Sunderbans honey finds place in the discussion in Geneva

Kolkata: ‘Sunderban Honey’, that has recently received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag has found place in a conference at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Switzerland. The conference was held on the knowledge of genetic property.

The conference started on Monday and around 1,200 delegates from several countries took part in the conference. Genetic properties of several countries have been selected as a topic of discussion. ‘Sunderban Honey’ is the only product from Bengal that has found a place in the conference.

More than 2000 families in Sunderbans earn their living through honey cultivation. Every year from March - April, the Forest department issues boat licenses (BLC) to traditional honey collectors so they can enter the forest to collect honey. The entire collection is purchased and marketed by West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Ltd. (WBFDCL).

The State Forest Department has sent the product to Geneva. The honey collectors, popularly known as ‘maula’ take risks to venture deep into the forest of the Sunderbans for honey collection. Hence, this honey received a GI tag. The Science and Technology and Bio-Technology department is the nodal department for GI matters. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the application process of seeking a GI tag for the Sunderbans honey dates back to 2020 when a Pune-based organisation applied to the Centre for the tag for Sundarban honey.

In December 2022, the GI authorities conducted an online meeting attended by state government officials concerned and a section of the ‘Maula’. The entire process was deliberated in detail and the GI authorities decided that WBFDC should be the original applicant.

Finally, the state government has been informed that Sundarban Honey has been recognised for GI.

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