What the GI tag can mean for the cashew industry in Goa
Context- Last week, Goan cashew (kernel) got the geographical indication (GI) tag.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant hailed the recognition as a great opportunity for the cashew industry in the state and “a milestone towards Swayampurna Goa mission”. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Sawant said, “Goan cashew has a long and cherished heritage and this GI status helps to preserve our legacy.”
(Credits- Times of India)
A GI tag is conferred upon products originating from a specific geographical region, signifying unique characteristics and qualities. Essentially, it serves as a trademark in the international market. It is given by the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.
What does the GI tag mean for the cashew industry in Goa?
- Cashew manufacturers and processors in Goa said they hoped the GI tag would help consumers differentiate between authentic Goan cashews and cashews sourced from outside the state, which are often marketed as ‘Goan cashews’.
- The application for the GI tag for the Goan cashew — derived from the Portuguese name ‘caju’ or ‘kaju’ in Konkani — was filed by the Goa Cashew Manufacturers’ Association (GCMA), with the Department of Science, Technology and Waste Management, Government of Goa, acting as facilitator.
- Traders cannot use Goa cashew logo on the packets without registration.
- The influx of cheaper cashews has meant that several processing units and manufacturers in Goa have been unable to sell all their produce within the state, and have had to find markets outside, curtail production, or shut factories.
- Higher minimum wages and compliance norms than in states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have also contributed to the decline in sales for traditional Goan cashew processors.
- GI tag would be useful for export too.
How did cashew come to Goa and become a contributor to the economy?
- Cashew was native to northeast Brazil in Latin America and was introduced to Goa by the Portuguese in the 16th century (1570). At the time of its introduction on Indian coasts, cashew was known mainly as a crop for afforestation and soil conservation.
- Historical records cited by the GCMA in its GI application state that Christian missionaries imported high yielding varieties from Latin American countries and cultivated them extensively in Goa. However, the economic value of cashew nuts became known about a century after its introduction.
- The story goes that the edible value of cashew nut was discovered by Goan prisoners exiled to the Portuguese territory of Africa (Mozambique) during Goa’s freedom movement in the mid-18th century.
- In 1959-60, the Board of External Trade granted loans to cashew-nut factory owners to advance the industry by importing raw material from Mozambique. It also sought to create a demand for Gaon products in foreign markets by promoting participation of local industries in international fairs.
- The import of nuts from Portuguese East Africa induced foreigners to establish factories in Goa due to the lower import duty, favourable port dues, shipping and clearing expenses, lower rents, wages, and salaries.
- By 1961, the cashew processing industry accounted for about 60 per cent of industrial production in Goa, a bulk of which was exported.
Syllabus- Prelims; Current Affairs
Source- Indian Express