Geographical Indications (GIs) as a tool for Economic Development

GI, can be a powerful and effective tool of economic growth and rural development for the poorer and smaller producers in developing countries.  GI "Tierra de Murcia" SpainAccording with the Technical Forum “Geographical Indication and its Contribution to Food Security”, (1) the TRIPS Agreement has opened significant legal opportunities also for developing countries; however, they need to learn how to benefit from these opportunities. So that GIs can function as economic development tool it is not sufficient to establish regulatory frameworks, but it needs to be integrated with rural development work including organization of producers, development of code of practices and distribution of power along the food supply and value chain.

In conclusion the Forum considered that a GI can be an excellent opportunity for producers, however, it is not a solution in itself. Success of geographical indications depends, to a great extent, on local conditions and circumstances and on how GIs are managed. GI in many countries has brought significant benefits for rural areas and producers, but in other countries it has created disadvantages for some of them. GI can become an important driver for rural development where the role of tradition, as a source of innovation in rural areas, has to be emphasized.

(1) Source: Technical Forum “GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO FOOD SECURITY»,  “Global food security – A global challenge for politics and industry”, 16 January 2009, Berlin, Germany.

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Claudio Iglesias Darriba