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Black rice of Manipur gets GI recognition

By Correspondent

IMPHAL, May 3 - Chakhao, the black rice of Manipur, has bagged the Geogrphical Indication (GI) tag.

The Geographical Indications Registry has confirmed it on their official website �

The registration process took more than a year, which included documentation by a team of the State Agriculture Department, official sources said.

GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

Project Coordinator of Manipur Small Farmers� Agri Business Consortium MS Khaidem said that after the registration, they can now start selling Chakhao seeds as well as grains anywhere in the world.

�We will get loyalty if anyone wants to trade in it,� he said.

Some farming communities here had expressed their concern over reports of cultivation and harvesting of the rice variety in other parts of the country.

Chakhao, a scented glutinous rice variety, is being cultivated in Manipur for many centuries. It is grown in the plains and hills of Manipur where the soil quality is rich.

It is also used by traditional medical practitioners as part of traditional medicine.

Chakhao is said to be anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, beneficial for heart and to prevent onset of Alzheimer�s disease.

The GI application says an important aspect of black rice cultivation is that farmers neither apply agro-chemicals nor use any motorised implements. Only human labour is used for farming.

Chakhao is characterised by its special aroma. People usually have it during community feasts and is used to prepare �kheer�. It is sold at a price of Rs 100-120 per kg in local market.

Khaidem further informed that they are also trying for GI tag for a local pea variety called Hawaitharak-makhayat-mubi.

Earlier, Kachai lemon of Manipur had got the GI tag. This particular lemon contains 45-51 mg ascorbic acid per 100 ml, which is the highest among citrus fruits. It grows at Kachai village in Manipur�s Ukhrul district.

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