Specific quality schemes and voluntary standards can represent tools for contributing to food security, by providing better income to producers and by contribution to the preservation and promotion of some specific assets according to their main thrusts (environmental, social or cultural dimensions). These approaches are quite recent and there is need for sharing experiences among Member countries, identifying best practices and providing with guidance tools. In particular, issues related to origin-linked quality and geographical indications (GIs) are becoming increasingly important for member countries to protect GI as requesting by the TRIPs agreement of WTO and for preserving their food heritage.
The main objective is to assist member countries and stakeholders in implementing both local and institutional-level specific quality schemes that are appropriate to their economic, social and cultural contexts and contribute to rural development through the preservation and promotion of their specific assets and related resources.
Strategy and activities
The strategy is based on the collection and analysis of information on member countries experiences to provide guidance tools, and on the contribution to the design and management of technical cooperation projects in the countries. With regard to the knowledge part, the following activities are implemented:
collection of information on the experience of member countries:
regional seminars, expert meetings, establishment of stakeholders’ networks
case studies with concrete examples, and analysis of advantages, constraints and success or failure factors
development of support tools (handbook "Linking People, Place and Products", guidelines etc.)
awareness raising and provision of information to stakeholders
With regard to the technical parts, various projects have been supported:
Support to development and the implementation of a recognition system for specific quality signs and origin-based labels in Morocco.
Support to development and implementation of a control system for origin-based quality products
Elaboration of a national strategy: “promotion of a strategy for the valorization of quality products”
Capacity-building of the local stakeholders to develop mountain quality products – Example of Saffron
Development of a GI for the Labneh value-chain
Establishment of a national strategy for promotion and preservation of specific quality products: the case of Yak products