While the state wants farmers, producing companies and associations to stake claim for the Sharbati variety, Jhabua-based non-governmental organisation Gramin Vikas Trust (GVT) has reached the final stage of obtaining a GI tag for Kadaknath (locally known as Kala Masi) chicken meat.
Also known as Malwa or Sehore wheat, the Sharbati variety is grown in Sehore, Vidisha and Astha districts, and in some parts of Bhopal and Hoshangabad. Fast moving consumer goods companies like ITC and Cargill claim to use the variety for their 'Chakki Fresh' atta. The variety fetches over Rs 3,000 a quintal in the local market.
"If it gets the GI tag, would fetch more. We are in the process of facilitating farmer associations and farmer producer companies in searching records, so that they can make a solid claim for GI registration,"
Rajesh Rajora, principal secretary, farmers' welfare and agriculture development department, said. The department also plans to conduct lab tests to support their claim.
In tribal-dominated Jhabua district, poultry is the only source of additional income for people. Kadaknath chicken is popular for its palatable black meat.
The breed, black in colour, contains high protein and necessary minerals. However, during the 90s, it reached near extinction due to over-consumption. A senior official in the animal husbandry department says the market demand for the breed is normally 300,000 birds.
"It is difficult these days to get a day-old chick," said Yash Kanungo, regional project manager of GVT, adding, "Our aim is to ensure high-market value through the GI tag for Kadaknath meat, so that the local community that rears this exclusive variety of chicken can benefit."
In 2014, the Chennai-based Geographical Indication registrar had sought a list of 'producers (community involved in this business) and detailed 'uniqueness' of the Jhabua Kadaknath black chicken meat from the GVT.
The GVT is promoted by Krishak Bharati Cooperative for eastern and western India rain-fed projects in seven states, by forming clusters in tribal areas like Jhabua.
"We will soon provide the necessary details," says Anil Pandey, coordinator - Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre, an institute jointly promoted by the Union ministry of MSMEs and Confederation of Indian Industry.
The GI Registry has also sought chemical and physical properties of the chicken meat, melanin pigment and anti-oxidant contents.
The state will play the role of a facilitator, says Prabhanshu Kamal, principal secretary, animal husbandry department.
Meanwhile, the state agriculture department had challenged Apeda (Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority)'s decision to exclude Madhya Pradesh-grown Basmati rice for GI tag.
Apeda in its application did not include Madhya Pradesh in its list of 22 districts of India.