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Chinnaur Rice Became The First Food Grain In Madhya Pradesh To Get a GI Tag

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Chinnaur Rice

Although Madhya Pradesh's quick progress in increasing agricultural production has been widely publicized, a tiny but crucial recent breakthrough will now provide additional value to the state's farmers. Chinnaur rice, a short-grain type associated with the Balaghat area in eastern Madhya Pradesh, was given a GI (geographical indication) tag by the GI registry in Chennai on September 30. 

According to the state administration, Chinnaur is the first food grain in the state to obtain this recognition. Nagpur oranges had previously obtained GI tags in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra; the all-black Kadaknath chicken was the first agricultural product in MP to receive a GI tag.

This formal recognition, akin to a brand will boost Chinnaur rice's market worth, similar to how Basmati rice demands a premium. "Having a GI tag would help farmers earn more money from their goods, especially through exports," says Preeti Maithil Nayak, director of the MP's department of agriculture.

"It will also look into the usage of the Chinnaur trademark without permission." Given the benefits of a GI tag, the department is presently pursuing certification for almost a half-dozen other agricultural products, including sharbati wheat, red gram, Piparia tuar dal, and rice types kali mooch and Jeera Shankar.

Central Indian states like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, although having a plethora of rice varieties and other agricultural products, have been slow to secure GI tags for their agricultural products. To address this, the MP government established a GI cell, as well as enhance market connections for food that already has a GI tag. According to MP agriculture department data, despite a significant rise in agricultural production, the state's national share in agricultural commodity exports is a meager 0.62 percent.

Agriculture earnings will benefit from a rise in this share. Agricultural commodities do not have the largest number of GI tags in the country—handicrafts account for 61% of existing tags, while agri goods account for 31%. Manufactured products and other foodstuffs each account for 4% of the total.

Chi (short for chiknai yukt, alluding to the rice's high oil content), nau (nau, or sharp point), and r are the three origins of the Hindi term "Chinnaur" (rice). This is a concise description of the grain, which has a pointed tip and is noticeably oilier than other rice varieties—the grains contain 20-21% oil, compared to 18-19% on average. President Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (in the mid-1960s) is said to have preferred Chinnaur rice, which he frequently procured from Balaghat. However, because to Basmati's market domination, the area under cultivation has decreased dramatically over the decades.

Chinnaur is currently grown on around 1,600 hectares in Balaghat district, with a total estimated yield of 2,000 tonnes. Looking ahead, the MP government and the state's farmers are hoping that the GI tag recently awarded to Chinnaur will restore some of that former luster.

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