Cultivators of Nilambur teak can breathe a sigh of relief, thanks to the recent declaration of a Geographical Indication (GI) tag on the particular teak variety.
According to a report by the Times of India, this is the first time that forest produce has been bestowed with this tag, and brings with it several benefits for those who grow this coveted wood.Source: Wikimedia Commons
Nilambur teak is widely sought after for its properties. It is known for its durability, earthy colour, and size. The wood is also resistant to fungal decay and is rich in antioxidants making it ideal for construction purposes.
The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Cell of the Kerala Agricultural University along with Nilambur Teak Heritage Society are responsible for the recent bestowing of the GI tag. Efforts to obtain it started as early as 2013, according to a report by The Hindu. It wasn’t until 2015, however, that the application was submitted to the GI registry, in Chennai.
So, what does a Geographical Indication tag entail for Nilambur teak? The GI tag states that this type of wood originates and is a product of, the Nilambur taluk of Kerala. Those who sell other types of wood under the guise of Nilambur teak will be blocked from the market, thereby protecting native cultivators, who had previously lost out because of competitive pricing.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
In conversation with the Times of India, TK Abdullahkutty, president of the Nilambur Teak Heritage Society stated, “We are delighted to hear this news, GI tag will help us to conserve Nilambur teak. There are about 10,000 people including workers and traders who are dependent on teak for their livelihood.”