EU set to grant recognition to Hom Mali jasmine rice
After a campaign of almost five years, Thailand's Hom Mali Thung Kula Ronghai jasmine rice will soon become the first Southeast Asian product to win Geographical Indication recognition from the European Union.
"After the EU certifies the GI right for Hom Mali Thung Kula Ronghai, it will add value to the product in the EU market and in international markets, so Thai farmers and traders will enjoy higher income," Pajchima Tanasanti, director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said yesterday.
The commodity will start benefiting from greater protection in the EU this year. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will announce it during her official visit to Belgium next month.
Jasmine rice grown in the Thung Kula Rong Hai area, a plateau spanning five provinces in the Northeast - Roi Et, Maha Sarakham, Si Sa Ket, Yasothon and Surin - is characterised by a special glutinous consistency and sweet aroma.
It will also be the third non-EU product globally, after Indian tea and Colombian coffee, to receive such protection and recognition.
Two more products from Thailand - Doi Chang and Doi Tung, two well-known coffee varieties made from beans cultivated in the hills of Chiang Rai - are also seeking GI certification from the EU, to be followed by Sung Yod rice from Phatthalung in the South.
GI is a name or sign that corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin, such as a town, region, or country. The use of a GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation due to its geographical origin.