A new framework will soon protect traditional specialties and the finest local agricultural products of the European Union.
The European Commission’s latest public consultation asked businesses, institutions and citizens for help in redefining the scope and the role of the geographical indications (GI), including products with a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
The effects of the consultation will have the biggest impacts on producers and farmers, including olive growers.See Also:Consumption, Exports of Italian PDOs and PGIs Keep Growing
“The Commission undertook the Farm to Fork Strategy to strengthen the legislative framework of GI schemes, to improve the schemes’ contribution to sustainable production and to strengthen the position of farmers and GI producer groups in the food supply chain,” the Commission wrote.
Although not always connected to GI products, food chain dynamics have often been cited by olive farmers and agricultural associations in the bloc as one of the reasons for low prices at the origin.
According to the Commission, the scheme should provide GI producers with tools to “better cope with pressures in the food value chain” and allow them “to have their rights fully enforced in the market and empower them to manage their GI asset better. This could maintain and increase a fair return to producers from the market and their economic sustainability.”
According to a recent study by the European Commission, the annual sales of PDO and PGI products are valued at nearly €75 billion.
The goal of the consultation is also to attract new producers into the scheme. The aim, according to the Commission, “is to strengthen GIs by increasing take-up across the E.U. while ensuring effective protection of these rights… The revision will also consider simplification and administrative burden reduction.”See Also:Geographical Indications Protected in New China‑E.U. Trade Deal
To this end, the Commission lists several issues that should be evaluated by the participating stakeholders in a survey associated with the consultation, such as ensuring that GI producers adhere to production standards for preventing fraud and GI counterfeiting.
The Commission also aims to evaluate how hard it is for interested parties to understand and follow the associated legislation correctly. At the same time, the survey asks citizens to express their view on the whole GI scheme, asking them whether “traditional product names are a common heritage that should not be owned by registered producers nor restricted to legally binding recipes.”
The European Commission said that it planned to use the information it gathers during the consultation, which runs until April 9, to help reform the system.
Plans for the E.U.-wide protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products were announced last November and quickly followed up with the new GIView database’s launch in December.