Cucumber is one of the widely grown vegetables in the northeastern part of India. And Nagaland ranks 5th in area and 3rd in its production. It occupies 6 per cent of the entire vegetable area of the state with a 9 per cent share of output.
And in between these herd of local varieties, there existed a hidden gem, “The Sweet Cucumber.” And this sweet cucumber from Nagaland is now officially granted a Geographical Indication tag (GI) under (Registration & Protection) Act of 1999.
What is GI?
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign applied on products with a specific geographical origin and possess unique qualities or a reputation due to that origin. Therefore, to function as a GI, a character must identify a commodity originating in a given place.)
According to Naga tribes, a group of young men discovered it in a jungle. They tasted it and found out that it was sweet, juicy, and didn’t cause any harm, so they decided to take it back. Their history also states that cucumbers have been being grown in their region since their olden times. These local varieties are considered a good source of medicine for treating constipation and jaundice. But this sweet cucumber has later stolen the limelight due to its specialty.
Why is Naga Cucumber unique?
Due to the GI tag, the sweet cucumber is now popularly known as a Naga Cucumber. It differs in taste, size, shape, characteristic green colour, smoothness, and water percentage. They contain low calories and high potassium.
They can sustain in a majority of the climatic regions of the northeast zone of India so that they can be grown in both the summer and winter seasons, and fruits are available throughout the years, Usually, they are 15 to 20 cm in length, and their diameter is around 14 to 16 cm. On average, 5 to 8 cucumbers weigh one kg.
More about Geographically Indication.
As per the official documents, Naga cucumber was registered by North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Ltd (NERAMAC) on the 10th of DEC 2018 and got certified after a long process on 14th Sept 2021 and has validity till 09th Dec 2028.
The internal watchdog committee currently monitors the cultivation and quality of Naga Cucumber as per GI registration. It’s their responsibility to ensure and maintain the original physical and chemical characteristics. They help in the regulation of GI for the local farmers, due to which the income of farmers raises.
The logo of Naga Cucumber will be used to generate publicity and promote GI registered produce. It added that Naga Cucumber’s geographical growing region will be recognized and will be assigned an identification number to assure traceability and quality.
The Advisor to state Horticulture and Border Affairs Department, Mhathung Yanthan, tweeted that before Naga cucumber, they also have protected Naga Chilli and Naga tree tomato as agricultural goods, which was a positive move to strengthen their farmers. These crops tagged with GI will be grown to their respective confined areas as per their legal rules.
In this era where wild parental varieties of species are about to extinct, it is a piece of good news that these naturally gifted identified types are being protected under GI and provide privilege to the members of their corresponding sectors.