Geographical Indications

PROJECT: Serbia – Strengthening quality standards in the agri-food sector




The project aims to make the country’s agri-food sector more efficient and inclusive, and to facilitate public-private activities on quality and origin-linked labels, consolidation and development. FAO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) continue to transfer and share knowledge, working with legislators on food quality and safety standards, promoting public-private policy dialogue on quality and origin-linked labels, and developing capacity on strengthening food safety systems.


Since January 2014, FAO and the EBRD have increasingly focused on improving food safety and quality standards in the Western Balkans and Western Caucasus (Montenegro, Serbia) to boost the competitiveness of the region’s agribusinesses. The two organizations have promoted inclusion of smallholders in local and regional value chains as well as greater market participation. FAO and the EBRD have been consolidating the development of quality and origin-based labels in both regions, strengthening the capacity of associations to access markets for their certified products and promoting public and private quality labels and certified Geographical Indication (GI) products. Emerging market opportunities include those in the tourism and hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) industries. 
In the horticultural sector, the two organizations have been working on improving the efficiency and inclusiveness of the sector`s value chain through the development of origin-based labels (GIs), providing technical assistance to build the capacity of public and private stakeholders engaged in the protection of GIs. The GI products include raspberries from Arilje (Ariljska Malina), sour cherries from Oblacina (Oblacinska Visnja) and the ajvar pepper paste from Kopaonik. Some processing companies, such as Nectar, have certified their produce (Ariljska Malina) in 2017 and have already developed new products with the GI label.


The project’s objectives are to develop GI labels in line with European Union standards– working side by side with producers and processors - and to market and promote them locally and, where possible, internationally.
Support to producers’ associations on certification, marketing and promotion of premium products focused on:

  • Ariljska malina – raspberries from Arilje
  • Oblacinska visnja - sour cherry from Oblacina
  • candidate: Racina ajvar -pepper paste from Racine


Improved enabling environment and legal framework

    Food safety for small producers strengthened through the drafting and adoption of food safety bylaws on food products of plant origin, including flexibility measures for traditional food products, that are in line with European Union legislation (February 2020). These efforts built on previous work in other sectors (fruit and vegetable preserves such as ajvar, jams, pickled products). Guidelines for implementation of the flexibility measures produced.

National and local capacity developed

  • Knowledge of producers enhanced through trainings on GI market development of certified products and quality assurance; technical meeting on quality labelling and related procedures;
  • Participation of producers and local representatives on study tours to Rotterdam and Ukraine for a Western Balkan delegation;
  • Quality and reputation of selected products assessed, ongoing support for European Union GI candidacy for the Arilje raspberry, which is also one of the first three Serbian product candidates to receive European Union level certification in 2021; and
  • Traceability and control systems for GI products strengthened, particularly for sour cherry.

Inclusive market linkages between large industry players and small-scale producers developed

  • Partnerships created with key market players, retailers and processors to increase effectiveness by helping Nectar become a member of the GI Sour Cherry Association, supporting the certification of sour cherry and developing new products with the GI label; technical guidance provided through one-on-one discussions with the sectors and firms interested and already engaged in the quality labelling.
  • Increased sales and international markets tapped. The Arilje Raspberry Association began exporting frozen GI raspberries to France after the label was applied. Following this success, the Nectar company also developed juices made with the Oblacinska sour cherry, generating more business for local producers and increasing its raspberry juices sales by 40 percent.



Enhancing producers' knowledge and producer associations on certification, marketing and promotion of premium products
  • Conducted trainings on GI market development of certified products and quality assurance
  • Held technical meetings and workshops on quality labelling and related procedures
  • Supported the creation of fruit and vegetable associations interested in applying for the GI label
Assessing quality and reputation of selected products, developing internal certification controls and building partnerships with key market players, retailers and processors
  • Provided technical support for the European Union GI candidacy of Arilje raspberry
  • Assisted Nectar in becoming a member of the GI Sour Cherry Association
  • Supported the certification of Oblacinka from Oblacina sour cherry

Promoting GIs

  • Belgrade Food Show, Novi Sad Fair – marketing of GI products
  • Arlam Art Festival – GI raspberry promotion with celebrity testimonials
  • Press conference – launch of GI products
  • Development of GI communication plan
  • Development of promotional ideas (photoshoot, videos, TV campaigns, social media)
  • Development of GI association websites for Arilje raspberry and Oblacinka from Oblacina sour cherry to strengthen marketing
  • Support EBRD clients to boost outreach of Ariljska Malina (raspberry) and Oblacinska visnja (sour cherry) products for domestic market consolidation and promotion


  • Business continuity pays off.
  • Keep building on the lessons learned and maintain an iterative approach.
  • Capitalize on purchasing power of agribusiness companies and retail chains to maximise outreach and marketing channels for GI products.
  • Build on sectoral synergies with HORECA and agritourism to enhance GI projects.
  • Food and agricultural products deeply rooted in their places of origin and the physical environment where production takes place, including mountains and remote areas, must be valued first and foremost by their producers; instilling an increased sense of pride and ownership is key.
  • Tap into the production knowledge of small producers and processors to preserve and promote tradition. Their specific know-how and roles as guardians of food heritage must be supported and enhanced via project work. Study tours are useful eye openers.
  • Flexibility and hygiene standards and derogations are necessary to translate traditional practices into marketable products.


Serbia Raspberries
Project contributing to:
this project contributes to SDG


2014- to date



European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Central European Initiative

Ministry of Agriculture

Intellectual Property Office

Nectar (Juice company)

Atlantic Grupa company

Product Associations

Farmers, processors, agribusiness companies, small and medium enterprises, practitioners supporting rural development, rural communities, national authorities in charge of intellectual property or agriculture


Related links

Project page

Video: supporting Serbia’s cherry production

Video: Ariljska Malina, promotional video

GI press release 



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