The government on Friday said it has awarded Geographical Indication (GI) tag to five varieties of Indian coffee including Coorg Arabica.
The move is expected to help the growers get maximum price for their premium produce.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has recently awarded this tag to — Coorg Arabica coffee from Karnataka, Wayanad Robusta coffee from Kerala, Chikmaglur Arabica from Karnataka, Araku Valley Arabica from Andhra Pradesh, and Bababudangiris Arabica coffee from Karnataka.
The Araku coffee is produced by the tribals, who follow an organic approach in which they emphasise management practices involving substantial use of organic manures, green manuring and organic pest management practices, the ministry said in a statement.
Similarly, it said, Bababudangiris Arabica coffee is selectively hand-picked and processed by natural fermentation.
In India, coffee is cultivated in about 4.54 lakh hectare by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers of which 98 per cent are small farmers.
Coffee cultivation is mainly done in the southern states of India including Karnataka, which accounts for 54 per cent of the total production. It is followed by Kerala (19 per cent), Tamil Nadu (eight per cent).
It is also grown in non-traditional areas such as Andhra Pradesh and Odisha (17.2 per cent) and North East states (1.8 per cent).
India is the only country in the world where the entire coffee cultivation is grown under shade, hand-picked and sun dried, it said adding the country produces some of the best coffee in the world, grown by tribal farmers in the Western and Eastern Ghats, which are the two major bio-diversity hotspots in the world. Indian coffee is highly valued in the world market and sold as premium coffee in Europe.
“The recognition and protection that comes with GI certification will allow the coffee producers of India to invest in maintaining the specific qualities of the coffee grown in that particular region. It will also enhance the visibility of Indian coffee in the world and allow growers to get maximum price for their premium coffee,” it added.
A Geographical Indication (GI) is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
Darjeeling Tea, Tirupathi Laddu, Kangra Paintings, Nagpur Orange and Kashmir Pashmina are among the registered GIs in India.
Experts said that award of GI tag gives protection to the producer of those genuine products, which commands premium pricing in the markets both domestic and international.
“Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product,” National Intellectual Property Organisation (NIPO) President T.C. James said.
Such products also get premium pricing in the markets, he added.
In another development, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Thursday launched a blockchain-based online marketplace for coffee. The initiative will help integrate farmers with markets in a transparent manner, and lead to realisation of fair prices for coffee producers.The Coffee Board of India will collaborate with Bengaluru-based digital commodity management platform Eka Software Solutions (Eka Plus) for development of blockchain-based marketplace application.