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Overview of origin-linked agricultural products and initiatives of interest to ACP countries


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Presentation held by Johann Kirsten, Head, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Pretoria, at the Brussels Briefing ‘Geography of food: reconnecting with origin in the food system’, organized by CTA on 15th May 2013.
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Overview of origin-linked agricultural products and initiatives of interest to ACP countries

  1. 1. Brussels Briefing n. 31Geography of food: reconnecting with origin in the foodsystem15th May 2013http://brusselsbriefings.netOverview of origin-linked agricultural products andinitiatives of interest to ACP countriesJohann Kirsten, University of Pretoria
  2. 2. Approaches to the preservation andprotection of the identity linked to origin ofagri-food products: The South AfricanexperienceCerkia Bramley and Johann KirstenDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Extension and RuralDevelopment at the University of Pretoria
  3. 3. Protection of GIs in developingcountries Various developing countries have introduced legalprotection to recognise and protect the cultural andcommercial value of indigenous resources.• Some have chosen sui generis systems and others followedUS approach of protection under trade mark laws.Well known protected developing country GIs India – Basmati rice Ceylon tea – Sri Lanka Tequila – Mexico
  4. 4. But why protect GIs? GIs the result of a process whereby collective reputationis institutionalised in order to solve problems that arisefrom information asymmetry and free riding onreputation. This highlights a fundamental feature of geographicalindications protection in that it functions as both: Consumer protection measure (through addressinginformation asymmetries and quality) and Producer protection measure (through its role inprotecting reputation as an asset)
  5. 5. But why protect GIs? The economic rationale for protecting GIs further derivesfrom the fact that the resources of the region may becaptured in the origin labelled product as qualityattributes (Pacciani et al, 2001). Added value derived from this leads to a differentiationbased on product “qualities” and consequently to thecreation of niche markets. Could potentially lead to capturing a price premium andimproved livelihoods.
  6. 6. Geographical indications in South Africa In contrast to some European countries, SA does not have along history of protecting GIs. So is this a concept that is applicable to the South Africancontext? Need for GI protection initially arose from SA experience ofusurpation of reputation of well known origin based products.
  7. 7. Near loss of IP in name Rooibos US trade mark dispute highlighted the potential threat to theindustry‟s legal rights in the name Rooibos. Rooibos registered as a trade mark in the US Effectively prevented the marketing of Rooibos products underRooibos name in the US Costly 10 year legal battle to expunge TM registration Near loss highlighted the need for local industries to be proactive inprotecting their cultural property rights and served as catalyst formove towards incorporation of collective IP strategies in theindustry.
  8. 8. Misappropriation of the name“Karoo” Strong evocative value of „Karoo” has significantmarketing potential which should be used to benefit ofKaroo community. But commercial value of the name “Karoo” has led towidespread misappropriation. Search of TM register indicates that the name is beingappropriated by various individuals and businesses . Major retailers designed marketing strategies for lambaround use of name “Karoo”.
  9. 9. Legal Mechanisms forprotecting GIs in South Africa IP Law Certification marks Collective marks Food and Consumer Protection Laws Agricultural Products Standards Act Consumer Protection Act Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act
  10. 10. Protecting the regional identityof Karoo Lamb Trade mark system: Certification mark Registered protocol under AgriculturalProducts Standards Act
  11. 11. Protecting the regional identityof Karoo Lamb R146- FCD Act: unlawful to use the wordsKaroo Lamb in the labelling andadvertising of foodstuffs, unless it is donein terms of a protocol or specific regulation Consumer Protection Act – generalprovisions against misleading labelling
  12. 12. Protecting Rooibos Considerable preparatory work forregistration of certification mark Industry failed to complete the process inSA – approach of waiting for Governmentto take action Lack of domestic protection – cannot applyfor protection in EU
  13. 13. Concluding remarks No Sui Generis system in SA Process of protecting regional identitydone via existing legislation Combination of : Trade mark law Consumer Protection law Food law
  14. 14. Concluding remarks Karoo lamb v Rooibos experience: Need to be proactive and not reactive inprotecting GIs Protection in country of origin crucial to fightoff international usurpation attempts Cannot take a position of relying on stateaction- industries need to take responsibilityfor protecting their collective IP