Monday, May 20, 2019


Konkan region Alphonso mango gets GI tag; individual recognition sought
Monday, 08 October, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shraddha Joshi, Mumbai
The much-loved mango breed of Alphonso, majorly produced in southern Maharashtra’s Konkan region, has won the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. With this, Alphonso from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Thane and Raigad districts of Maharashtra, can now claim the place of origin of this mango type - Konkan.

GI is an indicator for specific geographical origin, which defines the quality of the produce having origin in that specific area, like Basmati rice is native of foothills of northwest Hiamalayas.

In a statement, ministry of commerce, explained, “The GI tag will assure the quality and distinctiveness which is essential tribute to its origin in that defined geographical area.”

Recently, Union minister of commerce and industry Suresh Prabhu launched the logo and tagline for GI of India and said that GI would give the rightful share in intellectual property to the artisan and the place of origin of the product.

However not all are happy with the decision. For instance, Suraj Savalia, secretary, South Gujarat Food Processors’ Association, Navsari, pointed out, “As you know Alphonso mango is not only grown in Konkan area, but also in Valsad, Pune etc. If Alphonso mango is GI only for Konkan area it means exports from other mango growers will be affected.”

He added, “Alphonso mango is grown in entire India (not only in Konkan). So all Indian farmers have to be benefited. Hence, I do not agree with GI of Alphonso mango for Konkan area only.”

Further, there seem to be issues with recognising Alphonso from the entire region as GI instead of looking at it as ‘Devgad Alphonso’ and ‘Ratnagiri Alphonso.’ Omkar Sapre, board member, Devgad Taluka Amba Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit, stated, "Finally after 10 years pushing hard from 2008, government has taken some step and brought Alphonso mangoes under GI tag. However, we are not happy as GI tag has been given just for ‘Alphonso’ from the region.”

Sapre added, “Instead we had been pushing for GI tag for ‘Devgad Alphonso’ and ‘Ratnagiri Alphonso,’ district specific type, which the GI authority had actually approved earlier this year. But, they somehow chose to overrule that and make Alphonso generic covering five districts, of Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindudurg and Palghar.”

According to Sapre, getting GI status on its own does not increase value of Alphonso mango. There has to be concrete legal protection and steps that need to be undertaken by Kokan Krishi Vidyapeeth that filed the GI application. This includes creating public awareness, filing cases against people selling duplicate mangoes and so on.

Sapre declared, “We maintain that farmers will only get proper value once they get specific identity, like ‘Devgad Alphonso,’ ‘Ratnagiri Alphonso’ and similar ones as per their reputation. Although the current GI has at least pushed our efforts in some direction, we will continue to push for individual protection to Devgad and Ratnagiri GI.”

Meanwhile, Dr Prabodh Halde, president, AFST (India), this decision would beef up the value of mangoes and it was a positive step and GI should also be given to Nagpur orange, and grapes from Nashik.

According to him, GI is a name or sign used on certain products which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin. India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, that came into force on September 15, 2003.

GIs have been defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement as: "Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.

The king of mangoes, Alphonso, better known as ‘Hapus’ in Maharashtra, is in demand in domestic and international markets not only for its taste but also for pleasant fragrance and vibrant colour. It has long been one of the world's most popular fruit and is exported to various countries including Japan, Korea and Europe. New markets such as USA and Australia have recently opened up.
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