The business community of Pakistan has demanded that similar to Basmati rice, the country needs to apply for Geographical Indication (GI) tag for other Pakistani products to protect and promote locally produced items that have popularity in the international market.
On 27 March 2020, Parliament passed the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act 2020 in order to establish a system for the recognition, registration, and protection of GI rights in Pakistan. Geographical Indications are marks or symbols which indicate that the concerned goods belong to specific areas or country.
The goods are produced using traditional knowledge or processes stemming from a specific area or country. The goods have a specialty in characteristics, qualities, and reputations to that particular area or country.
Many countries have adopted Geographical Indications laws to protect their indigenous products including handicrafts, agricultures, natural horticulture, and industrial products of regions of these countries.
Pakistan applied for GI tag to the Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) after a conflict took place when the European Union displayed India’s request for GI tag for basmati rice on its website.
Pakistan too is famous for its basmati rice. If one country receives the GI tag then other countries are either stopped from selling the same brand in the international market or the product is sold at a cheaper rate. Pakistan has now received the Basmati GI tag and it is expected that both, India and Pakistan will get a fair share of their rice in the international market.
There are a lot of other products in the country which could have a fair share in the international market if the government of Pakistan gives attention to their registration international market.
Some of the products include the Hunza apricots, Peshawari Chappal, Multani Sohan Halwa, Sindhi Ajrak, Sargodha Kinnow, Kasur Methi, and Sindh mangoes. Names of these products have been forwarded by the SME Farmers Association (SMEFA) of Pakistan.
The Chairman, SMEFA, Muhammad Saeed told the media that GI tag for a host of Pakistani products other than Basmati rice would not only help exporters earn more but would also enhance earning of farmers, growers, and producers who work hard in farms and industries.