Geographical Indication Will Protect Local Produce


Senior Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Wayne Henry, has said that the initiative that is underway to have Jamaican agricultural produce identified by geographical indication (GI) will protect local produce in international markets.
“We are very excited about the benefits of geographical indication to local produce, as it seeks to establish quality, reputation and other valuable characteristics of Jamaican produce,” Dr. Henry stated, as he addressed a recent seminar put on by the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville.
JIPO is working with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property on the GI initiative, which Dr. Henry said, is another effort by the Government to protect farmers. “The introduction of geographical indication to agriculture is good news for the hard working farmers of Jamaica,” he pointed out, while explaining that GI “allows the consumers to associate a name or some other sign to a particular product and to make a link with quality.”
According to Dr. Henry, when a product has an established reputation, quality, or other characteristic, producers are able to demand premium prices, and consumers are willing to pay for the product bearing the GI.
“Jamaican produce including coffee, yam, ginger, scotch bonnet peppers, and pimento, have acquired valuable reputation all over the world, but have not been adequately protected. As a result, they have been misrepresented by dishonest commercial operators. Our Blue Mountain Coffee suffers the biggest loss and should be the first to attract protection as a GI,” he pointed out.
In the meantime, Dr. Henry is encouraging farmers to increase production of items such as yam, coffee, ginger, scotch bonnet peppers, and pimento, which stand to benefit under the GI initiative. “They have very good investment opportunities and are among the crops the Ministry is encouraging farmers to produce,” he informed.
Geographical indication is a name or sign used on certain products, which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin such as a town, region, or country. The use of a GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.

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