The European Commission has published today a report exploring the possibility of introducing "product of island farming" as a new optional quality term, as requested by the current legislation on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs.
Reviewing the specificities of agriculture in islands, the report presents the advantages and drawbacks of creating a new such label at EU level and opens the debate on whether this is the right solution to help island producers to communicate better the added value of their products.
It seems unrealistic to establish specific characteristics common to all island products, the rport concludes.
A new quality term could help to protect island farming products against misuse.
It could also be helpful for some small scale producers, in particular on small islands without a sufficient scale to use other quality schemes, but it could also penalise producers already engaged in quality schemes.
As the majority of island products are sold locally or within specific Member States, the regulation of such labelling may be better addressed at Member State level, the report adds, adding that islands' structural problems might be better addressed by existing structural instruments.
The report will now be forwarded for discussion in Council and in the European Parliament.