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Makhana awarded Geographical Indication tag! Know how it will benefit cultivators

Makhana, the aquatic fox nut cultivated in the Mithila region of Bihar and adjoining areas of Nepal, has been awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) Tag by the Government of India. Makhana is the firth agricultural product from Bihar to be awarded the GI Tag.

Other products from Bihar that have been awarded GI tag include, Bhagalpur’s Jardalu Mango, Katarni Dhaan (rice), Nawada’s Magahi Paan and Muzaffarpur’s Shahi Litchi.

Bihar harvests 80 per cent of India’s total Makhana or Fox Nut supply. Bihar’s Mithila region is famous for Fox Nut cultivation and hence it has been awarded with the GI Tag.

Know about Makhana

Mithila Makhana is locally known as Makhan in Mithila. Its Botanical name is Euryale Ferox Salisb. This special variety of Aquatic Fox Nut is cultivated in the Mithila region of Bihar and adjoining areas of Nepal. Fox Nuts are rich in protein and fiber and have various micro-nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and iron. Maithili Brahmin community extensively uses and distributes Makhana during the Kojagara Puja festival.

According to World International Property Organization or WIPO, a GI or Geographical Indication Tag is used for products which have specific geographical origin or have qualities that can be attributed specifically to the region. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Once a product gets this tag, any person or company cannot sell a similar item under that name. This tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.

Informing about the GI Tag to Mithila Makhana, Union Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, “Mithila Makhana gets GI Tag, farmers to profit and it will be easier for them to earn more. Due to Geographical Indication Tag to Mithila Makhana in the festive season, people outside Bihar will be able to use this auspicious material with reverence.” According to govt sources, with this move Fox Nuts farmers will get the maximum price for their premium produce. Over 5 lakh farmers of Mithila region of Bihar will be benefitted from this decision.

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