European Union agri-food quality schemes for the protection and promotion of geographical indications and traditional specialities: an economic perspective

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The schemes for identifying and protecting the names of agricultural products and foods having specific qualities, have been launched by European Union as a part of its complex agricultural quality policy. The main objective of this article is to examine different aspects of three of the schemes, developed for products with specific characteristics resulting from a particular origin or farming method: PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) and TSG (Traditional Speciality Guarantied). The focus is mainly on the economic issues of the production and marketing of products and foodstuffs registered under particular schemes. The methodology includes studying the existing literature and European regulations on the subject, collecting and analysing statistical data as well as examining a short practical case.

The economic theory suggests that PDO/PGI/TSG registration results in the higher ability of producers to compete in the market. The increasing number of registrations confirms the growing interest of producers in using it as a tool to create competitive advantage. However, a higher price for such products compared with a standard product, does not always translate into a market success, since producing them requires farmers to follow a certain specification and this may involve additional costs. The analysis of the Vistula Cherry case found that there are significant market opportunities for certified producers of high quality fruits due to excellent characteristics of their products, but at the same time they face certain external and internal challenges and need to further develop their production and marketing skills, within the framework of the local collective organization.

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