Renowned Bihari snack 'Mithila Makhana' Granted GI tag

Renowned Bihari snack ‘Mithila Makhana’ Granted GI tag

Mithila Makhana, is a special type of aquatic plant fox nut or lotus seed cultivated in Mithila region of Bihar.

Makhana Cultivation is mostly confined to Bihar, with the state accounting for 90% of the total. The origin of this aquatic crop may be traced back to Madhubani, Bihar. Apart from identifying and protecting the product’s Geographical Indications (GI) rights, the petition to rename Bihar Makhana to Mithila Makhana was accepted by the Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) of the Central Ministry of Commerce, which also advised further modifications to the trademark logo to better represent its roots.
A consultation panel of experts chaired by Prashanth Kumar S Bhairappanavar, a senior examiner at Geographic Indication Registry (GIR), concluded that certain post-registration requirements must be met after a review of the application for a name change.

But what is GI?
Well, the Geographical Indicator (GI) is a term or mark applied to some items that refers to their geographical origin or location. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 protects items with a GI label.

Why is it important for Bihar?

It is crucial, since the Geographical Indication tag will offer a big boost in exports of Makhanas to other areas of the nation. The battle over Makhana’s GI tagging began when the Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) in Sabour submitted trademark application on behalf of the Mithilanchal Makhana Utpadak Sangh (MMUS), a Purnia-based Makhana farmers’ organisation, claiming that branding their product Bihar Makhana will help Makhana producers in the state.

However, this sparked protests in the state’s Mithila area.

According to Baidyanath Choudhary, general secretary of the Vidyapati Sewa Sansthan (VSS), The Mithila region is known for a particular type of aquatic crop called Makhana, which is associated with its culture.
Following the objections, BAU revised the application on September 11, 2020, seeking that the controversial GI article’s name be changed from Bihar Makhana to Mithila Makhana, citing the crop’s social, cultural, and historical context.
It is a very proud time for Bihar because the Mithila Makhana will spread the word about Bihar around the world.

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