Manipur's unique Tamenglong orange and the state's Hathei chilli, famous for its vibrant red colour and flavour, have been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
The GI sign is used on products with a specific geographical origin, which have special qualities that are attributable to its area of origin. The Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) had applied for GI tags for the two agricultural products in 2019. As per MOMA Project Director K Debdutta Sharma, the GI certificates would be issued soon.
Manipur Chief Minister NongthombamBiren Singh announced the news on his social media, calling it a "historic milestone" in the history of the state. Singh said that the GI tag would help increase the income of the farmers.
What a great start to the day for Manipur!
I'm really happy to share that 2 (two) products of Manipur viz Hathei Chilly & Tamenglong orange have been granted GI Tag. This is a historic milestone in the history of Manipur which will increase the income of the farmers immensely. pic.twitter.com/nFeXSE5KBQ
" N.Biren Singh (@NBirenSingh) September 17, 2021
The Hathei chilli is primarily grown by the locals of the Sirarakhong village in the Ukhrul district, who consider it as 'God's gift'. It is believed to have been discovered by the villagers when they were hunting in the forest. The SirarakhongHathei is so popular that an annual festival is held to promote the chilli.
The village also has a folk song dedicated to the chilli, comparing it to a prized shawl of the Tangkhul Naga tribe known as 'Khuilang'.
The Tamenglong orange, famous for its acidic taste and well-blended sweetness, is found mostly in the Tamenglong district. The district, known as the Manipur's 'orange bowl', produces over half of the state's annual production of the orange. The product has been promoted by the state by the Orange festival held in December for over a decade.
This is not the first agricultural product from Manipur that has been granted the GI tag. In May 2020, Manipur black rice, known for its special aroma, bagged the GI tag. Earlier, a unique variety of lemon, the Kachai lemon, which is cultivated in the Kachai village of Ukhrul district, was also awarded the GI tag.