The season’s first delivery of well-known GI-certified ‘Shahi Litchi’ was sent from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district to the United Kingdom on 24th May. The export was carried out by Cira Enterprises who sourced the fruit from Muzaffarpur farmers to the H & J Veg in London.
On 25th May, 500 kgs of royal litchi from Muzaffarpur was sent to London with a combined effort of Bihar’s Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). On 26th may, 750kg of royal litchi was sent to Dubai, and on the same day, 2 tonnes of litchi were sent from Darbhanga Airport to other cities including Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata.
In a first, Shahi Litchi got the Phyto-sanitary certificate for exports from a newly established certification facility at Patna. The phytosanitary certification officially declares the plants and plant material exporting are free from pests and diseases. This is done to prevent the introduction and spread of any pests in the importing countries.
Earlier, Bihar used to get this certificate from Kolkata and Mumbai. With the introduction of this facility in Bihar, any product exported from the state will be known by the name of Bihar unlike before, when it used to be named after the states issuing the certificate. Due to this, foreign orders were also available to Kolkata and Mumbai only. This move increases further export potential from the state thereby facilitating the economy. After receiving the Phytosanitary Certificate’ Litchi will be globally known as Bihar’s Litchi.
Facts on ‘Shahi litchi’Muzaffarpur is also known as the litchi capital of India, with 60% of the cultivation solely done in Muzaffarpur. Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran, Begusarai and Saran districts of Bihar also cultivate Shahi-Litchi. In fact, India is the second-largest producer of litchi in the world after China. Sales of Shahi-litchi rakes in an estimated Rs 1000 crores annually from all over Bihar with nearly 50% of revenue coming from Muzaffarpur alone.
Shahi Litchi was given the GI tag in 2018 along with three other agriculture products which included ‘Jardalu’ mango, Katarni variety of rice, and the Maghai-paan (betel leaves).
What is a GI Tag?
Geographical Indication tag is given to an agricultural, natural, or manufactured product including handicraft and industrial goods that are originating from a definite geographical territory. This tag provides an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially linked to the place of its origin. It also helps the producer to get premium prices for their product. The GI tag ensures that none other than those residing inside the geographic territory use the popular product name.