Lahore (Zahid Chughtai) Pakistan has received the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag for its Basmati on January 26, 2021. REAP made major contributions in preparing the Book of Specifications for Basmati. This Book of Specifications lays down the criteria of characteristics for Basmati which needs to be followed by any producer or operator in Pakistan if they desire to obtain the license to use this name. Since REAP is a trade body which has been involved in exporting Basmati to the world and it is representative of Pakistan’s exporters of Basmati, it was best suited to offer insight into Basmati’s trade, characteristics, regions and history. When REAP was consulted on the matter it provided technical and commercial assistance in preparing the Book of Specifications. REAP’s input was highly appreciated.
The registration of Basmati as a GI in Pakistan required the cooperation between the public and private sector. Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was designated as a Registrant of Basmati by the Federal Government. TDAP made an application to register Basmati to Intellectual Property Organization (IPO). IPO sought assistance from Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku and REAP. IPO mapped the regions where Basmati is grown by taking recommendations from all provinces. The process followed by IPO has been an inclusive one and it brought all the stakeholders on one table.
Through intra-provincial and public-private cooperation, Pakistan has obtained the GI tag for its Basmati which will strengthen the case against India in European Union. Since Basmati rice fetch higher prices than non-Basmati rice in international markets, India has attempted to block Pakistan’s trade in EU by declaring that its Basmati is the geographically original one. Pakistan has challenged this claim and by registering its own GI for Basmati it will claim the same protection of its Basmati in EU as India. REAP as a trade body has been representing and safeguarding the interests of rice exporters in Pakistan since 1994, we will continue to uphold the interests of all our members who together make Rice Exports Pakistan’s 2nd Largest Export Industry, after textiles.