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GI Tags Safeguard Indian Tradition



  Jun 13, 2024

Preserving Indian Traditions with GI Tags Amid Climate Change



What is a Geographical Indication (GI) tag?

A GI tag is a form of intellectual property protection for products that have a specific geographical origin and possess unique characteristics inherent to that location. It helps in preventing misuse of traditional knowledge and provides economic benefits to local communities.

Examples of GI-tagged products in India:

• Darjeeling Tea: Known for its unique flavor, grown in Darjeeling, West Bengal.

• Kanchipuram Silk: Renowned for its traditional silk sarees, produced in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu.

• Odisha Pattachitra: Traditional cloth-based scroll painting, originated in Odisha.

• Coorg Arabica Coffee: Grown in the Kodagu district of Karnataka.

GI-tagged products threatened by climate change:

• Assam’s Muga Silk: Made from muga silkworms found exclusively in Assam. Threatened by fungal diseases in host plants, rising temperatures, uneven rainfall, and contamination from chemical fertilizers.

• Kanniyakumari Matti Banana: Cultivated in Kanniyakumari, Tamil Nadu. Faces challenges from changing climate conditions affecting its growth.

• Kashmir’s Saffron: Grown in Kashmir, known for its high quality. Vulnerable to climate change, impacting its cultivation.

Why are these products threatened?

• Environmental Degradation: Climate change affects the quality and sustainability of GI-tagged products.

• Loss of Biodiversity: Changes in climate impact the flora and fauna essential for these products.

• Unsustainable Practices: Lack of sustainable practices can further jeopardize these products.

Examples of GI-tagged products still being produced:

• Darjeeling Tea: Continues to be produced with efforts to adapt to changing climate conditions.

• Kanchipuram Silk: Production is ongoing with traditional methods preserved by artisans.

• Odisha Pattachitra: Artisans continue to create these traditional paintings, preserving the cultural heritage.

• Coorg Arabica Coffee: Farmers in Kodagu district continue to grow this coffee, adapting to new agricultural practices.

What steps are recommended to protect GI-tagged products?

Experts suggest:

• Integrating GI protection with environmental and tribal rights legislations.
• Promoting sustainable agricultural and production practices.
• Enhancing habitat conservation efforts.

Conclusion

GI tags play a crucial role in protecting traditional knowledge and providing economic benefits to local communities. However, to ensure their long-term success, it is essential to address the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss through sustainable practices and legal protections.



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