Kohima | March 29
The North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC) today sensitized the Naga tree tomato farmers on the benefit and advantage of Geographical Indication (GI) registration and legal rights through a one-day “Workshop for farmers on post geographical identification (GI) activities for Naga tree tomato and registration for authorized users” here at Hotel Japfii.
Several farmers turned up at the workshop, which was supported by North Eastern Council (NEC).
Naga tree tomato is now among one of the exotic agricultural products from Northeast India, accorded GI tag during April 2014-March 2015.
The Naga tree tomato is grown widely throughout the state of Nagaland. It is the best known of about 30 species of Cyphomandra.
NERAMAC stated that Naga tree tomato contains special organoleptic qualities which is remarkably different from other tree tomato and is usually 100 to 150g.
Speaking on the occasion, Nagaland’s principal secretary for horticulture MK Mero was optimistic that GI registration on Naga tree tomato would go a long way in benefiting the farmers towards large-scale production and better marketing avenues.
He stressed on the need to promote Naga tree tomato which is not really developing into commercial scale of production at present.
Stating that he have also seen tree tomato in other parts of the world like Vietnam and Thailand, he said, “But since we have obtained the GI certification first we can claim that it is produced in our area, having much better quality than theirs and this is more authentic than what they produce.”
He also informed that the department is pushing for more products/crops for GI registration like Mokokchung cucumber.
Violation of GI tag punishable offence under law
Highlighting the benefits of GI tag, Jerry Patton, deputy director of horticulture said that GI registration confers legal protection to GI in India, prevents unauthorized use of registered GI by others and provides legal protection to GI which in turn boost exports.
Patton also said violation of GI tags is punishable offence under law. He informed that the first GI in India was given to “Darjeeling Tea” in 2004.
The first GI tag in Nagaland was given to “Naga Mircha” during April 2008-March 2009 while “Naga tree tomato” was given GI tag in the April 2014 –March 2015
He said that Naga tree tomato is a traditional food item of Naga people since time immemorial and is widely grown in districts of Kohima, Wokha, Zunheboto, Kiphire, Tuensang, Mon, Phek & Zunheboto.
Farmers urged to use GI logo in all dealings
NERAMAC stated that GI tag this will pave way for better branding and marketing of these products both in domestic and international market besides protecting local crops.
GI tag is a certification that indicates the distinctiveness of the product’s origin in a particular geographical location and carries an assurance of quality of that particular product.
Event coordinator Archita Sarma highlighted that NERAMAC is a Government of India’s enterprise under DONER ministry and primarily focus on organic products in the northeastern states and does the job of certification of organic products and GI tag.
“We have been working to bridge the gap between farmers of northeastern states and market,” Sarma said adding that it has so far registered 10 products in the region.
She said that Naga tree tomato is the only tomato with GI registration as of now.
Sarma also urged the Naga tree tomato farmers to use GI logo in all their dealings and communication henceforth.
Bodevi Shuya, DAO Kohima, Mhalevilie Thorie, agriculture inspector and Puno Yhokha also spoke at the workshop. The programme was followed by submission of documents by farmers of Naga tree tomato for registration as authorized users to senior examiner, GI/TM, GI registry office, CGPDTM.