Karnataka state Government (India) has 46 recognized GI products. However, due to lack of awareness of GI status & benefits among both the producer and the consumers, the growth and usage of GI products was hindered. Key issue was identification of the origin & the producer of the GI product and a simple mechanism to verify the same by the consumer. To bridge this gap, the State Government of India (Karnataka) awarded a grant to Vlinder as part of the Elevate Karnataka government initiative.
This initiative aims to encourage customers of GI products to know their products and producers better. It is also aimed at bridging the gap between producers and consumers by engaging the various actors in the ecosystem of GI products. The ecosystem includes the following actors:
- Producers/ manufacturers who produce GI products in the “geographic area”.
- Government authority / third party certification providers
- Supply chain actors / Government Export controls that verify Proof of Origin
- International retailers / Consumers
A strong GI ecosystem can be a wellspring of economic and soft power, and enable multiple benefits like Proof of origin, Premiumization of product Increased export revenue, Protection of Brand and Instil Consumer confidence. The uniqueness and authenticity of GI products can help the protect culture and heritage of the place. However, the lack of verifiable GI and associated proof of origin makes it difficult for the ecosystem actors to establish reputation and value for local products and support their businesses.
Challenges faced by state and local actors include inadequate technology infrastructure around logistics, quality standards, traceability, and control systems. Protection of GI products to prevent misuse in international markets is also crucial. Counterfeit products and the lack of GI hinder economic prosperity and exports, with losses estimated at over 5% of world trade caused by counterfeiters.
Consumers are increasingly seeking high-quality and authentic food products and are willing to pay more for products with a genuine provenance. GI products play a critical role in the marketplace by allowing consumers to distinguish between products from specific regions known for producing a particular item. This distinction helps producers stand out, increase their customer base, and build brand loyalty.
When attempting to attract consumers, a brand that specializes in the quality of products that have ties to their geographical origin, verifiable geographical information and traceability can be an effective part of positioning the brand as a trustful and transparent brand. This is where Vlinder’s platform, Trag brings in value.
As part of this grant, Vlinder Trag platform is already enabling “Proof of Origin”, and Instantaneous verification of related certificates or GI/compliance for 40 GI products including Malabar Black Pepper Whole, Naga Chilli, Kancheepuram Silk, Manipur Black Rice etc. The platform is a blockchain based solution that provides authentication and traceability for GI products.
Vlinder can onboard four GI manufacturers which are associated with oriGIn as part of the grant available. In addition to Proof of Origin and Traceability, Sustainability Details can be tracked.
In conclusion, initiatives like Elevate Karnataka and Vlinder’s blockchain platform Trag are essential to bridge the gap between producers and consumers of GI products. They aid in improving the value of local products and support businesses of all sizes. A robust GI ecosystem offers benefits beyond economic gains, including proof of origin and traceability, and promotes regional culture and heritage.