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Georgia: Public Authorities Discuss Legal Aspects of Geographical Indications

09/02/2017

On 9 January 2016, Georgian state authorities and international experts discussed and analysed the legal and institutional frame on Geographical Indications (GI) in Georgia.  The meeting was organized with the support of the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), jointly by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Geographical Indications (GI) are food quality labels associating specific products to the geographical location of production, and particular qualities or reputation linked to their origin and traditional methods of production. Defined internationally as an Intellectual Property Right, GIs can be protected against counterfeiting through the effective implementation of quality certification and control systems. More than 40 Georgian products have been registered as GIs in Georgia – Chacha, Churchkhela, Meskhetian Chechili, Megrelian Sulguni, Machakhela Honey, Akhalkalaki Potatoes, etc. - but they are not yet being used as a marketing tool and do not generate significant economic benefits in terms of price premium, value chain efficiency, and access to markets.

With the aim to improve legal and institutional frames, promote and protect these products and to make them more beneficial, FAO-ENPARD team worked on recommendations addressed to the gaps identified and the options for certification.

"Georgia has significant GI potential, with a lot of traditional agri-food products, including cheese, honey, nuts and various vegetables," said Lasha Dolidze, FAO-ENPARD Project Manager. "We need to improve legal and institutional frames to promote and protect these products and to make them more beneficial. In this regards, we provided the recommendations addressed to the gaps identified and the options for certification."

FAO’s presentations and recommendations on the legal and institutional frameworks for GIs were followed by the discussion within the attending parties representing the Ministry of Agriculture, Scientific Research Center, National Food Agency, National Wine Agency and Agrarian Committee of the Parliament of Georgia.

Building on the work of FAO-ENPARD project, and following success of joint EBRD – FAO efforts in the development of geographical indications in several countries of Central and South Europe including Georgia, EBRD will start new 36 months - project, with an ultimate goal to enhance the sustainability of the Georgian dairy value chain through the development and enhanced protection of Geographical Indications (GIs).

"Enhancing the efficiency of Georgia’s system for GIs, combined with an effective marketing strategy, can help to strengthen the quality and safety standards and increase consumers’ confidence labels. This can be achieved through the establishment of reliable control and certification systems for GIs, but also by boosting added-value for products," said Victoria Zinchuk, Head of Agribusiness Advisory, EBRD.

The Conclusions of the meeting drew the work plan for FAO-EBRD team to support GI system in dairy sector.

Registration of GIs is led by the National Intellectual Property Center in Georgia – Sakpatenti – the public administration in charge of intellectual property rights, while the Ministry of Agriculture provides relevant technical opinions for the registration. 

The FAO’s capacity building support to the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia is funded by the European Union’s ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 102 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge