In an attempt to promote the export of locally sourced agricultural products tagged with Geographical Indications (GI), the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in Bihar has identified six potential products to be registered for a GI tag, officials aware of the matter said on Monday.
The Central government, with an aim to promote local products, has been striving to identify new products and new export destinations.
The agricultural and other products awaiting GI tagging are Nalanda Bawanbooti saree and fabrics, Gaya Pattharkatti stone craft, Hajipur Banana (Chiniya kela), Gaya Tilkut, Runni Saidpur Balushahi and Udwantnagar Khurma. While the requests for the first three items have been filed, a producers’ organisation formation is under process for the remaining three.
According to the GI registry portal, 15 products and logos have the GI tag in Bihar. Some of them are Shahi Litchi, Bhagalpuri Zardalu mango, Katarni rice and Magahi Paan (beetle leave). In December 2021, the famous makhana (fox nut) was granted a GI tag.
Geographical Indication (GI) is a kind of intellectual property right that identifies goods originating from a specific geographical location and having a distinct nature, quality and characteristics linked to that location. GI tagging of products in Bihar has helped in brand building, creating local employment, creating a regional brand, generating spin-off effects in tourism, preserving traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions and conserving biodiversity.
“NABARD is playing an important role in the GI registration process and post-GI initiatives, including marketing linkages, branding, promotion etc. Till date, NABARD has supported 72 GI products for the registration in various parts of the country. In Bihar, we are helping in producers’ group formation and GI filing of six identified products and for post GI initiatives. This is in line with “Vocal for Local” and going to help the producers in brand building, better marketing and visibility, boost regional economy and provide employment opportunities to people,” said Dr Sunil Kumar, chief general manager of NABARD’s regional office in Bihar.
“Once approved, it is going to benefit more than 2,000 producers involved with these six products,” Kumar said.
The move has brought smiles on the faces of 70-odd families involved in Patharkatti, the art of making figurines of Hindu deities and Buddha from marble. “The GI tagging will help 50-60 artistes who are still carrying the art form since ages in an obsolete Patharkati Gaon, situated 35 km from Gaya,” said Deepak Gaud, an exponent of the art form.
Gaud has sculpted a 70-foot tall statue of Lord Buddha at Ghoda Katora in Rajgir and is currently making a 131-foot high statue of Buddha on Bodh-Gaya-Rajgir road. “During the coronavirus pandemic, most artistes started facing starvation and with little help coming in from the government, many families left for Rajasthan,” said Gaud.
A NABARD official said the process of getting a GI tag for Bawanbooti Saree has started. “Application for a GI tag has been done on May 12. This will give global recognition to the skills of around 250 weavers of Nalanda. They will be able to send their products anywhere. Weavers will get a bigger market after getting a GI tag,” he said.
Nepura of Silao and Baswanbigha of Biharsharif are famous for handloom industry. The weavers here prepare Bawanbooti sarees from tussar (a form of silk) and cotton.
Earlier, Nalanda’s Silao Khaja (a delicacy) had got the GI tag.