The famous GI tag holders tie up with Kolkata shops to check imitations.
The makers of the famous Joynagar moa are, for the first time, tying up directly with popular sweet shops in and around Kolkata in a bid to check imitations that cash in on their name.
The moa is a popped-rice ball held together with fresh date-palm jaggery that is extracted during the winter months, and its manufacture is so synonymous with the town of Joynagar near Kolkata that it earned the Geographical Indication (GI) tag of Joynagar Moa in 2015.
Also because of the synonymy, almost every moa sold in Kolkata is palmed off to the customer as Joynagar moa — and that is what the manufacturers’ association in Joynagar wants to prevent by reaching out directly to popular shops and confectionery chains.
“If a customer buys moa believing it is made in Joynagar when that’s actually not the case, not only is he deprived of the real taste of Joynagar moa but he also forms a bad impression of us. This is what we want to check,” Ashok Kumar Kayal, founding secretary of the Joynagar Moa Nirmankari Society, told The Hindu.
The society earned the GI tag and a logo from the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry in March 2015, and so far 26 of the 46 manufacturers registered with the society have received the certificate to make Joynagar moa — the remaining 20 applications are still under process.
It is these manufacturers with certificates that will send their moas to shops in and around Kolkata, packaged in boxes that will display the logo and nutritional facts. “There’s plenty of fake Joynagar moa in the market. The real moa is available only during the winter, for about two and a half months, when you get jaggery. If someone sells you moa outside of these months, it’s fake,” Mr. Kayal said.
The moa, even though highly popular, is said to have made its appearance as recently as in 1904, becoming synonymous with Joynagar over the decades, even though many other adjoining settlements specialise in it. The sweetmeat is made of aromatic khoi — popped rice — mixed with jaggery, sugar, cashew nuts and raisins. Today it is an organised business; the manufacturers’ society even has a constantly-updated website that lists the shops offering the authentic moa.