Bihar seeks GI tag for its Shahi Litchi

Patna, 6 June-2014, IANS: After Madhubani paintings, Bihar’s Shahi Litchi will soon get Geographical Indication (GI) tag and it would become an exclusive brand of the state in national and international market, an official said Friday.

Bihar seeks GI tag for its Shahi Litchi

Bihar seeks GI tag for its Shahi Litchi

The Bihar government took the initiative to get GI tag for Shahi Litchi grown in Muzaffarpur district and some other areas. The fruit grown in the state is sweet, juicy and larger in size.

Bihar is also planning to register Tussar silk and aromatic Katarni rice from Bhagalpur district under the provisions of the GI tag.

A GI is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin such as a town, region, or country. The use of a GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities due to its geographical origin.

The state’s asset innovation council moved for getting specific tag for Bihar’s Shahi Litchi.

Principal Secretary for Planning and Development Vijay Prakash said the state government has decided to get the GI tag for the fruit to help thousands of litchi growers.

“We expect the registration of the name will benefit farmers who will gain access to more markets and get better price in the country and abroad,” Prakash said.

He said Shahi Litchi is likely to get the GI tag in next two to three days.

Prakash said once the Bihar government gets exclusive right to the brand name Shahi Litchi, no one else will be able to use it to market the fruit in India or abroad. Buyers anywhere would know that litchis with this name must be from Muzaffarpur.

Countries that import litchis from India are the Netherlands, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Canada, Russia and Yemen.

Vishal Nath, director of the Muzaffarpur-based National Research Centre for Litchi, said northern Bihar, including Muzaffarpur, accounts for over 62 percent of the country’s total litchi production.

Nath said Shahi Litchi is famous for its unique flavour and taste.

Vijay Prakash said Madhubani paintings got the GI tag, thanks to the initiative of the state industry department. Madhubani painting was the first to get the GI tag in Bihar.

For ages, rural people, mostly women from Mithila region have developed their own tradition of art, popularly known as Madhubani paintings and named after Madhubani district. This painting tradition dates back to the 7th century A.D.

Traditionally, Madhubani paintings were made on the eve of certain rituals and ceremonies such as pujas (worships), vratas (fasts) or weddings. But in the last few decades, Madhubani paintings have been popularised by the master painters in the world.