The development of geographical indications in the African, Caribbean and Pacific States - FACILITE IG
The purpose of geographical indications (GIs) is to recognise and promote local products whose quality, reputation or characteristics are intrinsically linked to their territory of origin: they are both a quality initiative for localised value chains and a development opportunity for producers.
Several African countries have already registered GIs, but the potential of high-quality products is still underexploited and GIs are not sufficiently developed, due to a lack of: appropriate legislation, training for actors both at the state level and in the value chains in question, logistics, stable quality standards, and traceability and monitoring systems. These potential IG value chains also come up against poor market structuring and insufficiently formalised, unstable working and commercial relations between economic operators, as well as difficulties controlling counterfeiting and fraud.
In the least developed countries, the establishment of GIs is therefore a multidimensional legal, technical, organisational and commercial challenge, and often needs to be backed by broader, systemic projects, as well as by public agricultural policies or territorial strategies.
The fund, amounting to €5 million, provides a technical and financial support system for “small” scale projects (€100,000) to “medium” scale projects (€500,000, and exceptionally up to €1 million), with help in project design, technical or scientific assistance, in particular from CIRAD and its partners, and direct financial support.
The GI fund targets different project leaders (producer organisations, NGOs, states, intellectual property organisations or institutions in charge of GIs), with the following goals:
- Establishing a legal and institutional framework conducive to the development of GIs.
- Building capacity for actors in GI value chains and GI support networks.
- Registering new pilot GIs and developing the GI value chains concerned.
- Contributing to research for the development of GIs in Africa.
Thanks to this fund, and to the projects already underway in this field, AFD and CIRAD are actively contributing to a platform set up by the African Union to develop GIs in Africa, with the support of the two major African intellectual property organisations, the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).
The IG fund is expected to support between 8 and 15 projects for a maximum duration of 36 months. These projects will all improve income for small producers by protecting them from fluctuations in world prices, with a positive impact on the development of territories and on the environment.
By supporting the development of a GI and structuring its value chain, the fund helps to structure the sectors in question and to bring together the actors concerned (technical and financial partners, value chain actors, and institutional actors in the country), especially for the definition of specifications and for promotional efforts, to build strong commercial momentum.
With the creation of geographical indications, the fund is working towards strategic convergence calling for a good deal of dialogue, which may be a difficult and lengthy process.