Geographical Indications and Localisation: A Case Study of Feni
University of Warwick - School of Law
September 24, 2009
ESRC Report, 2009
Geographical Indications find favour amongst different ‘development’ constituencies because they relate to locally stabilised cultural practices. GI-specifications may foster the cultural integrity of products throughout the supply chain while also enabling the accumulation of economic returns within the region of production. In approaching questions of GIs and localisation, the study frames GIs as clubs: like a club, GIs can only be used by those who adhere to the specifications. This draws attention to an underlying social construction of a consensus amongst producers, who are not only competitors, but differentially endowed and socially located. The study uses Feni, a liquor distilled in Goa from either fermented cashew apple juice or coconut toddy, as a case study. Registered in February 2009 to Goa Government’s Department for Science and Technology and the Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association, the report notes the political investment of the state and identifies a thin line between providing the space for consensus-making and coalescing an agreement. The specifications are testimony to problems of translating historical changes and contemporary diversity associated with a cultural product into a legal document. Beyond these tensions, the amendments are needed for localisation. On the one hand, a more flexible set of specifications might accommodate the diversity of contemporary distilling practices (e.g. ‘extra/local’ pot-still), while clearer specifications on sourcing raw-materials and post-distilling processes, may localise cultural and economic control. Finally, as with any club, GIs also entail exclusion. In the Feni case, this is ironically of the coconut version which has clear antecedents to the cashew in Goa. While common law user rights may ameliorate the exclusion, amendments to the specifications for inclusion are recommended.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 64
Keywords: Report geographical indication FeniAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 8, 2010 ; Last revised: November 9, 2010
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