NCEI, Session 4, WG III: “Quality Schemes of protecting and promoting the products – Geographical Indication and Denomination of Origin

Under NCEI, on June 15, 2021 was held Session 4 of WGIII dedicated to quality schemes of protecting and promoting the products – geographical indication and denomination of origin. This activity was organized by EMA, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with Slovak Foreign Policy Association and with the financial support of SlovakAid.

Florian Xhafa, Member of the Board of Directors of EMA suggested that the legislation related to the topic is changing and that institutions should be attentive to the latest developments.  He claimed that Albania has a specific law to trademark agricultural products but there is still room for improvement. Xhafa stated that these procedures should be similar to the ones in European countries making it possible for Albanian products to compete in the market (protecting of the origin). Moreover, he mentioned the initiative taken by the Ministry within IPARD to form Local Action Groups in order to use the instruments provided by EU.

Lauresha Grezda, Director at Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development welcomed the participants and assessed as essential the continuation of these sessions in framework of Convention and negotiations process. She pointed out that the national legal framework regarding the geographical indication and origin designation has been completed. Moreover, the legislation on quality standards and the registration of traditional products is monitored regularly by the ministry. Grezda stated that difficulties have arisen during the group formation and promotion. These activities are also substantial when it comes to capacity building. She informed that the above-mentioned products will be part of the new strategy that the ministry is drafting at the end of the IPARD 3 program.

Viera Baričičová from Department of Crop Production, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Slovakia carried out a detailed presentation on the topic. She explained that there have been three different EU quality schemes since 1992 associated with quality packages. EU has proposed to redesign the existing instruments and introduce new ones as part of EU’s quality policy for agricultural products. Baričičová, stated that quality packages give protection to the names of specific products and promote their unique characteristics linked to their geographical origin (GI – geographic indication). Moreover, they have an important role in trade negotiations between EU and other countries. The Slovak expert presented a short explanation for each certification scheme:

*Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) shows that the products are firmly tied to the geographical area where they were produced or manufactured

*Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) shows that the agricultural products are linked to a geographical area where at least one stage of production takes place

* Traditional Speciality guaranteed (TSG) shows traditional product composition or that traditional methods of production were used

These schemes protect the reputation of regional foods and eliminate the unfair competition and misleading of consumers by non-genuine products. The certification process takes a long time and the European Commission plans to simplify this procedure with a new regulation. Finally, Baričičová provided an online database listing all European certified products:

Agim Rrapaj, Chairman of KASH expressed his pleasure to be part of this session and said that our country should have substantial objectives regarding this issue.

Open discussion: Questions were raised about alcoholic beverages in Albania and their inclusion in the above schemes, the Albanian legal framework for the geographical indication and protection of origin as well as regarding specific recommendations. The session was moderated by Nirvana Deliu, Policy Researcher at EMA.

You can find the activity here: Session 4, WG III