Karnataka GI tag is soaring high. A GI tag refers to a Geographical Indication. To put it simply, it comprises of a sign or even a name of a product or range of products specific to a particular geographical location.
The location could be out of a city, region or area, and country. The aim is to preserve the unique identity of the place in relation to the product that has been passed down from one generation to another.
GI Tags in India
India is a proud member of the renowned organization WTO or World Trade Organization. The GI Tags became a part of Indian goods only in the year 2003 – 15th September, to be specific.
As per WTO Agreement, (under Article 22(1), on TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) GI has been defined 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 journey began with Darjeeling tea around 2004-2005 and other products like Mysore silk, Chanapatna toys, Madhubani paintings, Alphonso mangoes, Agra petha and many others followed suit. The act on Geographical Indications of Goods was passed by the Indian Parliament in December 1999.
Karnataka GI Tags – An Overview
Karnataka is the unparalleled leader with an extensive range of 39 items tagged from Dharwad peda and Mysore silk right up to Appemidi mango and Coorg green cardamom. The products registered with the Indian Patent Office have been a whopping 301 in number. Handicraft tops the list, followed by agriculture and food products.
There are, in fact, 19 Karnataka GI tags for handicraft products, 16 for agriculture-related products, 3 for manufactured products and one food item.
There have been some new additions as well: Guledgudd Khana fabric, Bangalore rose onion, Udupi sari, Kinhal toys, Bangalore blue grapes, Nanjangud banana, Mysore sandalwood oil, Kasuti embroidery, Hadagali mallige, Kamalapur red banana, Devanahalli pomello, Mysore sandal soap etc.
The Purpose behind the Karnataka GI Tags
The huge number of Karnataka GI tags is clearly helping the State maintain its uniqueness. Not only does it help in preserving the heritage, but also promotes the culture and flavour of individual cities and towns while emphasizing on biodiversity. To add to the number of the tags of the state, there are a whole lot of them awaiting approval, such as betel nuts of Uttar Kannada, tur dal and the likes.
Karnataka GI tags serve more like a status that allows a geographical area a claim over their product. Additionally, it ensures the quality of the product and gives the producers an upper edge to sell them in the market at higher prices. After all, it’s all about exclusivity and the recognition of the product’s origin by the government agency, i.e. the Indian Patent Office.
Out of the 301 products registered with the Indian Patent Office right from April 2004, the list has been dominated by South Indian states. Be it Kerala, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh or any other state, Karnataka has been leading the way in achieving maximum success rates of approval of 11 over the past 12 years.
GI Tag For Five Products From Karnataka In Last One Year
Between April 2018 and March 2019, a total number of five products from the Karnataka are given GI tag. They are:
- Kolhapuri Chappal
- Coorg Arabica Coffee
- Chikmagalur Arabica Coffee
- Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee
- and Sirsi Supari
Kolhapuri chappals are having their roots in the Kolhapur, a Karnataka-Maharastra border town. Kolhapur and Belagavi are always treated like twin cities. They have a very close bond.
The history of the Kolhapuri chappals dates back to the 13th century. These chappals are prepared in the villages adjoining to the Kolhapur town. These chappals are handmade. It is prepared using buffalos skin. Originally they were known for their durability in the rough conditions.
Kolhapuri chappals are known for their artistic touch and ethnic designs. Now they are exported to various countries. These chappals are now made available on various online platforms also.
Uttara Kannada district of the Karnataka is known for the Areca Nut plantation. Sirsi town which is also called as the Sirasi in the Kannada language is known as the biggest Areca Nut market in the country. According to the Areca Nut growers, the Areca Nut grew in the area as a different taste and aroma. It has a huge demand across the country.
According to the locals, efforts to get GI tag for the Sirsi Supari started in the year 2013. The various unique features of the Sirsi Supari listed in the application include their round and flattened coin shape, taste, weight, etc.
For example, flavonoids content in the Areca Nut grown in other areas is 80 while it is 90 in the Sirsi Supari.
How Sirsi supari is prepared? There are two kinds of Sirsi supari are available. Popular one is the supari prepared using the tender Areca Nut by boiling them and colouring them. Second variety is called as Chali. It is prepared after peeling the ripened Areca Nuts.
Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee
According to history, coffee plantation in the entire country started from the first time in the Bababudangiri of the Chikkamagaluru district. A saint by name Baba Budan brought the coffee beans from Yemen to Indian in the year 1670 and sown for the first time.
Today the coffee has become an important plantation crop in the state of Karnataka and India. The application was filed by the Coffee Board.
In its application, the Board had pointed out that the cultivation of Arabica coffee started in this region in the 1940s. The features of the Bababudangiri coffee beans include they are bold beans, superior quality. According to an estimate, this coffee variety is grown over 30,000 acres of land in the region.
One of the must buy from the Kodagu and the Chikkamagaluru are the local Arabica coffee beans and the powder. Both these areas are known for their serene beauty and traditional coffee plantation. Arabica coffee beans variety grown in both these places are GI tagged now.
Udupi’s Mattu Gulla is a unique brinjal. It’s relatively large compared to other brinjals and round. In the local tulu dialect, ‘Gulla’ means round. The vegetable is green with stripes on the outside and pulpy with very few seeds.
It is believed that long ago, the saint Vaadiraja Thirta offered a white horse – a form of Lord Hayagreeva, a prasad called Hayagreeva Maddi every day. One day. his offering was poisoned by jealous devotees and when the horse ate it, it turned blue. Later that night, Vadiraja dreamt of Lord Hayagreeva explaining what had happened. He was also given a remedy for the poison. This was seeds of the Mattu Gulla. Till date, the first crop in Udupi is offered to Lord Krishna.
The vegetable is traditionally used in Udupi sambhar recipes and is an essential ingredient for the biennial Udupi Paryaya Utsava. It is also made into fritters and cooked as a stuffed vegetable side dish.