The GI tagged Black Rice of Manipur - Chak Hao

Black Rice

Ever heard of food items legally bound to their geographical locations? You must be wondering why and how? We know that food item go places. So what is the need to bind them with a particular location? Whenever we think of Petha, we immediately connect it with Agra or peda with Mathura. I am sure you will agree with me. When a food item and a place of their origin are so connected, they are given Geographical Indication tags, to identify them with the place of their origin. 

When the fame of a product spreads around the world, GI tags certify its origin.  

The GI tags are connecting our invaluable treasure with Incredible India

The Indian Parliament enacted a law in December 1999 regarding the registration and protection of products, which was called the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. It was implemented in 2003. Under this, the process of giving GI tags to the products found in India started.

GI tag is given to different types of products. Like agricultural products, handicrafts, textiles, etc. An application must be made to get GI Tag for a product. For this,  an association of manufacturers, producing the specific product, can apply. Or any other authorized collective body can apply. The application can also be made at the government level.

Those applying for the GI tag must explain why they should be given it. Not only will they have to tell, but they will also have to provide proof of the uniqueness of the product, about its historical heritage. If someone else claims the same product, then the applicants have to prove how original and authentic the claim is. After the organization examines the evidence and related arguments, the one who meets the standards gets the GI tag.

The GI tag is the equivalent of a trademark, thus protecting local farmers and producers of the goods. We hope more such local foods get this honour and recognition across India!

Since this blog is about food, I'll only talk about GI tagged food products here. You may think that how will you benefit from this? This knowledge will help you to connect with your Indian food traditions and you will be able to know the brilliant traditions of our vast country. Along with this, you will also know the health-related advantages of these food items. Besides this, the consumption of local products promotes local business. You will be able to cooperate for the betterment of small farmers sitting in far-flung areas of the country. Isn't it a good thing?

Today we will explore about Black Rice of Manipur, which is called Chak Hao in the local language. It has recently got a GI tag.

An application was filed by the 'Consortium of Producers of Chak-Hao for providing a GI tag to Chak-Hao. The North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC), and the Manipur Agriculture Department took the initiative behind getting the GI tag for this variety of rice. The GI tag for this rice has helped in connecting local farmers to wider markets and provide better prices for their produce.

After getting the GI tag, an order of one metric ton was received from Europe for Chak Hao i.e. Fragrant Hill Black Rice. For the first time, one metric ton of organic Manipuri black rice has been exported from Imphal to Europe. Also, 1500 million tonnes of black rice has been exported to other states of the country.

This huge export order of this special variety of organic rice has encouraged farmers to cultivate it.

After all, what is so special about this rice that European countries have become its admirers?

Manipuri black rice is full of goodness. This rice is grown in the winter season in Manipur. This rice is cultivated on about 45,000 hectares in Manipur. The cultivation of black rice is believed to have started when the early people from Manipur came here. This black rice is sold in Imphal at an average rate of Rs.100-120 per kg.

Black rice is usually made on the occasion of special occasions and festivals. Its colour turns from black to purple after cooking. Black rice pudding is very famous.

Chak hao is also used as a medicine by traditional healers.

It is an aromatic glutinous rice that has been cultivated in Manipur for centuries. Due to the high fibre content in this variety of rice, it takes about 40-45 minutes to cook, longer than all varieties of rice. From high vitamins to many minerals in this black rice of Manipur.

Benefits of Black Rice 

Along with being gluten-free, it is rich in antioxidants. Its black colour is the result of its anthocyanin pigment, which gives it antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are helpful in increasing immunity, which helps the body to fight against many diseases and infections. Now if you are thinking that from where you will be able to get such healthy rice. So let me tell you that it is available everywhere in online marketplaces like Amazon or Flipkart etc. My suggestion is to order a small quantity first. If you like its taste and aroma, then include it regularly in your diet. Use them in your regular dishes like Pulao, Biryani or boiled rice by replacing them with your regular Basmati or any other rice you use. Then as your taste develops, do experiments with new recipes. Find and try the recipes of Manipur. This is the fusion of cultures of food. 

Let us mingle through the black rice of Manipur!  And yes, if you have not subscribed to, yet, this is the best time to subscribe 😊? See you soon with a new post. Learn some new things about a new GI-tagged food item. 

Because learning should never stop.

You can hear this post in Hindi on my podcast - Petpujadotcom