Thursday, December 28, 2023

Inauguration Of Research-Based Incubation Facility For Geographical Indications (GIs) At MAHE, Manipal -Udupi

Vision Karnataka Foundation (VKF) and Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) inaugurated the commencement of a research-based incubation programme for Geographical Indications (GIs) tagged products on 27th December 2023 at Manipal. The incubation program is working on building, developing, and growing livelihood clusters around Udupi region with GI focussed communities belonging to the Udupi Mattu Gulla and Shankarpura (Udupi) Mallige clusters.

Speaking to the media, Mr. Kishor Jagirdar, President of Vision Karnataka Foundation (VKF) said that it is a proud moment for VKF to be associated with Department of Commerce, MAHE to launch this initiative of Research-based incubation facility. This is a first of its kind in the country that is focussing on incubation for GI tagged communities engaged in market linkage activities. The incubation facility is also supporting other activities like product design, branding, packing and packaging, legal aspects, standardization, leveraging value adds, exploring digital market place and other strategies etc. This effort is exclusively directed towards addressing the grassroot level community-based barriers of these GI clusters. Initially it will cover two GI based areas and then gradually reach out to 48 select GIs in Karnataka over next two years. Additionally, this partnership is working on identifying potential GI tagged opportunities at the local, regional and national level.

Under this incubation arrangement, VKF will be providing support for this initiative by handholding the GI farmers, Self Help Groups and other stakeholders for improving the product quality, enhancing the marketability, providing better market linkages for the GI tagged products. Keen on taking this initiative to next level, VKF is planning to set up Common Facility Centers (CFC) under the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Cluster Development Programme (CDP) scheme to provide much needed value addition to these GI tagged products. This unique initiative will bring in incremental income generation possibilities for growers along with developing entrepreneurs in the process.

The Sustainable Development Goals Coordination Centre (SDGCC) is also signatory to this with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Govt of Karnataka. VKF is the Technical Agency for Ministry of MSME, Government of India and also State Government. VKF is driving several livelihood clusters in India under ‘Scheme of Fund for the Regeneration of Traditional Industries’ (SFURTI) scheme.

Vivesvaraya Trade Promotion Centre (VTCP), the nodal agency for the promotion of international trade and Geographical Indications tagged products from the State of Karnataka was represented on this occasion by Smt. Prabhavathi Rao, Facilitator - Intellectual Property Initiatives, on behalf of Director (Exports) & Managing Director -Shri B.K Shivakumar. She informed that as the pioneer in the country in launching the first of its kind exclusive Geographical Indications Policy, VTPC under the aegis of the Department of Industries & Commerce, Govt of Karnataka, has been working to facilitate and promote artisans of traditional and legacy products that the state is famed for. Among various initiatives, she mentioned that with the registration of artisans/producers/farmers for the respective GI tagged products as Authorised Users, being provided thrust, in accordance with GI Act of 1999, VTPC would take steps to register the farmers of Udupi Mattu Gulla Brinjal and Udupi Jasmine as Authorised Users of the GI crops.

Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), an Institution of Eminence (IOE), deemed to be University is proud to engage in this initiative as a ‘enabling agency’. In its pursuit of educating the public on vital topics of social interest, MAHE has raised the bar for social responsibility. To accomplish social development, MAHE is actively involved in putting up a number of partnership-focused strategies for the good of the society. Hence, working for the local farming community who grow unique GI tagged products is a matter of high priority for MAHE. The incubation facility that is envisaged through this partnership will initially target to promote the improvement of two clusters of Udupi Mattu Gulla Brinjal and Udupi Jasmine and will gradually cover the other GIs grown in Karnataka through the incubation program.

Lt. Gen. (Dr.) M. D. Venkatesh, Vice Chancellor of Manipal Academy of Higher Education, expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, stating, 'This collaboration marks a significant milestone in the journey of sustainable development and community empowerment. At MAHE, we are deeply committed to fostering innovation and education that benefits society at large. By supporting this incubation program for GI-tagged products like Udupi Mattu Gulla and Shankarpura Udupi Mallige, we are not just nurturing local talent and traditional practices but also contributing to the economic and social upliftment of the region. Our students and faculty are eager to engage in this unique learning experience, which aligns perfectly with our ethos of blending academic excellence with societal service’.

Dr. Giridhar Kini, Registrar, MAHE who was present during the function stated that MAHE gives high priority to projects which has the element of local development. Such initiatives provide field-based learning opportunities to the students and faculties of MAHE with an added incentive of social development.

Speaking on this occasion, Dr. Sandeep Shenoy, Head, Department of Commerce, MAHE said that this is a significant step in addressing the growth of GI livelihood clusters. Dr. Sandeep said that the Department will assist the GI clusters in the marketing of the products and help in setting market linkages and play an enablers role in improving the livelihood of these clusters.

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