Bihar’s three exclusive agricultural products — Katrani rice, Jardalu mango and Magahi paan (betel vine) — have got the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag.
Confirming the development, Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) vice-chancellor Ajoy Kumar Singh said a formal certificate of registration would be issued soon, but the GI authorities uploaded the information on its website on March 28.
The BAU initiated the registration process for the exclusive tag in June 2016.
Singh, who had been actively involved in getting producers group formed for the GI registration, said the exclusive identity would help boost export potentials of the products.
The GI tag also helps propel demands of the products in domestic markets, thus benefitting the growers, he added.
Katarni rice is known for its unique taste and aroma. The short grained rice is grown natively in Bhagalpur and Banka districts of Bihar.
Due to its uniqueness, it is facing threat of extinction. It is said soil composition of the area contributes to its uniqueness.
Zardalu mangoes are grown in Bhagalpur district. A Zardalu mango usually weighs between 220gm and 250mg.
The mango variant, which is popular for its thin peel and aroma, has been on the state government’s annual gift list for some 40 VVIPs including President of India and the Prime Minister.
Magahi paan is an expensive variety of betel which is grown in Aurangabad, Gaya and Nalanda districts of central Bihar. It’s non-fibrous, sweeter, tastier and the softest of the lot.
Details of these produces were earlier included in the Geographical Indicator Journal (GIJ) dated November 28, 2017. The journal was made available in public domain as the GI had set a three-month time frame for people to challenge contents of the journal concerning the exclusive produces.
It is believed that Maharaja Rahmat Ali Khan Bahadur of Kharagpur was the first person to get Katarni planted in Bhagalpur region. The variety had originated as superior chance seedling. In GIJ, it is mentioned that Katarni rice is one of the famous fine grain quality scented rice of Bihar.
To establish its origin in Bhagalpur, the applicant, the Bhagalpur Jardalu Aam Utpadak Sangh of village Maheshi in Sultanganj block, had referred to a 200-year-old Jardalu tree in Tagepur village which, they claim, is the mother of all Jardalus in the region.
The Bhagalpur Katarni Dhaan Utpadak Sangh applied for GI registration of the rice variant while the Magahi Paan Utpadak Kalyan Samiti of village Deuri in Nalanda district was the applicant for the Magahi Paan.
As proof of their claim that its origin is in Bihar, the samiti referring to different books had mentioned that Magahi paan was popular even during ancient times.
It claimed that prince Vijai Mal was fond of Magahi paan and it is mentioned in the 1884 book of GA Grierson, an Irish administrator and linguist in British India. Several other references had been cited in the journal to establish Magahi paan being an exclusive produce of Magadh region.
The exclusive identity will help boost export potential of the products. The GI tag also helps propel demands of the products in domestic markets, thus benefitting the growers. The BAU initiated registration process for GI tag in June 2016