Ramakanta Biswas

If everything goes well, the Kai (Red Weaver Ant) Chutney of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj may attain the much-awaited Geographical Indications (GI) tag soon.  

The Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT) in December 2020 had submitted an application with the GI Registry seeking the tag for the Kai Chutney under the food stuff category. 

In response to the application, the GI Registry has constituted a Consultative Group of Expert as per Rule 33 of Geographical Indications (Registration & Protection) Rules, 2002 to ascertain the correctness of the particulars furnished in the application.

The crucial meeting of the Consultative Group is scheduled on December 6, 2022 in Bhubaneswar

"The Consultative Group will ascertain the correctness of particulars furnished in the GI Application and Statement of Case referred to in Rule 32(1) of Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules 2002 and make necessary recommendations," the GI registry said in a letter to the Chairman of Technology Management Cell, OUAT.

"It is requested that the PowerPoint presentation covering (i) Details about the Applicant and how the Applicant represents the interest of the producers of the GI goods (ii) Proof of Origin (Historical records), (iii) Method of Production, (iv) Area (Map & other relevant particulars) (v) Uniqueness, (vi) Inspection Body & Quality Control mechanisms, (vii) Other information, which the applicant feel relevant and proper has to be placed before the Consultative Group, which should not exceed 20 Minutes of duration (preferably)," the letter added. 

The GI registry further stated, "It is directed that representatives from the producer group (Not exceeding 5 persons) shall be present along with the GI Products during the Consultative Group Meeting. In this connection, it is further requested to provide 7 copies of presentation for circulation to Members at the time of Consultative Group Meeting."

The Kai or Red Weaver Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina and Odontotermes sp.), a species of arboreal, is abundantly available in Mayurbhanj district. The species is mostly consumed in form of chutney or soup by mixing them with spicy ingredients.

The Kai is the main source of health protection for these local tribal people and is also considered the best safety measure to keep diseases at bay. The tribes in the Mayurbhanj district commonly use the species as a delicious food and traditional medicine to treat different aliments in their daily life. 

In the GI application, the OUAT stated that all the tribal communities those are preparing and using the Chutney prepared from the live red ants (Kai) are the authorised producers of the proposed GI of the goods.

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