NERAMAC organize event to user authorize 250 farmers of Naga Sweet Cucumber, Tree Tomato to use GI certification

Kohima: At present GI tagged products in Nagaland include Naga Mircha (King Chilli); Naga Tree Tomato; Naga Sweet Cucumber; Chakhesang Shawl

BY | Wednesday, 28 June, 2023

The North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC), under the Ministry of DoNER, Government of India, organized a Geographical Identification (GI) Awareness Program at Kohima on Wednesday. The Ministry informed that the main focus of the event was to user authorize 250 Naga Sweet Cucumber and Tree Tomato farmers in Nagaland to use NERAMAC processed GI certification. About 100 Naga Tree Tomato and Naga Sweet Cucumber farmers attended the seminar.

Welcoming the participants, Managing Director (Retired), NARAMAC Commodore Rajiv Ashok said GI initiative is a significant step towards promoting and protecting the traditional agricultural practices and products of the North Eastern Region. He said GI tagging of the Naga Tree Tomato and Naga Sweet Cucumber will provide recognition to the unique qualities and reputation of the two products and protect them from misuse and imitation.

Ashok also explained that the GI authorization would enhance the competitiveness of the produce in domestic and international markets and create opportunities for increased income and livelihood. He stated that the GI initiative is part of the Government of India’s broader efforts to promote sustainable agriculture, protect the rights of farmers and enhanced the country’s agricultural exports. Ashok further stated that the initiative has been welcomed by the farming community in Tripura and is expected to boost their morale and confidence in the traditional farming practices. A short presentation was also made about the work being undertaken by NERAMAC in the North Eastern Region in general and Nagaland in Particular.

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Addressing the event, General Manager of NABARD, Kohima, Nagaland, Tiakala Ao said the GI is a form of intellectual property rights that identifies a product originating from a specific geographical location, possessing qualities, reputation or characteristics that are attributable to that location. Therefore, she said GI protection can play a significant role in promoting and safeguarding the traditional and unique products of a region.

Tiala informed that at present the GI tagged products in Nagaland include Naga Mircha (King Chilli); Naga Tree Tomato; Naga Sweet Cucumber; Chakhesang Shawl. She asserted that these products are known for their unique flavours, textures and colours. She stated that they are also produced using methods that have been passed down from generations. She informed that in recent years, there has been a growing demand for traditional Naga products both within India and abroad. However, she lamented that there has also been an increase in the number of counterfeit products being produced. Tiala emphasized that the GI tag will help to protect these products from imitation and ensure that they are produced with the highest standard. She added that this will also promote these products to a wider audience and boost the local economy.

Tiala informed that NABARD is among the few organizations in India to have a specific GI policy. She said the policy was launched in 2019-2020, and it aims to promote GIs as a tool for rural development. She informed that NABARD provides financial assistance to producers’ groups, Self Help Groups or farmers’ club, Marketing Federations, Producer Organizations (PO, OFPO), Cooperatives (including PACS) for GI registration and post-registration activities. This includes assistance with market linkages, branding and promotion.

Tiala informed that till date, NABARD has sanctioned 204 projects to various NGOs across the country for undertaking registration for both farm and 0ff-farm products. These include agricultural products, food products, handicrafts and textiles.

Director of Horticulture Department, Government of Nagaland, Meyasashi, gave a presentation on Naga Tree Tomato and Naga Cucumber, explaining about the advantages of these products. He informed that the Naga Tree Tomato is one of the exotic crops of the state and was granted GI tag on 23rd March 2015, under certification number 374, while Naga cucumber was granted GI number 640 during September 2021.

Meyasashi also stated some interventions that are required for the area expansion of Naga Tree Tomato and Naga Cucumber to enhance its production, to promote and popularize these crops within and outside the state.

Deputy Director of Agriculture Department, Government of Nagaland, James Chawang, requested NERAMAC to collaborate with the state departments of Agriculture and horticulture for processing and marketing. He said the department and the farmers of Nagaland would like to join NERAMAC and requested to them organize more seminars in the state. He also said, the farmers are ready and some of the products are also ready. Chawang informed that the Department has set up 22 small processing units and collection centres and more than 15 transportation vehicles. The Deputy Director encouraged the farmers to produce more crops to pick up in the market.

The event was also graced by Senior Official and GI Expert from Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, who spoke about the importance of North Eastern Region specific Geographical Indication products and emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to promote the region-specific GI products.

North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC) Limited was incorporated in 1982 as a Government of India Enterprise with North Eastern Council (NEC), Shillong as a Promoter. The vision is to become a preferred and trusted brand in the national and international market for authentic agri-horti produce of the North East Region.

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