BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): Hopes have brightened up for over one lakh farmers of Madhya Pradesh engaged in growing Basmati after the Supreme Court directed Madras High Court to review its decision related to GI tag for Basmati grown in MP, as per officials.
MP has been fighting to get GI (Geographical Indication) tag for Basmati rice for long. The state government and Basmati Growers’ Association had lost two separate cases in the court filed in 2016, challenging the exclusion of the districts from a map submitted by the APEDA for the tags.
Estimated 80,000-100,000 farmers cultivate the crop in over 200,000 hectares of land spread in 13 districts, as per the state government’s assessment.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had met union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar in July 2020 and had urged him to help MP in getting GI tag for basmati rice produced in MP.
Punjab’s CM Amarinder Singh too had opposed the MP's move to attain the GI tag. CM Chouhan had then presented details of the basmati produced in MP. “MP has a written recorded history since 1908 of basmati production in 13 districts. Records of supplying seeds to farmers in MP in 1944 are found in the records of Scindia state,” Chouhan had then said.
Replying to Punjab CM, Chouhan had then said that basmati exporters from Punjab and Haryana are procuring basmati rice from MP. This is also supported by Government of India data of export from Mandideep (MP).
Madhya Pradesh’s argument for GI tag
-Basmati rice in the state is largely grown in and around the 13 districts of Morena, Bhind, Sheopur, Gwalior, Datia, Shivpuri, Guna, Vidisha, Raisen, Sehore, Hoshangabad, Narsinghpur and Jabalpur.
-An estimated 80,000-100,000 farmers cultivate the crop in these areas in over 200,000 hectares of land, as per the state government’s assessment.
-Madhya Pradesh contends that it has historical records since 1908 of basmati production in the 13 districts and has records of supplying seeds to farmers in MP in the year 1944 by the erstwhile Scindia State.
-It also argues that the Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad, had recorded production of basmati rice in MP in its Production Oriented Survey Report for the past 25 years.