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Garo dakmanda, chubitchi, Lakadong turmeric, and Larnai pottery get coveted GI certification

Shillong, April 01: At least four products from Meghalaya on Saturday were granted Geographical Indication (GI) tags by the registrar of Geographical Indications, Chennai. This is the first time that over 60 products from across India were granted GI tags, including products from Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills.

The Garo dakmanda is a wrap around worn by women. The chubitchi is a rich-based local brew, which is relished by the Garos. The recognition and GI tag testify that the products are unique and exclusive to Garo Hills.

The Garo dakmanda

The dakmanda is a handwoven fabric with a unique design that showcases the rich knowledge and artistry of the Garo tribe. The chubitchi is a traditional drink, which is used during festivals and special occasions. It is also used as an offering to deities by the Songsarek, the indigenous faith of the Garos.

The famous Lakadong turmeric grown in Jaintia Hills has a high curcumin value. The State government has been promoting the cultivation of Lakadong turmeric through a mission-mode program. In 2021, a farmer from Jaintia Hills, Trinity Saioo, was awarded the Padma Shri for encouraging the cultivation of Lakadong turmeric.

Lakadong turmeric is considered to be one of the world’s best varieties of turmeric, with a curcumin content of around 6.8 to 7.5 percent. It is darker in colour and is grown organically without the use of fertilizers.

Around 14,000 farmers from 43 villages of Lakadong area are currently engaged in cultivating the turmeric variety on 1,753 hectares of land. The GI tag will provide the farmers with a unique selling point, and they will fetch a good market price.

The Registrar of Geographical Indications, Chennai, declared and awarded the coveted GI tag No. 741 for Lakadong Turmeric vide Journal No. 185 Part 1 of the Government of India. This is a seminal moment for the state and especially for the farmers of Lakadong, as both the State and Lakadong village have finally been rightfully recognized as sources of the best turmeric in the world.

Larnai pottery from Jaintia Hills, which is also known as black pottery, also bagged the GI tag. It is locally known as Khiew-Ranei. It is a mixture of black clay and serpentine stone. These are made with local techniques passed down from generation to generation. This form of pottery is unique not only because of what is used to make it but also the way in which it is made.

Larnai Black pottery

The GI tag coveted on the Larnai pottery underscores the distinctive nature of this age-old craft. The State government has applied for a GI tag for Larnai pottery since 2013. The recognition not only safeguards the traditional craftsmanship but also opens avenues for economic opportunities and ensures the preservation of cultural legacies.

The granting of GI tags underscores the importance of preserving traditional knowledge, fostering sustainable livelihoods, and promoting economic growth in the region. The process for GI tag was supported by the Meghalaya Farmers’ Empowerment Commission, NABARD, and the State Government. Padma Shri Dr. Rajani Kant, a GI expert, has facilitated the State in documenting necessary papers for submission to the registrar of GI.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma lauded the stakeholders for the feat.

Taking to X, he said, “Our Garo textile wrap-around Dakmanda, black pottery from Jaintia Hills Larnai pottery, high curcumin content Lakadong turmeric, and rice-based local brew Chubitchi have received coveted GI certification. This certification is a testament to the uniqueness of our local products and the richness of our cultural heritage. Thanks to our State departments and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for their contribution and support in securing this recognition. Let us all celebrate this recognition and cherish and promote our local products.”

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