The move will give a boost to the export of the variety; help growers get a premium price for the fruit
Citrus Reticulata Blanco, the world famous orange of Nagpur, was recently given the Geographical Indicators (GI) tag under the Geographical Indication of Goods, (Registration and Protection) Act 1999. This means the growers of the Nagpur orange, or Nagpur mandarin (as it is known to scientists), will now be able to brand their products under the tag.
Scientists say that this will give the Nagpur orange an edge over other varieties of oranges in the markets of the world. “There are several varieties of mandarins available in the Indian market today,” says P K Nagre, head of horticulture department, Punjabrao Deshmukh Krushi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), Akola, Maharashtra. “Chief varieties of orange include kinnow, grown in Himachal Pradesh, Khasi mandarin in the northeast and the Coorg mandarin in the south. In markets outside the Vidarbha region where the Nagpur mandarin is well known, other varieties often get passed off as Nagpur oranges.”
This, he says, has been a loss to the growers of the original Nagpur orange. With the GI tag, the Nagpur orange has also been allotted a logo which can be used only for this product. “This will protect the rights of the growers as they will now be able to get a premium price for the unique variety.”
Uniqueness of Nagpur Orange
Nagpur orange, says V J Shivankar, former head of the National Research Centre for Citrus, Nagpur, is characterised by unique sweet-sour flavour and has an aroma that is matchless. “This flavour is result of a unique acid-sugar blend that is not found in any other orange across the world,” he says. “The GI tag has been accorded on the basis of these unique qualities that can be attained only under specific soil and agro-climatic conditions of the Vidarbha region.”
According to him, five characteristics have been used to approve the Nagpur mandarin. These include size, colour, number of seeds and the chemical properties of the juice that give it its flavor and aroma. “Any fruit that does not conform to these parameters cannot be sold under the brand name of Nagpur Orange.”
Registration by growers becomes mandatory
Nagre informs that in order to benefit from the tag, Nagpur orange growers will have to register themselves under the GI Act as certified growers of the fruit. The cost of registration, including paper-work, comes to about Rs 1,500 per farmer and will be valid for 10 years. At the end of this period, it can be extended at a nominal cost. “PDKV is in the process of preparing a proposal, which will be submitted to the state government. If accepted, the government will bear 50 per cent of the registration cost,” he says. The expert further informs that the organisation is also making an effort to make more and more farmers know about the development related to GI tag. Various growers’ associations have been roped in for the same.
Manoj Jaunjal, an orange grower from Katol in Nagpur district and secretary of the Maharashtra Orange Growers Association, says the process for registering first 1,000 growers under GI has been started with aid from the government and MahaOrange, a government-supported apex body of orange growers. “The cost of the registration will be shared by government and MahaOrange,” he adds. “The move will bring much needed impetus for the export of this variety, as demanded by the growers for long now.”
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