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GI Tag Awarded to Meghalaya's Lakadong Turmeric

Meghalaya's Lakadong Turmeric secures a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, boosting local farmers and safeguarding product authenticity.

Shivangi Rai
Meghalaya's Lakadong Turmeric recognized as the source of the best turmeric in the world. (Photo: Pexels)
Meghalaya's Lakadong Turmeric recognized as the source of the best turmeric in the world. (Photo: Pexels)

The Registrar of Geographical Indications (GI) in Chennai has officially granted the coveted Geographical Indication tag No. 741 to Lakadong Turmeric in a significant development.

This momentous achievement holds profound importance for the state and, more specifically, for the farmers of Lakadong, who are now duly acknowledged as the source of the world's finest turmeric.

The official announcement, documented in Journal No. 185 Part 1 by the Government of India, marks the successful culmination of a four-year journey that commenced in October 2019.

At that time, under the guidance of K.N. Kumar, Chairman of the Meghalaya Farmers’ (Empowerment) Commission, and P. Sampath Kumar, IAS, the then Commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture, a committee was formed by the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE). This committee, chaired by M.N. Nampui, IAS, the then Secretary of Agriculture, was tasked with selecting and impanelling intellectual property rights (IPR) firms to initiate the GI process for Lakadong.

Out of the four firms shortlisted by the committee, the Northeast Foundation (NEF), represented by Bhanu Pratap Singh, emerged as the chosen entity to pursue the GI for Lakadong Turmeric.

The process was steered with active collaboration from the Directorates of Horticulture and Agriculture, District Horticulture Officers of East and West Jaintia Hills, ICAR Scientists, and farmer representatives. Demands on Lyngdoh, MAS, the Project Officer of Mission Lakadong, played a pivotal role in coordinating efforts and ensuring the successful compilation and submission of all required information and documents for the statement of the case.

After a series of hearings and clarifications, the Registrar of GI in Chennai officially accepted and awarded the GI tag to Lakadong Turmeric on November 29, 2023.

The recognition is not only a matter of pride but also crucial for protecting the authenticity of Lakadong Turmeric. With its popularity soaring in national and global markets, there has been a concerning trend of mislabelling and marketing turmeric products from other regions such as Lakadong. This has led to consumer confusion and financial losses for local farmers.

The significance of Geographical Indication extends beyond prestige; it serves as a valuable tool for small farmers. Offering a unique selling point enables them to differentiate their products in the market, potentially leading to higher prices and increased demand, especially in niche markets or for high-quality products.

Additionally, GI status safeguards traditional methods and knowledge, ensuring that only those within the designated geographical area, utilizing traditional methods, can use the GI label. This, in turn, contributes to the preservation of local heritage and agricultural practices.

Furthermore, the GI status opens up new markets, both domestically and internationally, enhancing the visibility and appeal of Lakadong Turmeric. This recognition can significantly contribute to rural development by promoting local products, securing better prices, and ultimately increasing incomes for farmers, thereby stimulating local economies.

The economic benefits are complemented by the positive impact on the environment, as many GI products are associated with traditional and sustainable farming practices, promoting biodiversity and responsible resource use.

Moreover, the GI tag adds a powerful element to Lakadong Turmeric's brand identity, emphasizing its unique origin and characteristics, which can set it apart in competitive markets and build a loyal customer base valuing authenticity and quality.

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