The popular Shahi litchi which grows extensively across many north Bihar districts may soon get itself the Geographical Indications (GI) tag. Available in public domain, the Geographical Indications Journal, number 107, advertised the details of this delicious fruit on June 5, 2018. The journal has been made public as per rule 41(1) of Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002. Other agricultural products of Bihar recognised in the Geographical Indication (GI) registry are Bhagalpur’s Jardalu mango, Katarni rice and Magahi paan (betel leaf) which are cultivated mainly in Nawada, Aurangabad and Gaya districts of the state.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the vice chancellor of Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) Sabour, Ajoy Kumar Singh, said that if everything went well, there was a good chance of Shahi litchi getting the GI tag within a span of three months. The Bihar Agriculture University (BAU), Sabour, is involved in facilitating early GI registration of the fruit. Singh also said that the details of the fruit were published in the Geographical Indications Journal and if no objections were raised then Shahi litchi could be cleared for GI registration. According to him, GI registration of the fruit would aid its exclusiveness and also protect the interest of its producers.
The GI registration of Shahi Litchi would also help in exploiting the demand of its structured market. BAU director (extension) RK Sohane said that the GI registration would help the growers authenticate the product while selling it in India as well as abroad. The GI tag is given to products that have a specific geographical origin and are in possession of qualities or reputation that are due to that origin.
The application for the GI registration of Shahi Litchi has been submitted by Muzaffarpur-based Litchi Growers Association of Bihar. Besides Muzaffarpur, Shahi Litchi is also grown extensively in Samastipur, East Champaran, Vaishali, and Begusarai districts of north Bihar. The details mentioned in the journal say that humid condition and alluvial soil that has a fairly good amount of calcium content in Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga proved ideal for litchi cultivation in Bihar. As proof of origin, the journal also states that litchi was an important fruit crop of Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga region in the year 1907.