Farmers do not benefit from Chak-hao plantation due to lack of awareness on GI tag: ACOAM-Lup
No developmental steps had been taken though the state government had formed a committee called ‘Chakhao Monitoring Committee’ on May 12, 2020, ACOAM-Lup) secretary general Shanta Mangang said.
Farmers in Manipur have failed to take the benefits from ‘Chak-hao’ (Manipuri Black Rice) plantation due to the lack of awareness on geographical identification (GI) tag, though GI tag was already given on Chak-hao in 2020 under Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Regions (MOVCDNER), All Club Organisation Association and Meira Paibi Lup (ACOAM-Lup) secretary general Shanta Mangang said.
He was speaking during a press conference held at its head office located at Laishram Leirak, DC Road, Lamphelpat, Imphal on Tuesday.
MOVCDNER has given recognition to Chak-hao in 2016-17 and has been funding for its plantation for the last three years. Under the funding of MOVCDNER, the area of Chak-hao plantation has been increased by 1,000 hectares, however due to unavailability of a particular market, farmers are not able continue the plantation without fear, Shanta said.
He said that the GI tag on Chak-hao has already been given in 2020 but instead of getting the benefits, most of the farmers and entrepreneurs are not aware of how to get benefit from the tag. No developmental steps had been taken though the state government had formed a committee called ‘Chakhao Monitoring Committee’ on May 12, 2020 under the chairmanship of state Agriculture director.
The committee had resolved on May 12 last year that funded entrepreneurs and private entrepreneurs should put GI tag on Chak-hao products and produce. However, the government is yet to manufacture an application to use the GI tag on Chak-hao products and produce, he added.
The Consortium of Producers of Chakhao has been failing to give awareness on GI tag and due to this reason, farmers are not aware of the value of GI tag, said Shanta.
He continued that Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA), which is one of the agencies of MOVCDNER, has a strategy of marketing and promotion of local organic products. Some of the organisations and societies funded under MOMA have the information of GI tag but due to lack of support and knowledge on the usage of GI tag, they are also failing to compete in the national market. Moreover, the marketing and promotion on Chak-hao is targeted only at the local level. While on the other hand, farmers of Chandauli, Uttar Pradesh have started taking benefits on black rice by using GI tags.
The indigenous black rice was carried from Manipur to Chandauli in 2017 and started planting in the area of 1,500 hectare which is now upgraded to 6,500 hectare. The black rice is sold in markets at the rate of Rs 150-200 per kg, he added.
ACOAM-Lup urged the Chak-hao farmers to take a mass step to save the identity of Chak-hao if the government fails to take the initiative on time. Chakhao Monitoring Committee and Consortium of Producers of Chakhao should provide information and awareness on the benefit of using GI tags in Chak-hao products and produce. The association will immediately start ceasing Chak-hao rice and its products that do not have GI tag if the authority concerned fails to provide the said information to the farmers, said the ACOAM-Lup secretary general.
In connection with the issue, a PIL will be filed questioning the reason for no development in Chak-hao plantation so far though the funding on the plantation has completed four years, said Shanta.