Collective local action to promote origin-linked quality

Identification, promotion and preservation of the origin-linked specific quality of a product entail local-level collective action on the part of producers.

Product specifications and area delimitation

Definition and preservation of the origin-linked specific quality of the product mean drawing up specifications (code of practice) defining the criteria of this specific quality. The producers in the area concerned must thus collectively define the rules guaranteeing the expected specific quality by defining the geographical zone concerned, the characteristics of the product, production and processing methods, and the link to the area’s physical resources (climate, local land conditions, varieties, breeds etc.) or non-physical resources (traditions, culture, know-how etc.).

This process is critical both for preserving and guaranteeing the specific quality for the consumer and also for organizing the actors and ensuring area-level management of local resources.

Local organization

From the point of view of local organization in the production area, the formulation of specifications must allow for consideration of the role of the various links in the food chain and their practices and know-how involved in the specific quality of the product. It is therefore an opportunity for the actors, especially small-scale producers, to organize a system of recognition and of fair redistribution of added value. It is also important to involve traders and distributors in the promotion of products of origin-linked quality from the earliest stages of any action. Otherwise, these actors will not see the advantage in differentiating products of origin-linked specific quality from generic products. This is especially important for geographical indications (GI) in countries where the protection of intellectual property rights is still weak. Involvement of the whole value chain in establishing the scheme then increases the commitment of all stakeholders to ensuring the quality of the product from farm to table.