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Development of origin-labelled products: Humanity, innovation and sustainability

Traditional and typical agri-food products are an important resource for agricultural and rural development in many areas of the European Union: these products have strong ties with their area of origin and their name very often coincides with that of a specific geographical area. Accordingly, these products are referred to here as Origin Labelled Products (OLPs) even when there is no specific legal instrument protecting their name.
OLPs activate a complex system of relationships, which interest and involve the local production systems where these products are made, their marketing and distribution systems, rural development dynamics, and consumers/citizens.
This system is affected and conditioned by many public policies, not only at EU and international level, but also at national and local level: agricultural policies, rural development policies, competition and health policies are among the most important of these.
Within food quality policy, the European Union has recently strengthened its action to protect OLPs, in particular through EC Regulation 2081/92, by introducing PDOs and PGIs as two legal instruments for protection.
Traditional and typical agro-food products (OLPs) have been closely studied in recent years by many researchers in many EU members states and other European countries. Many different points of view have been reached on various issues, but many others have until now been overlooked or less developed. There is a need to find out, synthesise and discuss the main research results, both in order to re-direct research efforts and to concentrate on relevant issues for academics and policy-makers alike.

The objectives are:
1) to understand the characteristics, evolution, problems and opportunities for OLPs
2) to provide tools for an assessment of public policies concerning OLPs
3) to provide relevant recommendations to the EU to support the negotiations regarding the protection and promotion of OLPs in the forthcoming WTO round. These objectives will be achieved through the setting-up of a network of scientists carrying out researches on OLPs; the activation of dissemination instruments to meet the needs of all the operators involved in OLPs (policy-makers, researchers, firms, etc.). The main outputs will be a report on OLPs' characteristics and opportunities, a report on policy effects on OLPs, a document to support the next WTO round, and a website detailing the dissemination.

The main findings can be summarised as follows:
In order to achieve GIs objectives, a central aspect is the renegotiation of the TRIPS agreement (which includes the international register and extension of art. 23 protection to all products). The legitimacy of the OLP's contribution to social goals has to be based on strong evidence and systematically promoted in the framework of international negotiations.
Social objectives have to be much more carefully defined by politicians in the future and workable assessment tools have to be developed, on the basis of endogenous development principles. Consumer attitudes and behaviour have to be analysed much more intensively than today, so that specific marketing means for OLPs (product attributes, promotion, brands, distribution channels), can be developed.
Strong OLP supply chains must be able to market efficiently specific products on local markets as well as on remote markets.
Finally, public policies must be clearly orientated towards OLP development (and not only protection). This means firstly that the great diversity of OLP supply chains must be taken into account (with regard to their different needs tied to their main governance type and developing stages) and secondly that competition, consumer, rural development and agricultural policies have to work coherently in that direction in all EU countries.

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Scientist responsible for the project

44316 Le Mans CEDEX 03
France - FR

Phone: + 33 2 43 39 94 00
Fax: + 33 2 43 39 94 09


Project ID QLRT-1999-30593
Area 5.5
Start date 01 December 2000
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 600 000 €
Total EC contribution   600 000 €
Status Completed
Web address of the project

The partners

  • Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche - UniversitÓ di Firenze, Italy - IT
  • Servicio de Investigacion Agroalimentaria, Diputacion General de Aragon, Spain - ES
  • UniversitÓ degli Sutdi di Parma, Istituto di Economia Agraria e Forestale, Italy - IT
  • Estašao Agronomica Nacional, Departemento de Economia e Sociologia Agrarias, Portugal - PT

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