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Pakistani, Indian exporters agree to share Basmati rice ownership

May 7, 2012
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PHOTO: FILE
KARACHI/NEW DELHI:
Although long-time rivals India and Pakistan are already locked in a slew of land and sea disputes, exporters from both sides have agreed to share ownership of the region's prized Basmati rice, the best solution to the issue to reach the EU markets.
India has filed a claim in the EU seeking a geographical indication tag for Basmati rice, a move opposed by neighbouring Pakistan, which has filed its own request for protected geographical indication.
A geographical indication is a label applied to products with a specific geographical origin that has qualities or reputation essentially based on the natural and human factors of their origin.
Pakistani and Indian exporters, however, believe that joint ownership of Basmati is the only viable solution to the dispute.
"There has to be joint ownership, which is a logical solution to the dispute," Faizan Ali Ghouri, a Karachi-based rice exporter, told Anadolu Agency.
New Delhi and Islamabad have long been claiming to be the origins of Basmati rice, which is largely produced in both countries. The Punjab province, which was divided into East Punjab (India) and West Punjab (Pakistan) in 1947, is the origin of Basmati rice.
"There is no logic in both countries' claim for the sole exclusivity. Although its origin is Pakistani Punjab, it is grown in both sides of the border," Ghouri said, adding: "Therefore, a joint ownership is the only viable solution to the long-standing dispute."
The EU buyers, he contended, also prefer the joint ownership of the rice as they want to keep both New Delhi and Islamabad on board in terms of commodity exports.
"A joint ownership is in their (EU buyers) own interests for two reasons. First, demand for Basmati has been increasing over the past three years, and second, they want an alternative in case one country's production is reduced," he added.
Endorsing Ghouri’s views, Ashok Sethi, director of Punjab Rice Millers Export Association in India, said the two neighbours should jointly protect the Basmati heritage.
"India and Pakistan are the only two countries, which produce Basmati in the world. Both countries should jointly work together to save heritage and protect the geographical indication regime of the rice," he told Anadolu Agency.
"Hundreds of thousands of farmers (on both sides) are associated with the production of Basmati. We need to protect their businesses," he maintained.
Read: Ministry looks to register Basmati rice as local brand
No objection

In 2006, the EU under its special rules recognised Basmati as a joint product of the two countries.
Pakistan exports 500,000-700,000 tons of Basmati rice to different parts of the world, with 200,000 to 250,000 tons shipped to EU countries, according to data by the Pakistani Commerce Ministry.
Pakistan annually earns $2.2 billion compared to India's $6.8 billion from Basmati exports.
Vijay Setia, a New Delhi-based exporter, said India has a "healthy" competition with Pakistan vis-a-vis Basmati exports, and has no objection to Islamabad getting its own geographical indication tag.
"Both countries export Basmati rice. India, in its application to the EU, has never stated that it is the only Basmati producer in the world," he asserted while talking to Anadolu Agency.
"We have always said it is a joint heritage of property of India and Pakistan," he said. However, Pakistan feels it is lagging behind India, and it will capture the market if Delhi gets approval sooner, he went on to argue.
Muzzamil Chappal, another Karachi-based exporter, said that India did not produce Basmati until 1966.
Basmati seeds, he claimed, had been taken to Indian Punjab from Pakistan somewhere around 1965.
It was 2016-17 when India first time tried to obtain ownership of 1121-type Basmati in the EU, according to Muzzamil.
However, he added, the move was countered after Pakistan filed a similar claim. The second Indian move in 2020 was again foiled by Islamabad's counter-claim, he added.
Read more: Pakistan receives GI tag for Basmati
"The row is leading to joint ownership, in my opinion," he maintained.
Origin history
Nathi Ram Gupta, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association, opined that Pakistan should not have raised any objection to India's geographical indication claim.
"We would have had the geographical indication tag by now if Pakistan had not objected," he said.
According to Ghouri, the Pakistani exporter, the Basmati seed 370 was first registered during the British colonial rule in 1933, which acknowledged Kala Shah Kaku town of Pakistan's Punjab as its origin.
Waris Shah, a Punjabi Sufi (mystic) poet from Jhang district, also mentioned Basmati in his famous poem Heer-Ranjha based on the traditional folk tale of Heer and her lover Ranjha.
"Waris Shah was the first to use the word Basmati in written form," Ghouri asserted.
 
Feb 22, 2014
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Both countries will use the GI tag to export the product .. it is still a big success , considering we were under the shadow of Indian exporters before that
 
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If I make Cornish pasties just across the channel in France can I call then Cornish? If course not.
Well said. I made no comment because I wanted to see what others say. What happened here is akin to somebody walking into your house and then creating a ruckus, filing a complaint saying it is his house. Then after cops arrive and long heated argumant you and the 'home invader' agree that both will share the house. Police go away everybody happy?

Not really? The home owner lost 50% of his property. Or did he get to save his other 50%. This is what happened. Really sad.
 

UDAYCAMPUS

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Well said. I made no comment because I wanted to see what others say. What happened here is akin to somebody walking into your house and then creating a ruckus, filing a complaint saying it is his house. Then after cops arrive and long heated argumant you and the 'home invader' agree that both will share the house. Police go away everybody happy?

Not really? The home owner lost 50% of his property. Or did he get to save his other 50%. This is what happened. Really sad.
Was the house 100% his to begin with?
 

hydrabadi_arab

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Your best basmati was packed in Dubai and named product of India and exported to EU and North America
That have changed thats why Indians are crying. Pakistanis have developed their own Basmati brands. And we all know Indian basmati is basmati in name only.
 

Jugger

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I think india should fight for full control of basmati, 100% ownership without any sharing. No claims from Pakistan/Bangladesh/Nepal should be entertained.
In fact we should also try for pink salt too.
I am a crony capitalist…!!!
 

lightoftruth

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I think india should fight for full control of basmati, 100% ownership without any sharing. No claims from Pakistan/Bangladesh/Nepal should be entertained.
In fact we should also try for pink salt too.
I am a crony capitalist…!!!
Nothing to be ashamed in being a crony capitalist in this space.

Millions of farmers will be positively impacted if we catch the entire market.

we are already the largest rice exporter in the world.

We have around 50% of the global market.
 

Bilal9

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I think india should fight for full control of basmati, 100% ownership without any sharing. No claims from Pakistan/Bangladesh/Nepal should be entertained.
In fact we should also try for pink salt too.
I am a crony capitalist…!!!
Leave us Bangladeshis out of it - we don't grow Basmati in Bangladesh.

We like to make Pulau and Biryani with 'Kalijeera' or 'Chinigura' rice (small grain variety with nutty khushboo).

Of course Indians are copying that too. GI fight at WTO forthcoming soon.




Kalijira rice is grown in Bangladesh and (Kali means black, the un-hulled rice is black and looks like cumin seeds and hence the name).

Kalijira rice is very special premium long-grain white rice on a miniature scale, like a baby basmati. It is grown in Dinajpur, Bangladesh, and has tiny rice, cooks in only ten minutes producing a subtle perfume, savor and consistency. It can be enjoyed as daily simple rice or as a substitute to basmati, particularly in a pulau (pilaf). This is small-grained rice which is non-glutinous (non-sticky) rice which unsuitable for eating with chopstick, as is common in East Asia and China.

Bangladeshi KaliJeera and Chinigura rice varieties are only two of many types used to cook Biryani for Muslim weddings in the subcontinent.

In Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, Jeerakasala rice and Samba rice are varieties of rice grown which are famous for scented quality and usually used to prepare Biryani as well.
 
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Bagheera

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Well said. I made no comment because I wanted to see what others say. What happened here is akin to somebody walking into your house and then creating a ruckus, filing a complaint saying it is his house. Then after cops arrive and long heated argumant you and the 'home invader' agree that both will share the house. Police go away everybody happy?

Not really? The home owner lost 50% of his property. Or did he get to save his other 50%. This is what happened. Really sad.
But what's the behind-the-scenes story? Indians claim pink salt, basmati etc. But why do the concerned Pakistani authorities allow it?

- PRTP GWD
 

S.Y.A

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According to Ghouri, the Pakistani exporter, the Basmati seed 370 was first registered during the British colonial rule in 1933, which acknowledged Kala Shah Kaku town of Pakistan's Punjab as its origin.
Waris Shah, a Punjabi Sufi (mystic) poet from Jhang district, also mentioned Basmati in his famous poem Heer-Ranjha based on the traditional folk tale of Heer and her lover Ranjha.
"Waris Shah was the first to use the word Basmati in written form," Ghouri asserted.
Wtf are our foreign office, commerce and trade group and law departments doing? how tf can they make such a huge concession?
 

War Thunder

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But what's the behind-the-scenes story? Indians claim pink salt, basmati etc. But why do the concerned Pakistani authorities allow it?

- PRTP GWD

Indian salt exporters used to import Pink salt from Pakistan for cheap. Rebrand it as their own, label it Himalayan Salt and place its origin in India, and export it to the global market. (Pink salt is only extracted from Pakistan and is not found anywhere else in the world)

No longer allowed with the GI tag, any one who sells it has to label and place its origins in Pakistan.

Both Pakistan and India have been exporting basmati rice for decades. Although the origins of the Basmati rice do get placed in Pakistan, it doesn't change the fact that its a plant that can be sown and grown outside Pakistan as well.
Pakistani Basmati used to be imported by Indians through Dubai, and relabeled as Indian. The main reasons being Pakistani Basmati is much better in quality.
This was recently stopped and Pakistani brands started captuing the European market and the demand for Pakistani labels had grown while Indian exporters were facing a loss.
So Indian exporters tried to go for a GI tag, claiming Basmati to belong to India. Pakistan filed a counter claim and the issue was finally resolved by Both agreeing to share the tag.
 

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