Thursday, May 15, 2014

GIs are sign used on goods that have a specific quality linked to its geographical origin- Peter REDD

From left: Peter, Njie and Kalu
Mr. Peter Damary from REDD stated that OLP have a special ‘typical’ quality that is linked to its ‘origin’ (the terroir0 saying that this link can be through: natural factor, and/ or human factors (special know-how, history).

Peter Damary was given a presentation on: What is an Origin Linked Product (OLP) and What is a Geographical Indication (GI), How do we define the link to the ‘Terroir’, in Akosombo, Ghana for this third Regional Training Course on Identification and Inventory of Origin Linked Quality Products and Geographical Indications from the 12th to 16th May, 2014.

According to him, GI in simple terms, it is legally recognized and protected name of an Origin Linked Product. Protected as an Intellectual Property (IP), he said may take various forms, such as collective or certification marks. 

Usually protects names with an existing ‘reputation’, said Peter.

GI, Peter stated is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and qualities, reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin. GI, may be used for a wide variety of products, whether, agricultural or manufactured, food, beverages and artisanal products (even in some countries industrials products are services) according to national law.

On product identification, Peter revealed that the four main elements of GI are; specific product quality, a name and reputation that differentiates the product from others, a define geographical area of production and specific production methods.

How do we define the link to the ‘terroir’
A terrior is a delimited geographical area in which a human community has developed the course of history; a collective production method and know-how based on a system of interactions between a physical and biological environment and a set of human factors in which the socio technical trajectories brought into play revealed originality.

Mr. Meleng Benelesse, consultant from Cameroun presenting a paper on Why Origin Linked Quality Products are important for Africa, on the example of the first two African GIs in Cameroun pointed out that in most African countries, the rural/primary sector is the first supplier of jobs and the main sector contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Nevertheless, production and fabrication activities in the sector remain limited and poverty is an essentially rural phenomenon,

Among the obstacles to the development of the primary sector and to the reduction of rural poverty, we can name among others: the low productivity of producers, the inefficiency of marketing mechanisms, the lack of access to credit, the insufficient development of rural infrastructures.

Yet, many origin products widely and formally spread, which have a close link with a region because of their history, of the influence of the local geographical milieu on production or fabrication process or also of particular know-how used in the production and design steps, exist in Africa.

Examples of GIs:
Gari of Savalou in Benin, the rice of Man mountains and  the farics of Karhogo in Ivory Coast, the palm oil of Boke in Guine, the Bafiakolanut, the Bamoun masks and the Oku white honey and Penja pepper in Cameroun.

These products have a name a reputation which inspire confidence and which are recognized by some traders and some consumers.

The latter travel specially in order to buy them. Experts assert that the same product cannot be obtained elsewhere. Some buyers only buy this quality or are willing to pay a higher price to get it. 

The difference observed with the “standard” product can be attributed to tradition, to the environment, or special knowledge and transformers.

These specific regional products enhance the value of local cultures and of particular environments. They contribute to the economy of a region, create revenues and jobs, and keep markets. They can be sold a t a regional, national and international scale. Nevertheless, they are usually not recognized and not protected.

 Cameroon has a fully place committee on GI. The GI organisation brings together small or more or less big producers and also members.

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