1. Agriculture World

Government Accepts Plea and Grants GI Tag to Bihar’s Mithila Makhana

M Kanika
M Kanika
Bihar’s Mithila Makhana
Bihar’s Mithila Makhana

Apart from identifying & protecting the product's Geographical Indications (GI) rights, the Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) under the Central Ministry of Commerce has accepted the petition to rename Bihar Makhana as Mithila Makhana and has also suggested further changes to the brand logo to better reflect its origins.

The development has put an end to the debate over the branding of one of the Mithila region's most famous Makhana or Fox nut products.

Following a review of the application for a name change, a consultation panel of experts led by Prashanth Kumar S Bhairappanavar, a senior examiner at Geographic Indication Registry (GIR), ruled that certain post-registration conditions must be completed.

What is GI Tag?

A geographical indicator (GI) is a name or sign that appears on certain items and refers to a specific geographic area of origin. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 protects products having a GI tag. 

War over Makhana’s GI Tagging

The battle over Makhana's GI tagging began when the Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) in Sabour filed an application on behalf of the Mithilanchal Makhana Utpadak Sangh (MMUS), a Purnia-based fox nut growers' association, arguing that naming their product Bihar Makhana would benefit fox nut growers in the state.

Protests erupted in the state's Mithila region as a result of this. According to Baidyanath Choudhary, general secretary of the Vidyapati Sewa Sansthan, the region is recognized for a special sort of aquatic crop called fox nut, which is associated with its culture (VSS). 

In response to the protests, BAU updated the application on September 11, 2020, requesting that the contentious GI article's name be changed from Bihar Makhana to Mithila Makhana, noting the crop's social, cultural, and historical background 

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