NEW DELHI -- A new pathway to business development between Dubai and the South Indian city of Madurai has opened up with the export of a consignment of Geographical Indications (GI) certified traditional local flowers from this ancient Indian city to the emirate.
India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced that prospects of regular exports of these typically local flowers to Dubai, put in place now, has provided regular employment opportunities to 160 persons, of whom 130 are women and 30 are skilled workers.
Distinctive local flowers exported to Dubai under the new business development initiative are button roses, lilies, chamanthi, marigold and Madurai malli.
Of these, Madurai malli carries the name of the South Indian city because it has acquired GI certification prescribed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Chamanthi is a local variant of chrysanthemum, while malli is a highly fragrant variety of jasmine, which is native to Madurai.
The GI tag is described by WIPO as belonging to products "that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin".
Flowers that are native to Madurai are culturally symbolic to South Indians, millions of whom live in the Gulf. These flowers are in demand at South Indian social functions, such as marriages.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said scientists at the floriculture department of the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University in another South Indian city, Coimbatore, have developed packaging technology to increase the shelf life of flowers. This technology was used in the consignment exported to Dubai.
"The flowers for the consignment sent to Dubai were sourced from Nilakottai, Dindigul and Sathyamangalam in Tamil Nadu state," the Ministry said.
During the fiscal year 2020-2021, which ended in March, India exported world-wide, fresh cut flowers and bouquets comprising jasmine and other traditional flowers valued at Indian rupees 662 million (AED32.59 million).
"Out of this, flowers worth rupees 118 million (AED5.81 million) were exported from Tamil Nadu state." Madurai is Tamil Nadu’s third largest city, whose history is recorded as far back as 3rd century BC.
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