The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Union (EU) have joined forces to support the development of the first ever Geographical Indication (GI) system in Afghanistan.
Thanks to this new agreement, the Afghan Government will be able to set up a national GI system that will help to facilitate increased income generation for smallholder producers and agribusinesses in the prioritized GI value chain.
The joint FAO-EU support will be provided in two phases. This first phase will involve a series of interventions regarding GI legislation, policies, capacity development, product identification, control, quality assurance, verification and certification. The second phase of the project, which is expected to begin in 2020-2021, will focus on increasing the income of smallholder producers and agribusinesses through the development of two pilot GI value chains, improved market access and increased recognition of Afghan GI by consumers.
A Geographical Indication (GI) is a name or sign used for certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country). Examples are Champagne which can only be labelled as such if the grapes were grown in the area of France bearing the same name, or Darjeeling Tea which can only be grown in the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India. The use of a GI acts as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.
“This project will bring profitable income to the rural areas. Today our main problem is the lack of access to the regional and international markets, and this is due to the low awareness of the people and non-standardmethods of the processing and packaging of the products. This new project undoubtedly will be a new opportunity to the Afghan products”,said Naseer Ahmad Durrani, Afghanistan’s Minister for Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL).
”Through its support to agriculture, the EU is committed to contribute to the improvement of rural livelihoods, food security and farm incomes, and thus to the overall economic development of Afghanistan. This project will support Afghan farmers by recognizing the high quality of their produces and thereby fostering market opportunities, said Pierre Mayaudon, Ambassador and Head of EU Delegation, at the signing ceremony of the project.
“Afghanistan is known for its long historical heritage and it has a large number of food and agriculture products, handicrafts and precious stones, among others, that can easily qualify for GI and significantly increase their value and markets within and outside the country,” said Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.
The project will be implemented under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) with technical support by FAO. The project is funded by the European Union (EU).