Agri-food protection schemes benefit EU farmers

The schemes offer fair returns for farmers and producers
calendar icon 30 December 2021
clock icon 3 minute read

According to a recent report by the European Commission, the Geographical Indications (GIs) and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSGs) schemes offer a wide range of benefits for stakeholders, including a fair return and competition for farmers and producers.

Although they are not applied systematically in all Member States, they do provide a clear EU added value. GIs and TSGs ensure the integrity of the internal EU market and provide common standards for trade with third countries, said the report.

Based on an external study and additional sources of information, this evaluation contributes to the on-going revision of the European GI system for agricultural products, including Irish grass-fed beef, Iberian and Serrano ham and Feta cheese, as well as wines and spirit drinks and its related impact assessment.

The evaluation concluded that the objectives of GIs and TSGs have been achieved effectively. They deliver a wide range of possible benefits for stakeholders such as a fair return and competition for farmers and producers.

Main limitations are the low consumer awareness and understanding of the schemes in some Member States, the complex and long registration procedures and certain weaknesses in controls at the downstream stages of the value chain.

© European Commission

The other core policy objectives – upholding GI as intellectual property right, safeguarding the integrity of the internal market, and helping the producers of TSG products to safeguard traditional methods of production and recipes – are broadly achieved.

During the period 2010 to 2020, the number of registered GI names increased by 27% to over 3000, while the number of registered TSG names doubled, albeit only to 60 registrations.

However, the specific objective of the TSG scheme is not fully achieved. According to the European Commission, the main element hindering the success of the scheme is the perceived low added value for producers to register a TSG. This stems from a combination of different factors such as the low consumer awareness of TSG and its complex registration process.

Nevertheless, GIs/TSGs are assessed to be efficient, with the various benefits for producers outweighing the costs of a complex and lengthy registration procedure, and low costs for public bodies (at EU and national levels) at an estimated 0.12% of the total sales value.

The evaluation assessed the schemes as relevant for both private stakeholders and public authorities and did not identify any major incoherence between GIs and EU trademarks, GIs/TSGs and national/regional schemes, or GIs/TSGs and other EU policies.

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