GIs for Protecting Agrobiodiversity and Promoting Rural Livelihoods: Status, Strategies and Way Forward


  • N. Lalitha Professor, Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Gota, Ahmedabad
  • Soumya Vinayan Assistant Professor, Council for Social Development, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad



Geographical Indications, Agricultural Products, Agro-biodiversity


India remains as one of the hotspots of agro-biodiversity with several closely related species ranging from rice, pulses, millets, vegetables, fruits and fibre plants. Such diverse agro-biodiversity is increasingly threatened by vagaries of weather and acquisition of agricultural land for industrialisation and urbanisation. In this paper, the relevance of Geographical Indications (GI), one of the intellectual property rights, as an important instrument to protect agro-biodiversity is attempted at. GI recognises the link between the geographical region and product by highlighting the uniqueness of the product like fragrance, taste, specific use, etc. Till July 2017, 83 agricultural products from across India have been protected under GI, including foodgrains, pulses and condiments. Protected GIs include well known products like Darjeeling tea, Basmati rice, Alphonso mango to relatively less known Kalanamak rice from Uttar Pradesh and Appemidi mango from Karnataka. Many of the GI protected products (except those under plantation) are grown in small areas by a few farmers and face threat of extinction due to fluctuating market and non-cultivation by farmers. Such extinction could lead to non-availability of a food product affecting food quality and safety as well as reduced access to food because of loss of market. GIs could be used to market such products by bridging asymmetry of information between sellers and buyers and thereby revive the farmers’ interest. Such GI identification of unique agricultural products will help address the threat to biodiversity.


Download data is not yet available.


How to Cite

Lalitha, N., & Vinayan, S. (2018). GIs for Protecting Agrobiodiversity and Promoting Rural Livelihoods: Status, Strategies and Way Forward. Journal of Rural Development, 37(3), 479–500.


Anil Kumar, N (2016), Agro-biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods: An Introduction. Presentation in the Training programme on Agro-biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods organised by MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and Department of Science and Technology, and held at Community Agro-biodiversity Centre, MSSRF, Wayanad, November 19-23, 2016.

Bolake, R. N., (n.d.), Ghansal Rice Farming in Ajara Taluka : Opportunities and Challenges.(Available at http:/ / Mr.R.N.Bolake.pdf,. [Online], Accessed 21 June, 2016).

Cerkia, B, Bienabe, E and Kirsten, J (2009), The Economics of Geographical Indications: Towards a Conceptual Framework for Geographical Indication Research in Developing Countries. In The Economics of Intellectual Property: Suggestions for Further Research in Developing Countries and Countries with Economies in Transition. Geneva: WIPO (Available at pdf/wo_ 1012_e.pdf#page=121, accessed April 20, 2014).

Datta, T K (2010), Darjeeling Tea in India. In Lecoent A, Vandecandelaere E, Cadilhon J (2010) Quality linked to geographical origin and geographical indications: Lessons learned from six case studies in Asia. Bangkok: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, pp. 113 – 160.

Dominte, N R (n.d.) Can Climate Change Influence Protected Designations of Origin and Geographical Indications for Wine? (Available at [Online], Accessed September 12, 2017).

Gehl, S (2003), Defining an Intellectual Property Right on Traditional Medicinal Knowledge: A ProcessOriented Perspective.UNU-INTECH Discussion Paper Series 4, United Nations University - INTECH.

GI Journal (Various Year), (Nos. Supplementary 2, 28, 61, 76 Available at [Online]., Accessed on September 5 and 24, 2012 and April 7, 2016).

Government of India (2015), Parampara - A Continuation of Tradition Without Interruption. New Delhi: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Meghvansi MK, Siddiqui S, Haneef Khan Md, Gupta VK,Vairale MG, Gogoi KK, Lokendra Singh (2010), Naga Chilli: A Potential Source of Capsaicinoids with Broad Spectrum Ethnopharmacological Applications. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 132, 1-14.

Lalitha, N (2013), Protecting Traditional Knowledge in Siddha System of Medicine. Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, 18 (3): 272-282.

Lalitha, N (2016), Creating Viable Markets through Use of Geographical Indications: What Can India Learn from Thailand? Report submitted to NRCT, Thailand and Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi, January 2016, under the NRCT-ICSSR Exchange of Scholars Programme.

Lalitha, N and Vinayan, Soumya (forthcoming). Regional Products and Rural Livelihoods: A Study on Geographical Indications from India. Manuscript submitted to Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

Reviron, S; Thevenod-Mottet, E; El Benni, N (2009). Geographical Indications: creation and distribution of economic value in developing countries.s.l.: NCCR Trade Regulation Swiss National Centre for Competence in Research.

Rose, C D N and Umesh, K B (2012), Expectations from Geographical Indications – Evidence from India. Paper presented at International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) Triennial Conference, Fozdo Iguacu, Brazil, August 18-24, 2012.

Santilli, J (2012), Geographical Indications for Agro-biodiversity Products: Case studies in France, Mexico and Brazil. In Juliana Santilli, Agro-biodiversity and the Law: Regulating Genetic Resources, Food Security and Cultural Diversity, London: Earthscan.

Seetisarn, P; Chiaravutthi, Y(2011), Thai Consumers Willingness to Pay for Food Products with Geographical Indications, International Business Research, 4(3): 161-170.

Singh, S. & Singh, T(2013), Producer Companies in India: A Study of Organisation and Performance.CMA Publication No.246, Centre for Management in Agriculture, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Soam, S K; Sastry, Kalpana, R (2008), Socio-Economic Implications of GI Registration for Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Commodities/Products in India.Hyderabad: National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, An Output from Project Funded by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, New Delhi.

Vanaja T, Neema VP, Mammotty KP, Balakrishnan PC and JayaPrakash, N (2015). The First High Yielding Saline Tolerant Rice Variety Suited to the Kadipad Tidal Farming Ecosystem of Kerala, India and Suited for Flood Prone and Water Scarce Environments: Ezhome 1. Journal of Organics, 2 (1): 21-31.

Vink N, Deloire A, Bonnardot V, Ewert J (2009), Terroir, Climate Change and the Future of South Africa’s Wine Industry. Paper for the pre-AARES conference workshop on The World’s Wine Markets by 2030: Terroir, Climate Change, R&D and Globalization, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, South Australia, Febraury 7-9, 2010. (Available at Vink_WC0210.pdf,. [Online], Accessed on September 12, 2017).

Vinayan, Soumya (2015), Willingness to Pay for GI Products in India: The Case of Darjeeling Tea and Pochampally Ikat, Hyderabad Social Development Papers, 3(1-3), pp. 1-21.