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Govt urged to resolve basmati issue


May 25, 2019

KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has expressed concern over lethargy in the advocacy of the geographical indications (GI) and the trademark (TM) ownership of basmati and has urged the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) to impress upon the government to resolve the matter on top priority, a statement said on Friday.

UNISAME President Zulfikar Thaver urged SMEDA to take up the matter, as many genuine SME basmati farmers, millers, processors and exporters are awaiting protection of their rights to label their produce of basmati grains, as basmati as rice is grown from genuine certified basmati seeds having all features and characteristics.

In view of the Delhi High Court's decision, setting aside the restrictions imposed and restraining only basmati grown on the Indo-Gangetic plain as basmati.

The honourable HC has wisely concluded that the rice grown with genuine basmati seeds, besides the Indo-Gangetic plain is also basmati provided it is cultivated with bona fide basmati seeds and complies with the germination, features and characteristics of basmati specifications.

Thaver appreciated the step taken by the Ministry of Industries and Production for requesting the Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) and the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) to consider the proposals of UNISAME for basmati GI and TM ownership and to expedite matters for clarifications of the intellectual property rights and framing of the long pending acts drafted by IPO with consensus of stakeholders.

Thaver applauded the judgement in the best interest of justice and also highlighted that Pakistan grows the world’s best super basmati, which has inherent features and characteristics of basmati and even the Indian basmati does not match Pakistan's super basmati in terms of aroma, taste, look and length.

It is, therefore, very important that this fact is determined to avoid other varieties, which exported and sold as basmati by Indian shippers are exposed and declared as encroachers.

The Indian shippers are also mixing basmati in other varieties to benefit from aroma of basmati and deceiving the consumers, he said.

The SME farmers have appreciated the judgement of the Delhi court, which has negated the design of the Indian government to create hurdles in GI and TM issues and, on the other side, allowed its exporters to quietly ship non-aromatic rice as basmati.

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