India and Pakistan -- the joint centres-of-origin claimants for the premium basmati rice on the global front -- are now up in arms following the recent notification by India on Super basmati, a variety originally developed by Pakistan.
"The Indian notification will take away 40 per cent of our market share in the traditional West Asian markets from the coming season, as the variety offers a lower price than Pakistan," says a release of the Pakistan Basmati Merchants Association. Pakistan is now keen on filing a bio-piracy case against India. It has been exporting 'Super basmati ' since 1985. But the variety has eaten into India's export market. Initially, India tried to dissuade importers of Super basmati, but couldn't succeed. Finally it decided to use the same variety against Pakistan, says a senior official in the Union ministry of agriculture in India.
Indian traders and growers fear that by promoting Super basmati, India may lose its own share of original basmati in the global market. Besides, according to trade watchers, the tussle between the two countries might affect their application to wto for extending geographical indications for basmati to both India and Pakistan. Meanwhile, the eu is planning to crack down on the basmati varieties not originally developed from basmati parents.
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