In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the “Geography of food” topic, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.

Europe joins international agreement on geographical indications; 07/10/2019

After a positive vote in the European Parliament plenary session, the EU Commission welcomed on 7 October the support expressed by the Council to allow the Union to join the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, a multilateral treaty for the protection of geographical indications managed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Geographical indications refer to a product whose quality and reputation are linked to its geographical origin. “This is a step forward to better protect our geographical indications at a multilateral level. They mirror the EU’s valuable geographical diversity, authenticity and know-how, in terms of agricultural products, food, and drinks”, said EU Commissioner for agriculture and rural development, Phil Hogan.

Branding TT cocoa; 11/07/2019

France has champagne. Scotland has scotch whiskey. Cuba has Cuban cigars. These are all geographical indications (GI). A geographic indication, as defined by the Intellectual Property Office, is “any sign or symbol that identifies goods as emanating from any specific region or location of a country that gives the goods its known quality, reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that region or locality.” With all the conversations Business Day has had lately about local cocoa and chocolate, we wanted to know if government was exploring gaining international recognition and GI status for our cocoa. And the simple answer is, yes. Though ExporTT, the Ministry of Trade and Industry continues to provide targeted assistance to develop the cocoa industry. The Montserrat Cocoa Farmers’ Co-operative Society was provided with a grant to support their efforts to gain international recognition for their intellectual property through GI registration for Trinidad Montserrat Hills Cocoa. Given the unique qualities and flavour, a geographical indication will provide product differentiation and increase competitiveness internationally. This benefit will also transfer to the users of the GI branded cocoa in their downstream industries. Other certification and compliance requirements were also supported by ExporTT for cocoa companies including Cocoa Republic, Tobago Cocoa Estate WI, Trinidad Chocolate Factory and Caribbean Exotic Mountain Pride.

A step closer to the establishment of African Geographical Indications; 03/04/2019

On 29 March 2019, three initiatives were decided on, as part of the implementation of the ‘African Union Continental strategy for Geographical Indications (GIs) in Africa 2018-2023’. These actions include the preparation of a set of specific training and technical assistance programmes to develop GIs in Africa, the establishment of an African GI website and the identification of a number of GI pilot products to be developed in different African countries. These actions were set by ‘the Consultative Committee for the Continental strategy for Geographical Indications in Africa’ at their second meeting in Essaouira, Morocco. They will be officially launched at the forthcoming African Union-European Union Agriculture Ministerial Conference in Rome in June. The ’AU Continental strategy for Geographical Indications in Africa 2018-2023’ was adopted by the African Union in October 2017 and endorsed as a specific deliverable of the AU-EU Summit in November 2017.

Nigeria’s Rich Geographical Indications (gis) Products Face Imminent Threat.; 02/12/2018

At the 2nd Edition of the Nigeria Geographical Indications (GIs) Stakeholders’ Dialogue which was held in Abuja, Nigeria on the 27th of November, 2018, government’s attention was drawn to the threat faced by Nigeria’s rich Geographical Indication (GI) products.This 2nd stakeholder dialogue is part of the “Making Nigerian GIs Global” project master plan which is to deepen the conversation and continue the technical capacity development process on the concept of Nigeria GI, among stakeholders in Nigeria. Stakeholders at the dialogue who included government, private sector, development partners, civil society organisations, researchers, the media and a host of other stakeholders observed that the absence of a GI system and protection mechanism of the intellectual property right of products of Nigerian origin has made it difficult to tap into the huge benefits the Nigeria’s GI products offer to the local and international space.

Tete Goat – First Geographical Indication of Mozambique, 06/07/2018

The province of Tete, in Mozambique, has a goat population estimated in about 300 thousand animals, which has been increasing over the years, and is classified as the first goat producer in this country. A Geographical Indication (GI) works to identify products that own qualities, characteristics or reputation associated with a region (when clearly differentiated and easily identifiable) and are of extreme importance for the market, since it establishes a trustworthy relationship between the producer and the consumer. The Certification of Mozambican’s Tete Goat as a Geographical Indication is rather important since it allows to expose in a more visible way, both in the national and international market,a product with exclusive characteristics, coming from a specific region.  Its meat, well rated by consumers for having a high standard of quality, makes the meat unique, having conquered the right to a Geographical Indication. This exclusive quality is due to a mix between the feeding of the animal itself (which feeds on natural pastures, especially dry grass, apple, malambe and canhú) with geographic characteristics of the Tete region, where the tropical and dry climate prevails.

Strengthening sustainable food systems through geographical indications: An analysis of economic impacts; 20/04/2018

This study seeks to provide empirical evidence on the economic impacts that are generated through the Geographical Indication (GI) process beginning with the official recognition of a GI and the steps that follow. It focuses on the food sector and reviews nine cases, offering a variety of national contexts and local value chains. The approach, considers “operational” GI processes: those in which a code of practice (or specifications) is defined and the GI is used and managed by a collective organization. The synthetic outcome of these nine cases show the positive effect of GIs on the economy and confirm the importance of specification that is well defined and implemented through producers’ coordinated action.

Relevance of a Geographical Indication for salt from Senegal’s Pink Lake; 19/04/2018

Geographical Indications (GIs) now benefit from a favorable context, both at the international level and in Africa. Senegal, a member of the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), has a potential of traditional products which quality is linked to their origin. Pink Lake Salt, a typical Senegalese product which production remains traditional, would benefit from a strategy based on the virtuous circle of origin-linked quality, in order to enhance the value of the product for national consumers and for export, and allow it to emerge from a poorly differentiated market. This approach could also help to preserve the Pink Lake ecosystem, improve the working conditions of the value chain stakeholders and strengthen collective action. To this scope, certain steps still need to be taken with regard to the coordination of stakeholders, the improvement of quality (generic and specific), the awareness raising of consumers, the recognition and the credibility of the monitoring and traceability system of the product.

Partnership on GIs to boost rural development, exports of traditional food products and wine
Bizcommunity, 21/11/2017

A workshop recently hosted by the Embassy of Italy in South Africa, in collaboration with the European Union Delegation in South Africa, Wesgro and the Department of Trade and Industry hosted a workshop on the Protection and Promotion of Geographical Indications (GI) aimed to create awareness on the benefits that can be derived from the effective protection and use of GIs in South African and EU for the development of small-scale, local and rural economies, particularly in the agro-food sector, and for enhancing export opportunities and boosting international trade flows.

Launch Of Open Access Book On Geographical Indications In Asia-Pacific
Intellectual Property Watch, June 2017

A new book launched this week in Geneva offers a unique compilation of the challenges and promises of the protection of geographical indications (GIs) with a particular focus on countries in the Asia-Pacific region. We should “not romanticise GIs,” but we need to be “very pragmatic and practical” and “a bit more sceptical,” Irene Calboli, professor at the Management University of Singapore, said at the launch. Calboli presented on 27 June the launch of the book Geographical Indications at the Crossroads of Trade, Development, and Culture. Focus on Asia-Pacific at the World Trade Organization. The book, co-edited by Calboli and Wee Loong Ng-Loy, professor at the National University of Singapore, is available by open access, as a contribution to the global body of knowledge on the subject.

The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement Represents an Historic Opportunity for GIs, 07/07/2015

May 2015 marked the historic adoption of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographic Indications (GIs) by the Diplomatic Conference that convened at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).The Geneva Act formally includes Geographical Indications (GIs) under the scope of application of the Lisbon Agreement, which now provides a solid level of protection for all products’ names with unique characteristics linked to their geographical environment. Providing such level of protection for all GIs reflects an ongoing trend in national legislations around the world. Up until this landmark achievement, the Lisbon Agreement only permitted the registration of Appellations of Origin, scheme for which some countries lack an adequate infrastructure. Producers’ groups of future contracting parties will benefit from an efficient system to recognize the GIs they represent in foreign markets. On the other hand, countries maintain the possibility to refuse the protection of foreign GIs in their jurisdictions if, for instance, the corresponding name was previously registered there as a trademark.

GIs becoming growing cheese trade barrier, 30 July 2014

The U.S. dairy industry told the Senate Finance Committee’s trade subcommittee the 2010 U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement has further strengthened U.S. dairy exports to the Korean market, even though it is not yet fully implemented. At the same time, Shawna Morris, vice president for trade for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), said a new and growing type of trade barrier involving common food names has emerged that is restricting access to the Korean market for key U.S. cheeses.

Rooibos protected in EU trade pact, 21 July 2014

Rooibos tea has secured geographic indicator status in the long-awaited economic partnership agreement between southern African nations and the European Union, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Monday. “It will be the rooibos tea manufacturers of South Africa which will have ownership of that particular name and that term will be applicable only to products that come from and are approved by us,” he said. The minister said the designation was significant, given the popularity Rooibos had acquired in Europe in recent years. Last year, the South African Rooibos Council scrambled to stop an attempt by a French company – the Compagnie de Trucy – to trademark the name, fearing that it could secure exclusive use. The same trademark protection given to rooibos will apply to honeybush, another tea grown exclusively in the Cape region, and Karoo lamb – meaning that only products produced in those areas can be marketed under those trade names.

EU’s trade strategy on food favours the few at the expense of the many, 17 July 2014

Europeans take enormous pride in their food – specifically, in the “heritage” foods of their regions. And why shouldn’t they? The cheeses, wines, meats – even specialty fruits and vegetables – are what define the very character of some of Europe’s most diverse regions. So what harm can come to Europeans in protecting the names of these specialty foods? It would seem that the system of geographical indications (GIs) – the program designed to do just that, would by its very nature be harmless and beneficial. But when it comes to the EU’s current approach to trade negotiations, this is true only for a handful of member states, at the expense of the rest.

Croatia accession: 12 new traditional agricultural prodcuts, 27 June 2013

Croatia is entering the EU market with a new product, “pekmez”, which is similar to jam. Only 12 Croatian products have so far been awarded a protected designation of origin, including Krk prosciutto, “Drnis” prosciutto and “Varazdin” cabbage.

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