Kachchhi Kharek, the indigenous date variety from the arid region of Kutch in Gujarat, has recently been awarded the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag. This accolade recognizes Kachchhi Kharek as the second fruit from Gujarat, after the Gir Kesar mango, to be distinguished with such an honour.
Significance of the GI Tag
Intellectual Property Protection
The GI tag is a form of intellectual property that identifies a product as originating from a specific geographic location. It is characterized by qualities, reputation, or attributes unique to that area. This tag not only protects and promotes products associated with a particular region but also prevents unauthorized use of the name.
Enhancing Market Opportunities
Receiving a GI tag is a significant milestone for the farmers in Kutch, as it provides their indigenous date variety with a distinct identity. This recognition is expected to open new avenues for marketing and processing, potentially leading to better pricing and encouraging higher export prices, thus benefitting the local farmers.
The Unique Traits of Kachchhi Kharek
Historical and Cultural Significance
Dates in Kachchh have a history of 400-500 years. It is believed that the date palm groves in the region developed from seeds brought by settlers who visited the Middle East for Haj and trade. The groves might also have contributions from Arab gardeners employed in the palaces of Kachchh’s former rulers.
Agricultural and Geographical Characteristics
Kutch accounts for 94% of Gujarat’s date palm cultivation area, covering 19,251 hectares. The region’s date palms flower in January-February, with the fresh dates (kharek) harvested in June-July. The area is known for its adaptability to extreme weather conditions and high saline tolerance, making it ideal for date cultivation.
Diversity in Date Palms
The seedling-origin palms in Kutch represent a vast range of diversity, including various colours, sizes, shapes, and tastes of the dates. Kachchh is considered the only place globally where fresh dates are economically cultivated, marketed, and consumed.
Important Questions Related to Exams
- Which indigenous fruit from the arid region of Kutch in Gujarat recently received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag?
- Besides Kachchhi Kharek, what is the other fruit from Gujarat that has been honoured with the GI tag?
Kindly share your responses in the comment section!!