Albeit a cloud and rainy day, the 2018 Intellectual Property Expo was far from gloomy but offered an eclectic mix of vendors, interactive activities, as well as special guests like the Minister of Law and Human Rights.
Annisa and I were tasked to report live from the event and provide an explanation on what geographical indication (GI) is, the benefits of GI certification and to interact with exhibitors to find out about their GI products.
At first glance, I was amazed at the vast range of different GI products already certified in Indonesia. Not only do they include well-known coffee trademarks such as Gayo Aceh, Toraja and Kintamani, but include unique products like Amed sea salt, Bangka Belitung white pepper, Bajawa Flores kain tenun(traditional hand-woven cloth) and assorted processed nutmeg products from West Papua.
As the concept of GI suggests, these products are specific to these geographical areas and possess certain qualities or reputation due to that place of origin. There is a clear link between the product and its geography, which assumes its the taste or quality would differ if produced in a different geographical area.
After numerous coffee tastings of specialty coffee hailing from various regions of the Indonesian archipelago we were buzzing with adrenaline to see what other exhibitors had to offer. We tried our hand at some batik painting using a canting (pen-like tool used to apply the liquid hot wax) and hot wax, which proved harder than it looked.
We tasted some luxurious cooked food and sweets from East Nusa Tenggara including kue rambut and savoury bean porridge from Alor Island. We also observed traditional cloth weaving from Bajawa by some women in weaving and producing organic cotton to be made into kain tenun.
One exhibitor showcased his processed Dieng carica fruit products from Central Java and spoke about the complicated process of obtaining GI certification in his particular experience. As carica plantations grow in 4 different districts in Central Java, one distinct geographical location for carica production needed to be specified in order to obtain GI certification.
The cupping process was interesting to observe as it does not involved the actual consumption of the coffee but rather a tiny amount of the liquid is sipped and then spat out into a cup. Following this was a coffee auction of different brands of coffee which created a spectacle for onlooking crowds.
All in all, the exhibition was an interesting and insightful experience which provided a lot of local Indonesian examples of GI products that are already well-known trademarks or are in the initial stage of brand development. The diversity of GI products in Indonesia provides a promising future for agriculture which represents the backbone of the country's economy.
*Writer: Samantha Lim (AFOSP Intern)