BASMATI’ is special long grain aromatic rice cultivated in a particular geographical region of the Indian sub-continent for millennia with a recorded history of over 200 years. In view of its unique cooking and eating properties, Basmati is perceived as one of the premium kinds of rice in different parts of the world. Amongst the food and restaurant industry around the world, Basmati Rice occupies a unique space as premium rice.
Importance of Geographical Indication (GI)
One of the effective ways to leverage the unique identity of a product is to obtain Geographical Indication (GI) if the product is suitable for it. A geographical indication is an Intellectual Property Right (IPR) that identifies a product as originating in a certain region where a given quality, reputation, or another characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.
Unlike other IPRs, GIs are publicly owned by the legal organizations created by the producers of the concerned product. Producers of similar products in other geographical regions are excluded from using the GI tag. The protection accorded through GIs seeks to prevent illegitimate entities from free-riding on the reputation of the protected product.
Role of APEDA (Amendment) Act, 2009
APEDA was mandated; vide APEDA (Amendment) Act, 2009 dated March 6, 2009, for Registration and Protection of the Intellectual Property Right in respect of special products in India or outside India.
The second Schedule has been added to the APEDA Act containing the names of such products for which APEDA has been mandated to take these measures. As of now, the Second Schedule has only one entry i.e. “Basmati Rice”. Section 10 A in APEDA Act is referred. Basmati rice is now a registered GI product with effect from February 5, 2016.
APEDA as registered proprietor of the GI is responsible to put in place a system for administration of GI and authentication of the product reaching the consumers in India and abroad. In pursuance of Section 10 A of the APEDA Act and in the exercise of the powers conferred by Section 21 of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, APEDA has developed Basmati.Net as a web based traceability system.
What is Basmati.Net
Basmati.Net is aimed to provide a common platform to all stakeholders in the supply chain to enter details of activity/activities undertaken by them as part of the Basmati value chain. Through this mechanism/system, the authenticity of Basmati rice reaching to the consumer in India or abroad can be ensured.
Apart from the legal protection, GI conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, for which consumers and traders are generally willing to pay a premium price for the product. GI tag, therefore, helps commercial leverage to enhance the income of the producers/ farmers involved in the production of the unique product, ‘Basmati rice in this case.
Stakeholders of Basmati Supply Chain
Following stakeholders as part of Basmati rice supply chain are required to participate in Basmati.Net Farmers of Basmati Paddy in GI area Agriculture Produce Markets and Basmati Rice Exporters and Suppliers in Domestic Market APEDA has developed a logo and is in the process of its registration. Producers, Processors, and Merchants of authentic Basmati rice will be authorized users of the registered logo by APEDA. Such users will have to apply to APEDA for use of the registered logo and commit to adhering to prescribed rules. GI tag in this manner would help all stakeholders in the value chain to get better returns on the product.
I. Registration of Farmers
(i) Department of Agriculture in the respective state is required to register Basmati farmers through their district-level offices. User ID and password is being provided by APEDA for each district.
(ii) Facility is also available for farmers to directly login and enters their Aadhar number and other personal details as well as details of the farm (s) in which Basmati paddy has been transplanted. Farmers can download the mobile app from Google Play Store. With the help of OTP received on his mobile, the farmer will be able to log into the APEDA traceability system and select Basmati as a crop.
(iii) The applications filed by the farmers directly will appear in the online application’ section of the concerned district level officer. After verification, the application will be processed by the district agriculture officer.
(iv) Registration at Basmati.Net will help the farmers to build the supply chain of authentic Basmati. Subsequent stakeholders viz., commission agents, millers, and merchants will join this chain and finally will be able to assure the customer. This authenticity in the supply chain will help in better brand building for Indian Basmati rice both in the domestic and international markets. In due course, the farmer is expected to get better returns on their produce by eliminating the entry of unauthentic rice into the Basmati supply chain.
II. Agriculture Produce Markets and Commission Agents
(i) Secretary of respective Agriculture Produce Market (Mandi) is required to register all Commission Agents at that Mandi dealing with purchase and sale of Basmati paddy. User ID and password for logging into Basmati.Net will be provided by APEDA through respective state headquarters.
(ii) Facility for adding/modifying information about individual commission agents will be available to APMC Secretary.
(iii) Registration at Basmati.Net will help the commission agents to become partners in the supply chain of authentic Basmati. Subsequent stakeholders viz., millers and merchants will join this chain and finally will be able to assure the authenticity to the customer. This authenticity in the supply chain will help in better brand building for Indian Basmati rice both in the domestic and international markets. In due course, all stakeholders are expected to get better returns on their produce by eliminating the entry of unauthentic rice into the Basmati supply chain.
III Registration of Paddy Traders/ Millers/Processors/Exporters/ Suppliers in Domestic Markets
(i) All stakeholders viz., Paddy Traders/Millers/Processors/ Exporters/ Suppliers in Domestic Markets forming part of supply the chain between the commission agent and customer of Basmati rice through retail, need to register their organization and their activities on Basmati.Net so that the authenticity is intact.
(ii) Applicant for registration under this module of Basmati.Net while filling in details will indicate the activities undertaken by them out of ‘Paddy Traders/ Millers/Processors/Exporters/ Suppliers in Domestic Markets’