Cabinet has made its input in the move to protect Jamaican agricultural products in the international marketplace by noting a report on the benefits of having “Blue Mountain Coffee”, “Jamaica Jerk” and “Jamaica Rum” registered for geographical indications (GIs).
According to Information Minister Daryl Vaz, when in place, the GIs should eventually lead to the Jamaican certification being recognized by economic trading blocs and protect against infringement of genuine Jamaican goods traded internationally.
The products that are candidates for the Jamaican GI mark are identified with Jamaica and are internationally recognized for their tradition of high standards of quality. The campaign to register these names has to, among other things, protect the names before they are irrecoverably in widespread use. For example, Cheddar cheese that originated in the UK does not have a protected designation of origin, but Roquefort cheese produced in France does.
The report, presented by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is the first step to give these Jamaican goods protection against counterfeits; and stop similar products from other locations benefitting from the Jamaican name.
Examples of products in the USA that enjoy protection from their country GI registration are Florida oranges and Idaho potatoes. Colombian coffee has a protected designation of origin (PDO), which is similar to a GI. The use of GIs and other distinguishing labels for agricultural products and by products arose from a longstanding French tradition of designating their wine producing regions.