After Rosogolla Bengal plans GI tag for Kalonunia and Randhunipagal rice

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Agriculture in India
Agriculture in India
Azadi Ka Amrit Mahoutsav
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Bengal plans GI tag for Kalonunia and Randhunipagal rice

Bengal plans GI tag for Kalonunia and Randhunipagal rice

The State Government is planning to apply for a geographical (GI) tag, which is a marker for the geographical uniqueness of a product, for the Kalonunia and Randhunipagal varieties of rice, two of the indigenous varieties of aromatic fine rice from Bengal, according to the State Agriculture Minister. While Kalonunia is grown in the northern region of the state, Randhunipagal is grown in the western region.

Kalonunia is cultivated in the districts of Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Darjeeling (plains regions of the district). Randhunipagal is cultivated in the districts of Birbhum, Pruba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Bankura and Hooghly.

Gobindobhog and Tulapanji have already received the GI status, and the term ‘Bengal Aromatic Rice’ has been included in official documentation registered with the patent office. Kalonunia and Randhunipagal would fall under the same label.

Gobindobhog and Tulapanji are primarily grown in the Damodar River basin and in the districts of north Bengal, respectively.

Getting a GI tag helps a product to be marketed as exclusively from the geographical region it hails from, be it a food product, a beverage, a fruit, a handicraft, a handloom product or any other regionally exclusive entity. The Bengal Government has been actively patenting various products in order to market them internationally too.

The demand would naturally also help in saving these indigenous varieties of rice, which are nutritionally rich, but many of which are facing extinction as a result of the cultivation of only the commercially viable varieties. In fact, the State Government is carrying on research work with 41 such varieties.

Kalonunia, a medium-sized blackish grain, is produced at the rate of 2.2 to 2.4 tonnes per hectare of cultivated paddy, while the small-sized Randhunipagal is produced at the rate of 2.3 to 2.5 tonnes per hectare of cultivated paddy. These are eaten as plain rice or as an alternative to Basmati (in the case of Kalonunia) and as the principal component of payesh, pithe and khichuri bhog for pujas.

According to officials of the State Science and Technology Department, preparation of the documentation to be presented by the state to the patenting authority is almost complete.

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