SpicyIP has blogged frequently on the advantages of enforcing Intellectual Property and off late, the rise in GI filing in India has pleasantly surprised us all. However, as the Economic Times reports, the recent ban on export of rice to cool down inflation seems to have contradicted the government’s own GI protectionist policy. While the ban has not hit the fragrant and popular Basmati, it has effectively blocked local efforts (that are protected or soon to be protected by GIs) trying to make their presence felt in the global rice markets such as Palakkadan Matta rice and Pokkali rice.
While the ban by the Government has obviously been called in light of the rising costs of staple food products such as rice, the present policy of the Government does not make sense in the face of logic. By imposing such a ban, the Government’s policy only seems redundant and removes any or all protection that helping small time agriculturists who continue to grow indegenious varieties of rice- not leaving any scope for growth they could possibly achieve during this period.
Perhaps instead of an absolute ban, the Government can consider regulation of the quantities of such varieties when exported. Ohterwise the GI protection offered would in fact be worthless.