Multiple posts celebrating Assam’s famous Tezpur Litchi getting the Geographical Indication Tag have been flooding Facebook Timelines across the state. The posts, many of them made by Assam based leading News Portals are slowly going viral.
One such link of an article was shared with the caption
“The Tezpur litchi is characterised by its distinct size, color, flavor, taste and juicy pulp
Here is another such link to an article, shared by Facebook Page Inside Northeast, on November 7, 2020 at 11:30am with the caption: “#Assam | The news has been confirmed by the APEDA, which is responsible for the export promotion of agricultural products.” Original Link- Inside Northeast | Archived Link
Fact Crescendo found that unlike what the posts suggest, Tezpur Litchi got the GI tag way back in 2015. Here’s the Factcheck:
Fact Check Methodology:
At first we ran a Google Search with the relevant keywords and found a tweet on the official twitter handle of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) posted on November 6, 4:13pm which said
“#Tezpur #Litchi of #Assam have got the geographical indication (GI) tags, making this item an incontrovertible proof of their origins in the state, and protecting them from production elsewhere.
We found that it is just a random post with no mention of specific date or time of the Tezpur Licthi’s GI tag. We checked the posts made by the handle and saw similar posts having some information on different products from different places as well.
We also found a PDF document on the official website of the Office of the Controller of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The PDF has Tezpur Litchi listed in the period April 2014-March 2015.
Screenshot IPINDIA PDF
Following this, we also found a News Report Published on March 31, 2015 in the online edition of the Times of India, with the Headline “Assam’s pungent ginger, juicy litchi get GI tag.”
The report states “The pungent Karbi Anglong ginger and juicy Tezpur litchi of Assam have got the coveted geographical indication (GI) tags , making these items an incontrovertible proof of their origins in the state and protecting them from production elsewhere.” Original Link- Times Of India | Archived Link
Following this we got in touch with Dr Sarat Saikia, Chief Scientist Horticultural Research Station, Assam Agricultural University, Kahikuchi Guwahati Campus who clarified that the Tezpur Litchi had gotten the GI tag in 2014-15 itself.
Fact Crescendo also got in touch with the MD, North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC) who corroborated the findings of Fact Crescendo’s Fact Check saying that the Tezpur Litchi had indeed acquired the GI tag in the year 2014-15 and there is no recent update on the status.
WHAT IS A GI TAG?
Given under the act of Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999, the GI or Geographical Indication tag is basically a measure, which defines the region of origin of a food or agricultural produce.
The official website of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) states “In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin.”
Screenshot WIPO website
Read more here: Original Link- WIPO Website
From the above Factcheck it is clear that the Tezpur Litchi did not get the GI tag recently. Hence it can be concluded that the claims have been shared with missing context.
Title:Tezpur Litchi did not get GI tag recently; tag in place since 2015Fact Check By: Manjori Borkotoky
Result: Missing Context