristics that are essentially due to that origin (WIPO, 2013).


GI is mainly used to assign goods belonging to different products. The products include agricultural, handicraft, manufacturing, and foodstuff from a specific region or place. Geographical indications (GIs) are place-based names (e.g., Muga Silk, Darjeeling Tea) that convey the geographical origin, as well as the cultural and historical identity, of agricultural products (Aceves et al. 2001). Many countries have passed the legislation on GI including Brazil and Peru in 1996 followed by Asian countries like South Korea and India in 1999 and South American countries Columbia 2000 and Chile 2005. In India, Geographical Indication started on 15th September 2003. Till July 2012, 178 products registered under the GI.

Importance of Geographical Indication

The increase in International competitiveness among the various nations for a globalized world causes the country to struggle among one another to have a bigger share in the planet market. Registration of products under Geographical Indications has increased exponentially in terms of the worldwide food market in the last 25 years (Profeta et al. 2010; Raustiala and Munzer, 2007). It's been reported that registration of products under GI may be a profitable marketplace for the Agri-food industries which include consumers. GI registration status in India In India, registration of GI products was started within the year 2003. Within the first year from April 2004 to March 2005, three products were registered.


The Darjeeling Tea both word and logo under agriculture are the first GI register product followed by handicrafts product AranmulaKannadi of Kerala and Pochampally Ikat from Andhra Pradesh. During the period April 2005 to March 2006, twenty-four products from seven states registered their products under GI. The very best registration is from April 2008 to March 2009 where 45 products from 16 states register their products mostly in handicraft followed by agriculture. Phulkari a handicraft product has been registered from three states of Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan. Foreign countries also register their products in India. Eight products from six countries were registered for GI. Out of the eight products, seven belong to alcohol and one is a meat item. Peru is the first country to register its product Peruvian Pisco, a brandy under product. This is often followed by France Champagne (wine) and Cognac (brandy), USA Napa Valley (wine), UK Scotch Whisky, Italy Prosciutto di Parma (aged meat), and Portugal Porto (wine) and Douro (wine).


Till 26th July 2012, a complete 387 applications have been submitted for GI and out of that 178 products were registered under GI in India. The products are mainly handicrafts, agriculture, manufacture, and foodstuff. Twenty states and union territory has registered their product under the Geographical Indication in four products mainly handicraft, Agricultural, manufactured follow by foodstuff. Handicraft accounts for 65% of the entire product register follow by agriculture (25%), manufactured goods (8%), and foodstuff (2%). The leading states within the registration of GI are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala followed by Tamil Nadu. Goa, Haryana, Nagaland, and Punjab are the least states with one GI registration.

Who can apply for GI?

The application for GI can be a person, producer, organization, or authority of individuals established under the Indian law can apply for GI registration in format prescribed and undergo the address of the Registrar, Geographical Indications along with the prescribed fee. The applicant should indicate the interest of the producers of the priority goods to be registered


Conclusion

In the present global era where the developed countries are infringing on other nation products by filing patent rights for the products which do not belong to them, the problem of biopiracy can be prevented by registering the products under the GI. This may not only prevent the normal goods from misused but also gain financial profit by exporting the products to other countries. Compared with other states of India, the GI protection of the North Malay Archipelago is sort of low which suggests that the region doesn't get all the potential benefits from the GI protection.


Variety of studies conducted around the world concluded that GI helps in an increase of prices, marketing strategy, employment, and income. The various governments in the region should adopt a technique to familiarize the people with GI and its benefit on the rural people for employment and income generation. This may help within the improvement of the living standard of rural communities which are lacking in developmental activities as compared to mainstream India thanks to poor socio-financial conditions.


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