Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Promoting Geographical Indicators for Asian foods

Thung Kula Rong-Hai Hom Mali rice, Kampot Pepper gain protection

Promoting Geographical Indicators for Asian foods

Bangkok, Thailand, 25 Sep 2013 -- The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, The Department of Intellectual Property of the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand and the French Embassy in Thailand announce today the upcoming launch of a project designed to promote rural development by promoting the concept of Geographical Indicators (GI), or as it is known in French: Appellation d’origine controllee (AOC), across the Asia region. The announcement comes on the occasion of “C’est bon!,” the French foodies week in Bangkok.

The project, an initiative of FAO, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Thai Ministry of Commerce, will be launched at the international conference on  “Geographical Indications: Added Value for Food and Agriculture products,” which will take place on 30 September 2013 at the United Nations Building, Rajadamnern Nok Avenue from 8.30 to 17.00.

Geographical Indication protection supports a comprehensive policy guaranteeing the quality and origin of agricultural and agro-food products but also handicrafts that receive the designation. It was first developed in France more than a century ago and was later adopted by the European Union, before reaching the shores of Southeast Asia just two decades ago. The ASEAN region is now one of the most active regions in the world when it comes to GI registration, accounting for more than 100 official National GIs. Thailand leads the region with 50 GIs registered, having gained protection in early 2013 for its first GI registration in the European Union for Thung Kula Rong-Hai Hom Mali rice ข้าวสังข์หยดเมืองพัทลุง and later for some handicrafts such as Lamphun Brocade Thai Silk. Cambodian Kampot Pepper is also a protected product under Geographical Indication.

While the term Geographical Indication is not widely known or well understood by the general public, many GI protected names are renown, such as Champagne, Roquefort, Cognac,  Darjeeling, Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, and Gruyere, to name just a few. In France alone, GI products contribute more than 15 billion Euros annually to the country’s gross domestic product.

The event on 30 September will promote GI as an important value-added instrument for food and agriculture. The strong and often complex links between the local environment and human know- how, from which the GI results, provides answers to consumers who are looking for high quality, traceable and traditional products. GI is also an important tool to help local producers switch from quantitative to qualitative strategies and to increase opportunities in existing and new markets.

Additionally, the GI system benefits rural development, tourism, biodiversity and the preservation of cultural heritage, which will be emphasized during the event by a panel of local and international speakers from the public and private sectors involved in the production, transformation and consumption of food and agricultural products.

For security reasons, unless you have valid Thai, or UN press credentials,
you will have to have your name listed in advance.
So please confirm your participation before the
25th of September by sending an e-mail to the contact below.

The conference will be conducted with simultaneous translation in English, French and Thai

John O. Riddle
Interim FAO Information Officer
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Office: +66 2697 4126
Mobile: +66 8 1899 7354
Skype Name: JohntheRiddle