Locally identified foods promote sustainable development
United Nations (UN) agriculture agency said the rising number of products with a specific and certified geographic origin not only have cachet among gourmands, they are also providing large economic and social benefits to rural areas and can foster sustainable development.
This applies to not just any peppers, but white Penja peppers, grown in volcanic soil in the Cameroon; or not just any cabbage, but Futog cabbage, cultivated alongside the Danube in Serbia.
According to a new study released by the UN agriculture agency, food products with trademarked geographical labels, which have specific qualities or reputations tied to their place of origin, already account for annual trade of more than $50 billion worldwide.
However, the concept is not new. For instance, products from Bordeaux wine to Parmigiano cheese have had protected labeling for decades or centuries.
But the idea is spreading and such products are taking off throughout developing countries and regions.
“Geographical indications are an approach to food production and marketing systems that place social, cultural and environment considerations at the heart of the value chain,” said Emmanuel Hidier, senior economist in FAO’s Investment Centre.
“They can be a pathway to sustainable development for rural communities by promoting quality products, strengthening value chains, and improving access to more remunerative markets,” he added.
The report analyzes the economic impact of Geographical Indication registration in nine case studies: Colombian coffee, Darjeeling tea (India), Futog cabbage (Serbia), Kona coffee (United States), Manchego cheese (Spain), Penja pepper (Cameroon), Taliouine saffron (Morocco), Tête de Moine cheese (Switzerland) and Vale dos Vinhedos wine (Brazil).
Overall, the study finds that geographic labeling has had significant positive effects on prices of the trademarked goods, whether long-established or recently registered.