On October 7, at Utveggio Castle in Palermo, officials of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, together with the members of the Organizing Committee and the Regional Department for Agriculture, surveyed Sicilian EVOO stakeholders about achieving a “Sicily Extra Virgin Olive Oil PGI” certification.
The protected geographical indication, or “PGI,” is a geographical indications and traditional specialties in the European Union. Three European Union schemes of geographical indications and traditional specialties, known as protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI), and traditional specialties guaranteed (TSG), promote and protect names of quality agricultural products and foodstuffs.
The product specifications for Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva IGP Sicilia were laid down last year by the Food and Agriculture Department of Sicily and it has already been approved by the national authorities.
The conference in Palermo was the last fundamental step for brand registration: after its publication on the Official Gazette of the Italian Republic, the proposal will be sent to Brussels for the European review and, in a few months, PGI certification will be official.
See more: Sicily EVOO PGI Guidelines (Italian)
The Regional Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Ezechia Reale, said: “The registration of PGI certification will provide greater visibility to Sicilian EVOO and will support Sicilian olive businessmen to face commercial competition both on domestic and foreign markets.”
Mr. Reale also pointed out that the new certification will be given a great exposure within the “Bio-Mediterranean Cluster” (the Mediterranean Culture and Food section during EXPO 2015 in Milan), where Sicily will be one of the protagonists. Last September, the Region of Sicily and Expo 2015 signed the agreement for the cluster. Sicily will schedule workshops and events taking place during six months of the World Fair.
The PGI label will allow Sicilian producers to access the resources provided by 2014-2020 Regional Development Plan (RDP), that is the primary tool for planning and funding regional interventions in agriculture, forestry and rural development.
RDP is estimated to allocate more than € 2 billion to promote certificated regional products making Sicily the Italian region with the most funds for development plans.