Nov 27, 2009

Nagalim: GI Registration to Protect Indigenous Products

Active ImageSteps are being taken to register at least two products including a bamboo shoot, Indigo dye and a Naga Shall unique to the Nagalim.



Below is an article published by The Morung Express:

Three indigenous products unique to Nagaland have been identified. Following a consultation between experts and participants at a workshop held today, the products – the bamboo shoot from Mon district, Indigo dye and the Naga shawl – will be scrutinised by the UNCTAD, IMC, ICC and CITA. Following this, “further steps would be taken” to register at least two products from Nagaland”.

The workshop on ‘Efficacy and Importance of GI registration: Focus Nagaland’, held here at the conference hall of the Directorate of Industries & Commerce, Kohima, was organised by the department of Industries & Commerce, government of Nagaland, in association with ICC, UNCTAD, IMC and CITA.
Speaking at the workshop as chief guest, Dr. K C Nihoshe, Parliamentary Secretary for industries & commerce, highlighted the importance of GI registration for protecting the unique traditional products of the of the state. “Most of the artisans and producers producing products suitable for GI registration in Nagaland are in rural areas, having limited education, and belong to the poorer strata of the society. Left to themselves they will never be able to take advantage of GI Registration Act 1999; as a result they will lose out commercially, leveraging on the uniqueness of their products,” said Dr. Nihoshe.

Also speaking at the workshop were Abhijit Das, Deputy Project Director for UNCTAD, Prof. V K Unni of IIM Kolkata, J C Srivastava of IMC, and Pradip Patil, CEO at CITA, informed a press release from the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has also underscored the need to obtain Geographical Indication (GI) registration for Naga indigenous products in order to protect its uniqueness. Speaking to mediapersons a day prior to the workshop, Regional Director of North East Chapter of Indian Chamber of Commerce, Mahesh Deori, said that people have now started making cheap replicas of traditional Naga products which is causing the indigenous people to lose out on their rightful benefits.
Of the workshop, Deori said it would aim to identify various products that have definite geographical uniqueness and to enable stakeholders understand the concept of GI registration. He admitted that the awareness campaign of the GI registration has reached the North East region, especially Nagaland, quite late and said that a lot needs to be done in this regard.

The Regional Director said that ICC had decided to conduct the awareness workshop after Parliamentary Secretary Dr. K C Nihoshe mooted the idea at a meet in Shillong recently. He pointed out that GI registration will protect the unique identity of Naga products and secure benefits for the producers by preventing illegitimate entities from free-riding on the reputation of the unique Naga brand name. To this, he underlined the need to spread awareness on GI registration in the state.
Regional Advisor of Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC), J C Srivastava said that in order to get a GI registration, the products should have the uniqueness of the region, and historically the product should be in existence for more than fifty years and should also have documentary proof of evidence.
OSD to government of Nagaland, department of Industries, M K Mero said NGOs dealing with handloom and handicrafts products should take initiatives to ensure indigenous products get GI registration as the state government can only play the role of a facilitator in such matters. He said Nagaland has a huge potential of unique agri and flora products citing that there were around 73 varieties of rice, including the sticky rice variety, unique only to Nagaland.

While pointing out that a lot of traditional handloom designs were being replicated outside the state and marketed on mass base, Mero also stressed urgent need to protect the original indigenous handloom designs and weaving methods of the state.