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The protection of Geographical Indications (GI): Generating Empirical Evidence at Country and Product Level to Support African ACP Country Engagement in the Doha Round Negotiations

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     FINANCED FROM THE 9TH EDF – 9 ACP RPR 140

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The protection of Geographical Indications (GI): Generating Empirical Evidence at Country and Product Level to Support African ACP Country Engagement in the Doha Round Negotiations  

 

Ref: 9 ACP RPR 140 - 011-10

 

Draft Final Report

 

06 June 2011

 

Prepared by: Professor Michael L. Blakeney

                     Dr. Thierry Coulet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


HCL logo-Correct

This project is funded by

The European Union

A project implemented by

HCL Consultants

                                                                                                                                                                                   


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:

“This Report was prepared with the financial assistance of the European Commission. The views expressed in this report are those of the consultants and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission.”




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft Final Report

 

Service Contract no 011/10/WP1/12

 

By

 

Professor Michael L. Blakeney

Dr. Thierry Coulet

 

 

 

 

Presented by

 

HCL Consultants Ltd, Cyprus

 

HCL logo-Correct

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

project information

 

 

Project Title:

The protection of Geographical Indications (GI): Generating Empirical Evidence at Country and Product Level to Support African ACP Country Engagement in the Doha Round Negotiations

 

Project No.

Ref: 9 ACP RPR 140 – 011 -10

 

Beneficiary:

ACP Group

 

 

Contracting Authority

Project Partner

Contractor

Name:

PMU of the ACP MTS Programme

ACP Group

HCL Consultants Ltd.

 

Address:

 

ACP MTS Programme
33, rue Frédéric Pelletier
1030 Brussels

Belgium

37-39 Rue de Vermont

CH-1202 Geneva

Switzerland

 

Kallipoleos & Iphigenias 1, 1055 Nicosia

CYPRUS

 

Tel. number:

 

(+32-2) 736 93 56
 

(+41-22) 748 14 90

 

+30 210 924 08 85

Fax number:

 

(+ 32-2) 736 93 56

(+41-22) 748 14 99

 

+30 210 924 07 69

Email address:

 

contact@acp-mts-programme.org

n.ndirangu@acp-mts-programme.org

acpgen@bluewin.ch

kisiri@bluewin.ch

 

nick.craze@hcl-consultants.com  ;

eleni.gerakari@hcl-consultants.com

Contacts:

 

Mr Nelson Ndirangu

 

 

Amb. Marwa Joel KISIRI

Mr Nick Craze

Ms Eleni Gerakari

 

Date of report:                                   06 June 2011

 

Author of report:                               Professor Michael Blakeney: michael.blakeney@uwa.edu.au.

Professor Thierry Coulet: thierry.coulet@euriane.fr

 

Date of contract signature:              17 August 2010

 

Start of performance period:          6 September 2010

 

Project completion:                           24 May 2011

 

 


 

Contents

 

1                    Introduction. 16

2                    Terms of Reference. 17

3                    The Extension Debate. 18

4                    Research Methods and Questions Addressed. 31

5                    Survey Questionnaire. 32

6                    Industries Surveyed. 37

7                    Summary of Case Studies. 38

8                    Other Studies. 58

9                    A Pragmatic Methodology for Assessing the Economic Impact of GIs Protection. 60

10                 Peer Review.. 73

11                 Conclusions. 87

12                 Checklist of Matters to be Considered in Establishing a GIs System.. 94

13                 Certification and Quality Control 96

 

 

 

 

LIST OF ANNEXES

 

Annex 1         Draft Workplan and Mission Schedule. 100

Annex 2         Questionnaires. 102

Annex 3         Persons Met 116

Annex 4         Case Studies. 131

Annex 5         Road Map. 262

Annex 6         Bibliography. 264

Annex 7         Conference Agenda. 266



Abbreviations

 

ACP                       African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States

AGOA                   African Growth Opportunity Act

ARIPO                   African Regional Intellectual Property Office

AU                         African Union

CBD                       Convention on Biological Diversity

CBK                       Coffee Board of Kenya

CDF                        Clove Development Fund

CGA                        Clove Growers Association

CIAT                       Centre for Tropical Agriculture

Cocobod                Ghana Cocoa Board

COMESA             Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa

CQCA/QCA           Clove Quality Control Agency

CRIG                       Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana

EAC                        East African Community

ECOWAS         Economic Community of West African States

EU                          European Union

FAO                       United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation

FARC                     Food and Agricultural Research Council

GDP                        Gross Domestic Product

GIs                         Geographical Indications

GSP                       Generalized System of Preferences

ICIPE                     International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Nairobi)

ICCO                      International Cocoa Organization

ICO                        International Coffee Organization

ISSCT                     International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists

IORARC                                Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation

IP                            Intellectual Property

IPRs                       Intellectual Property Rights

ITPGRFA              International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

KIPI                       Kenya Intellectual Property Institute

KWAL                   Kenya Wine Agencies Limited

LDCs                      Least developed countries

MAIF                     Ministry of Agro-Industry and Fisheries

MCA                     Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture

Abbreviations

 

MCCI                     Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry

MECHR                                Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources

MFARI&IT          Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade

MSIRI                   Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute

MSS                      Mauritius Sugar syndicate

NEPAD                 New Partnership for Africa’s Development

OAPI                     Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle

ORIGIN                                Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network

PBRs                     Plant Breeders Rights

PCT                        Patent Cooperation Treaty

R&D                      Research and Development

RGZ                        Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar

S&DT                    Special & Differential Treatment

S&T                       Science and Technology

SADC                    Southern Africa Development Community

SIDS                      Small Island Developing States

SKGI                      Swiss-Kenyan Geographical Indications Project

SMEs                    Small and Medium Enterprises

STIP                       Science Technology and Innovation Policy

TBK                        Tea Board of Kenya

TRIPS                    WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property  Rights

UNCTAD              United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

UNDP                   United Nations Development Programme

UNESCO              United Nations Education, Science & Culture Organization

UNFCCC              UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

UNIDO                                 United Nations Industrial Development Organization

UPOV                   International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants

WAMZ                 West African Monetary Zone

WB                        World Bank

WCO                     World Customs Organization

WHO                    World Health Organization

WIPO                    World Intellectual Property Organization

WTO                     World Trade Organization

ZADS                      Zanzibar Agriculture Development Strategy

ZCCFSP                   Zanzibar Cash Crops Farming Systems Project

Abbreviations

 

ZCFA/CFA             Zanzibar Clove Farmers Association

ZCPA                      Zanzibar Clove Producers Association

ZCMB/ZCB            Zanzibar Clove Marketing Board

ZSTC                       ZSTC State Trading Corporation


Executive Summary

This is the draft final Report on the project: “The protection of Geographical Indications (GI): Generating Empirical Evidence at Country and Product Level to Support African ACP Country Engagement in the Doha Round Negotiations” on the establishment of the multilateral register for wines and spirits and the proposed extension of protection to products other than wines and spirits under Article 23 of TRIPS. The overall objective of the project was to generate empirical evidence, based on country/sub-regional and product case studies, regarding the benefits that African members of the ACP Group can obtain from enhanced multilateral Geographical Indication (GI) protection. Among the specific objectives of the project are: (i) an assessment of “the suitability of existing international GI protection regimes for the effective protection of African GIs and provision of recommendations for needed changes; and (ii) “recommendations on the optimum international framework to enable African countries to capture value out of GIs.” This draft final Report: (i) analyses the extension debate with a view to making recommendations on the negotiating position of the ACP African countries; (ii) outlines the methodology adopted for the case studies; (iii) describes the case studies; and (iv) draws conclusions about the role of GIs in the economic development of the industries studied.

On the subject of the extension debate the conclusions reached were:

  1. The only explanation which has been offered for the differential treatment of wines and spirits under the GIs provisions of the TRIPS Agreement compared with other products is the vagaries of the Uruguay Round negotiations. No issues of principle have been advanced to explain this discrepancy. On the other hand matters of principle have been advanced to justify the elimination of this differential traetment through the extension process.
  2. The arguments which have been advanced against the extension of the protection in Article 23 to products other than wines and spirits - such as cost and administrative burdens - have not been established.
  3. The conception of the multilateral register as being confined to wines and spirits is a narrow but correct interpretation of the Doha mandate. There are no issues of principle which justify this narrow conception of the register and it is possible to include the extension of the register as part of the general extension debate.
  4. For developing countries and LDCs, the CBD issues of access and benefit sharing (in relation to biological resources) as well as the associated issue of protecting TK have been identified as being more important than GIs. This may well be the case, but it has to be acknowledged that the USA has not ratified the CBD and that the access and benefit-sharing issues have not made much progress at the WTO and WIPO. Similarly, the discussions about the protection of TK have been labouring in WIPO’s IGC since 2001. The coverage of both these subjects by GIs protection provides a more promising opportunity for ACP African countries to achieve some tangible gains.

The technical mission had to identify 10-15 economically significant (ACP-based) African products that have the greatest potential to benefit from GI protection. The methodology for the identification of these products is described in chapter 4 below. The primary source for the identification of these products was the industrial property offices of the respective countries. The principal products surveyed were:

Cameroon                       Oku White Honey

Gabon                               Okoumé Timber

Ghana                               Cocoa

Kenya                                Black Tea

Mauritius                        Demerara Sugar

Nigeria                             Yams

Rwanda                            Coffee

Senegal                            yêtt de Joal

Tanzania                          Cloves

 

Other possibilities for GIs protection identified by the mission team were:.

Ghana                               Kente Cloth

Kenya                                Arabica Coffee, Cut Flowers, Kiondo (sisal handbags), Kisii Soapstone Ornaments, Wamunyu handicrafts, Fermented liquors, Wild silk

Mauritius                         Baie Topaz Red Beans, Piment Rodrigues, Bois Cherie Tea, Tai So Litchi, Cut Flowers, Rodrigues Honey, Rhum St Aubin, Café de Chamarel

Nigeria                              Kola Nuts

Tanzania                          coffee, high value vegetables, cut flowers

The mission team was unable to identify and study the performance of 3-5 economically significant African products that currently enjoy GI protection either through a sui generis system, other specific laws, and case law or through the registration of collective or certification trademarks. This is because to date no GI in the countries surveyed has been under sui generis GIs legislation and the  registration of certification and/or collective marks is very recent in those countries.

Most interviewees agreed on the basis of their limited knowledge of GIs that the industries with which they were associated could probably benefit from GIs protection. However, many interviewees, both in the government and private enterprise sectors admitted a limited knowledge of GIs systems and associated costs and administrative burdens. Awareness-raising on these subjects is recommended.

The principal specific objectives of the project  were:

  • Establishing a replicable methodology (for use in Africa and other ACP regions) for analysing the dynamics of capturing economic value out of GIs; access to GI-protected products by local populations; the role of government in the GI framework; the costs of establishing and administering a GI regime in a country; and the costs of developing, registering and enforcing individual GIs. Separate questionnaires were constructed for: (i) organisations of producers, processors, distributors and exporters and other qualified experts of the products surveyed and its markets and (ii) IP bodies and public administrations in countries with existing GI regimes and administrations and countries with trademark regimes with potential for GIs protection (see Annex 2).
  • An empirical study based on country/product level case studies providing practical information and evidence regarding the above objects of analysis, as well as recommendations on the optimum international framework to enable African countries capture value out of GIs. Chapter 8 of the Report proposes a simple methodology for assessing the potential economic impact of a GI protection. After a brief review of the economic literature about the analysis of GIs, it identifies the major benefits and costs that are most usually attributed to a GI protection and finally details the quantitative and qualitative methods that can be implemented in order to assess these benefits and costs.

The conclusions reached in the Report are detailed below according to the following themes:

Legal Infrastructure

Cameroon, Gabon and Senegal, as signatories of the March 1977 Bangui Agreement on Intellectual Property - which set up the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) that governs the protection of intellectual property rights in 16 countries of Western and Central Africa - have in place regional legislation for the protection of GIs Annex VI of the Bangui Agreement, as last amended in February 1999. The scope of application of the GI Law under Article VI is more extensive than the scope of the EC system, as it applies to all agricultural, craft or industrial products (Article 1).

Ghana passed a Geographical Indications Law in 2003 and Zanzibar enacted the Industrial Property Act 2008 with GIs provisions, but neither have promulgated implementing regulations. In Rwanda, the legislative framework for registration and protection of GIs consists of Law No. 31/2009 of 26 October 2009 on Protection of Intellectual Property. Mauritius enacted a GIs Law in 2002 but this has not been implemented and since that date it has commissioned the drafting of further GIs laws in the context of drafts of industrial property legislation commissioned in 2009/10. Kenya is currently developing a draft GIs Bill. Nigeria and Tanzania, other than Zanzibar, have no national GIs legislation. In general, geographical marks are not registrable under the trade marks’ legislation of the countries surveyed, other than as collective and certification marks.

Of course, the choice of GI protection regime which countries have chosen depends partly on the legal regime which obtains in target markets. For example, the EU is quite familiar with GIs and African countries seeking to take advantage of GI registration in the EU will be obliged to establish national GI regimes as EU registration will depend upon a prior home country GI registration. On the other hand, in the USA collective and certification mark protection of GIs is the norm.

Motivating Factors for GIs Protection

The various case studies found that the promotion of products through GIs or equivalent protection was under consideration in each of the countries surveyed. Motivating factors varied, but common considerations included the necessity to promote new or existing industries because of the stresses caused by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), climate change, the cost of oil and significant changes to existing markets through the reformulation of trade arrangements.

Respondents were particularly apprehrensive about the potential impact upon their exports of the reforms to the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) beyond 2013, the EU’s denunciation of the various commodity protocols under the Cotounou Agreement and the impact of the EUs FTAs with certain Andean and Latin American countries.

However, because the GIs negotiations under TRIPS were seen to be of particular importance to the EU, some respondents considered that their adoption of GIs was a means of trade promotion which might provide marketing opportunities in the EU. The reciprocal recognition of GIs with the EU was acknowledged to have some significance in this regard.

In all countries surveyed, the use of GIs in promoting the uniqueness of their climatic advantages and local knowledge was identified as particularly advantageous to them. Additionally in those countries where fertiliser and pesticide use is minimal, some advantage is seen in the use of GIs to promote organic agriculture.

Similarly, GIs protection was seen as a means for the promotion of products as “Fairtrade”. The certification criteria of the Fairtrade system was seen to be analogous to the certification criteria in GIs systems.

Costs and Benefits of GIs Protection

Ultimately, the question of which GI protection system to adopt will depend upon a cost benefit analysis. The analysis of the benefits to be derived from GIs has to take into account the relevant value chains in the subject country. In most of the countries surveyed there are producer driven chains where dominant processors control the production of the product (eg the 5 sugar mills in Mauritius servicing in excess of 90,000 farmers)  or where the products are acquired in the country of production by a single acquirer (eg the Ghana Cocoa Board, which acquires all of the cocoa produced in Ghana or the Zanzibar State Trading Corporation which acquires all of the cloves produced in Zanzibar and Pemba) or by a few large purchasers in the country ( eg the Mauritius Sugar Syndicate, the Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited) who then sell usually to a few large purchasers. In these types of markets, GIs play only a small direct role. This style of production is currently under threat because of the decline in prices for sugar, cloves, tea and coffee. GIs are more influential in consumer driven value chains where consumer taste and preference drive the market and enterprises that directly supply the final consumer, such as retailers who are the dominant actors. GIs are being turned to as a means of defending or enhancing existing markets by shifting to consumer-driven markets.

In each of the countries surveyed there are many small scale producers with limited market power. The lion’s share of the income derived from the products which they produce is enjoyed by the few distributors and the few purchasers. The potential premium price benefits of GIs will therefore be primarily enjoyed by these few beneficiaries, but the costs of a GIs certification system will be borne in the first instance by the many small scale producers. For such a system to be feasible, a means must be developed for the producers to share the benefits of any enhanced revenues enjoyed by the distributors.

A particular problem, identified in a number of the case studies referred to in this report is the fact that the traditional way in which products have been sold is as undifferentiated produce, which is then branded by the purchasers for on-selling in overseas markets. This has enabled purchasers to select the relevant product from the lowest priced markets. If GIs are to be established for these products, the existing purchasing arrangements will have to be substantially changed. If the producers are to benefit from a premium price which will be attracted by a GI, either they will have to enter directly into the end markets as advertisers and vendors or some mechanism will have to be devised by which the producers can share the promotional costs in the end markets with the current purchasers and by which producers can share in the premium attracted by the GI.

The international evidence is that the realization of premium prices for products from a specified location does not derive solely from the establishment of a GI. In the long run, a package of coordinated actions is required including: (i) clear approval and monitoring procedures; (ii)  reliable inspection and certification to monitor the full traceability of the path of the product from the area of production to the final product on the market.; (iii) the need to strengthen promotion, advertising and education to improve and maintain the perception of quality by consumers; and (iv) to challenge any improper usage of the GI. Interviewees agreed that significant capacity building would be required in each of the countries surveyed to realise this co-ordination. Chapter 11 provides a checklist of matters to be considered in establishing a GIs system. Chapter 12 examines an EU communication on EU best practice guidelines for voluntary certification schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs which provides a useful precedent for a quality control system which may be used in a GIs system.

Infrastructural costs

The primary infrastructural costs are those involved in establishing a GIs registration system. In Cameroon, Gabon and Senegal the infrastructural costs of the GIs system are part of the general costs of OAPI, which are carried by Member States as part of their membership obligations which were incurred when OAPI was established. In the non-OAPI countries surveyed, the infrastructural costs are those required to establish GIs registries. As registries already exist in those countries for trademarks, and for certification and/or collective marks, the expense of an additional register for GIs is not going to be prohibitive. Training will be required for registry officials. Costs will also be incurred in the administration of the system. Some of these costs will be defrayed from the costs which are charged to users.

Organizational costs

GIs systems require a body which will certify and police the quality of the products which are to be protected by the GI. In all countries surveyed, collectives of farmers already exist. These collectives could equally function as certifying bodies for GIs purposes. Training will be required for the administrative officers of those collectives and educational expenses will be incurred in informing the farmers about the functioning of the GIs system and the certification standards that are to be followed. Another option is to buy in the certification services from third party providers. Funding would have to be secured for this approach to certification from appropriate donors, eg as a UNDP or FAO project.

Promotional costs

In all countries surveyed, the main advantage of GIs protection is to secure access to overseas markets. This will entail registration costs for exporters seeking to obtain reciprocal GIs protection in overseas markets. Associated with this will be the costs of promoting the GI. Given the multifunctionality of GIs, for example their role in supporting tourism through the preservation of local landscapes, these costs might be absorbed within the budgets for the promotion of tourism. The advertising and promotional costs for GIs would be expected to be quite substantial in the initial stages as a market identity is established for products not previously branded as GIs. 


Commercial benefits

The primary benefits of GIs in all countries surveyed were their potential for establishing new markets (timber, honey, organic fruits and vegetables) and in offsetting the declines in traditional markets (sugar, cloves, tea). The successes in the marketing of organic and Freetrade products in developed country markets was identified as an encouraging indication of the likely success of a GIs-based promotional scheme.

The underlying rationale of GIs protection is that premium prices can be charged for GI-protected products. This has been the European experience over many years. GIs in capturing the distinctive aspects of a product that emerge from a terroir and its associated traditional methods of production and processing that are often difficult to duplicate in other regions or countries functions in the same way as a prestige brand.

A more indirect commercial benefit of GIs is their role in maintaining and increasing rural employment.  They can have an impact on the supply other products and services in a region and thereby foster business clustering and rural integration. For example, the development of the various organic agricultural sectors in Rodrigues, will also involve the development of various agricultural skills such as composting, pest management and water management which will have spill-over effects for other industries. 

Other indirect commercial benefits are that in preserving rural employment, GI-based industries can discourage the drift of rural workers to urban centres, which can cause strains upon urban facilities and also the maintenance of rural industries will preserve rural landscapes, which can be important for tourism, such as the maintenance of the sugar landscapes in Mauritius, tea landscapes in Kenya and the cloves landscapes in Zanzibar and Pemba.

Non-commercial benefits

In the absence of international agreements providing for the protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, a number of interviewees indicated that GIs can provide a legal structure to affirm and protect the unique cultural values embodied in traditional artisanal and agricultural skills that are valued forms of expression for a particular community.

Reasons for Extension of the Special Protection for Wine and Spirits GIs

The underlying objective of this project is the empowerment of ACP country negotiators in the debates around the possible extension of the special protection currently provided under TRIPS for wines and spirits to other products. As is indicated above, on an analysis of the diplomatic and negotiation record surrounding the extension debate, there appears to be no justification for treating wines and spirits differently from other products. No evidence has been adduced by opponents of extension about the costs and burdens of extension. The evidence collected in the course of this Study leads us to recommend that the potential benefits to African ACP countries from GIs protection above outweigh the potential costs. However, this study should be treated as a pilot project. Additional products were identified by the participants at the May 9-10 2011 conference as potential beneficiaries for GIs protection. Studies of these candidate products could be undertaken on a national basis to verify the recommendations of the technical mission. Furthermore, studies may be undertaken in the countries surveyed and further studies should be undertaken in Caribbean and Pacific ACP Member countries to verify these results. Finally, as is pointed out in chapter 8 below, a number of other studies have been conducted on the costs and benefits of GIs protection and these results should be aggreggated with the results of this study to inform the negotiating position of African ACP negotiators.


1Introduction

  1. This is the draft final Report on the case studies conducted under the ACP Group project to generate empirical evidence, based on country/sub-regional and product case studies, regarding the benefits that African members of the ACP Group can obtain from enhanced multilateral Geographical Indication (GI) protection.  This information will provide a basis for the African Group to engage in the Doha negotiations on the establishment of the multilateral register for wines and spirits and the proposed extension of additional protection to products other than wines and spirits under Article 23 of TRIPS. The report: (i) outlines the methodology adopted for the studies; (ii) describes the case studies; and (iii) draws conclusions about the role of GIs in the economic development of the industries studied.
  2. The countries identified for study were: West and Central Africa: Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal; East and Southern Africa: Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda and Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
  3. The Technical Assistance Mission team comprised: Professor Michael Blakeney, Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute, Queen Mary, University of London (who co-ordinated the field studies in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe) and Professor Thierry Coulet, Consultant, Trade Economist and Statistician (who coordinated the field studies in Cameroon, Gabon, Rwanda and Senegal).
  4. The field studies were conducted with the assistance of regional experts: Cheikh Alassane Fall, Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (Senegal and Rwanda), Dr. Marcelin Tonye Mahop, ECOWAS, (Cameroon and Gabon); Mr Getachew Mengistie, Intellectual Property Law Consultant and former Head of the Ethiopian IP Office (Kenya and Tanzania) and Mr Edgar Tabaro, Uganda Christian Urriversity, Mukono (Ghana and Nigeria). Operational difficulties prevented the conduct of a survey in Zimbabwe within the project time-table.
  5. On 9 and 10 May a conference entitled “Protection of ACP Geographical Indications” was held at the WTO in Geneva. The conference agenda is attached in Annex 6. The conference was structured around the case studies described in this report, which were discussed by the peer reviewers following their presentation, (see chapter 9 below). Also addressed were: GIs in the WTO, establishing certification systems for GIs and commercial branding strategies. The conference brought together academics, practitioners, producers, processors and Government Officials to share their experience of the problems associated with marketing the unique products of ACP Countries. The conference concluded with a Round Table to discuss recommendations for the way ahead.
  6. On the basis of the case studies, the peer review of those studies and comments received at the conference of 9 and 10 May 2011 and a debriefing meeting with the ACP Secretariat on 11 May 2011, a Roadmap charting the way forward was prepared. This is reproduced at Annex 5.
  7. The workplan and mission schedule is detailed at Annex 1.


2Terms of Reference

  1. The overall objective of the project is to generate empirical evidence, based on country/sub-regional and product case studies, regarding the benefits that African members of the ACP Group can obtain from enhanced multilateral Geographical Indication (GI) protection as a basis for the African Group to engage in the Doha negotiations on the establishment of the multilateral register for wines and spirits and the proposed extension of protection to products other than wines and spirits under Article 23 of TRIPS.
  2. The specific objectives are to:
  • Identify 10-15 economically significant (ACP-based) African products that have the greatest potential to benefit from GI protection. The identification will be based on field level data collection and analysis of the product market structure; the production and distribution value chain; the availability of government support for development and marketing; and cost estimates for developing, registering and enforcing GIs on these products.
  • Identify and study the performance of 3-5 economically significant African products that currently enjoy GI protection either through a sui generis system, other specific laws, and case law or through the registration of collective or certification trademarks.
  • Identify the main challenges facing African producers or businesses, as well as governments, in using GI protection effectively in local and international markets.
  • Assess the suitability of existing international GI protection regimes for the effective protection of African GIs and provide recommendations for needed changes.
  1. The expected results of the project are:
  • A replicable methodology for analysing the dynamics of capturing economic value out of GIs; access to GI-protected products by local populations; the role of government in the GI framework; the costs of establishing and administering a GI regime in a country; and the costs of developing, registering and enforcing individual GIs.
  • An empirical study based on country/product level case studies providing practical information and evidence regarding the above objects of analysis, as well as recommendations on the optimum international framework to enable African countries capture value out of GIs.
  • The methodology will be replicable in other ACP regions to support the identification and development of GIs.


3The Extension Debate

Introduction

The Terms of Reference state that the overall objective of the project is to generate empirical evidence by the case studies described in this report as a basis for the African Group “to engage in the Doha negotiations on the establishment of the multilateral register for wines and spirits and the proposed extension of protection to products other than wines and spirits under Article 23 of TRIPS.” Among the specific objectives of the project are: (i) an assessment of “the suitability of existing international GI protection regimes for the effective protection of African GIs and provision of recommendations for needed changes; and (ii) “recommendations on the optimum international framework to enable African countries to capture value out of GIs.”

The Doha negotiations on GIs address two subjects: (i) establishment of the multilateral register for wines (and spirits)[1] under Article 23.4 of the TRIPS Agreement which provides: “In order to facilitate the protection of geographical indications for wines, negotiations shall be undertaken in the Council for TRIPS concerning the establishment of a multilateral system of notification and registration of geographical indications for wines eligible for protection in those Members participating in the system”; and (ii) the proposed extension of the additional protection provided for in Article 23.1 of TRIPS to products other than wines and spirits in the context of Article 24 of TRIPS which provides in Article 24.1 that “Members agree to enter into negotiations aimed at increasing the protection of individual geographical indications under Article 23”, as well as Article 24.2 which provides for the  Council for TRIPS to review the application of the provisions of Section 3 of the TRIPS Agreement, which deals with geographical indications, together with Article 71 of TRIPS which provides for the Council for TRIPS to review the implementation of the Agreement at two year intervals. Article 71.1 specifically provides that “the Council may also undertake reviews in the light of any relevant new developments which might warrant modification or amendment of this Agreement.”

There is the possibility of some overlap between the negotiations on the multilateral register and the so-called extension debate, as it has been argued that the multilateral register for wines and spirits could be extended to products beyond wines and spirits.  This proposal was originally made in  a submission by Turkey dating from 9 July 1999, prior to the Seattle Ministerial proposing the extension of the multilateral register beyond wines and spirits.[2] This proposal was endorsed by the African group of countries. In a document from 6 August 1999[3] Kenya, on behalf of the African Group, noted in paragraph 26 of the Singapore Ministerial that the Article 23.4 negotiations concerning a multilateral register for wines had been extended to include spirits. Consequently, it was submitted in paragraph 27 of Kenya’s communication on behalf of the African Group that

“Considering that Ministers made no distinction between the two above-mentioned products, the African Group is of the view that the negotiations envisaged under Article 23.4 should be extended to other categories, and requests, in this regard, that the scope of the system of notification and registration be expanded to other products recognizable by their geographical origins (handicrafts, agro-food products).”

At the TRIPS Council meetings in 2000 some misgivings were expressed by some delegations about the extension of Article 23.1 “protection and the multilateral register beyond wines and spirits”. In the meeting of the TRIPS Council held on 26-29 June 2000, the representative of Kenya said that “It was difficult to explain to people in the developing world that their representatives were involved in negotiations with the WTO concerning additional protection for wines and spirits without any benefit being offered to developing countries.”[4]

The Chair of the TRIPS Council sought to separate the discussion of Article 23.2 from 24.2 to avoid confusion. A response to this suggestion was a proposal in October 2001 from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Iceland, India, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Pakistan, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Turkey that the extension of geographical indications to products other than wines and spirits be included as an extension of the built-in agenda.[5]

The above developments are important for an understanding of the way in which the question of GIs was included within the Doha Ministerial Declaration adopted on 14 November 2001.[6] Clause 18 of the Declaration provided:

“With a view to completing the work started in the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Council for TRIPS) on the implementation of Article 23.4, we agree to negotiate the establishment of a multilateral system of notification and registration of geographical indications for wines and spirits by the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference. We note that issues related to the extension of the protection of geographical indications provided for in Article 23 to products other than wines and spirits will be addressed in the Council for TRIPS pursuant to paragraph 12 of this declaration.”

The sessions of the TRIPS Council which sought to implement this clause were concerned to interpret the scope of the negotiating mandate which it conferred. This issue is discussed below under the following headings: (i) the meaning of “extension”; (ii) the costs of extension; (iii) the scope of the multilateral system of notification and registration. Brief mention is made below of other international possibilities for the protection of GIs, principally pursuant to the Lisbon Agreement. Finally, the role of GIs in protecting traditional knowledge (TK) is addressed as another factor which might counsel the ACP Group of countries in supporting extension.

The Meaning of Extension

Article 22.2 of the TRIPS Agreement requires WTO Members to provide the legislative means for parties to prevent the use of GIs “in a manner which misleads the public as to the geographical origin” of goods or which constitutes an act of unfair competition within the meaning of Article 10bis of the Paris Convention (1967). Article 22 applies to all goods. Article 23 on the other hand applies to wines (and spirits). Article 23.1 provides :

“Each Member shall provide the legal means for interested parties to prevent use of a geographical indication identifying wines for wines not originating in the place indicated by the geographical indication in question or identifying spirits for spirits not originating in the place indicated by the geographical indication in question, even where the true origin of the goods is indicated or the geographical indication is used in translation or accompanied by expressions such as "kind", "type", "style", "imitation" or the like”.

The key feature of Article 23.1 is that it requires GIs in relation to wines and spirits to be protected even if misuse would not cause the public to be misled.

A question which was raised at the 9-10 May 2011 ACP GIs workshop, during which the interim findings of this project were presented, was how the distinction between Articles 22 and 23 came about and whether this distinction makes any practical difference to the ACP African Group of Countries.

An explanation of the origin of the distinction between Articles 22 and 23 is contained in a communication dated 15 September 2000, from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Iceland, India, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Turkey. At the TRIPS Council meeting of 21 and 22 September 2000, Egypt, Kenya and Pakistan requested their delegations to be reflected as co-sponsors, as well.[7]  At paragraph 6-8 of this communication it is suggested that

“6. This differential treatment of geographical indications can only be explained in the light of the negotiations of the Uruguay Round. The relevant TRIPS provisions are the result of trade-offs which were specific to the circumstances prevailing at the time of the Uruguay Round negotiations, in particular during the Brussels Ministerial Conference (1990). This was, to some extent, due to the link at that time between the negotiations on geographical indications and the negotiations on agriculture.

7. There is no systematic or logical explanation for the distinction made in Section 3 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement. This distinction ignores that geographical indications for categories of goods other than wines and spirits are equally important for trade. The economic and political significance of geographical indications is growing as increasing quality awareness and higher quality requirements promote the demand for products of a specific geographical origin. The added value to exported goods increases the chances for such legitimate goods to reach the market which is part of the global vision for a multilateral trading system. That is why, since the end of the Uruguay Round, the awareness of the need for an extension of additional protection to products other than wines and spirits has continuously increased and spread among Members.

8. Since not all issues relevant to the protection of geographical indications were settled in the Uruguay Round, the built-in agenda of the TRIPS Agreement provides for the basis for further negotiations on increasing the protection of geographical indications.”

In other words, the distinction between Articles 22 and 23 is said to be almost accidental to the same policy reasons which require the extended protection for wines and spirits apply to other products. This, of course, is of interest to African countries.

A comprehensive discussion of the practical implications of the differences between the two Articles is contained in the submission by the Swiss delegation to the TRIPS in the meetings of the TRIPS Council held on 21 and 22 September 2000 in which the representative of Switzerland introduced the joint communication mentioned above.[8] He explained that “ [s]ome Members might ask why it was so important to have this additional protection also for other products than wines and spirits and whether the current protection for these products was not sufficient. “  after describing the terms of both Articles  he provided an example illustrating why the additional protection under Article 23 “was also needed for geographical indications other than those for wines and spirits”:

 “Rice that was sold under the Indian geographical indication "Basmati", but which was clearly marked as originating from another region or country, would not mislead the public as to the place of origin of that product;  nevertheless, such use would free-ride on the worldwide famous and therefore commercially valuable geographical indication "Basmati".  The same applied with regard to the famous Swiss cheese "Vacherin Mont d'Or", for example.  There was no systematic or logical explanation for the distinction made in Section 3 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement and this distinction ignored that geographical indications for categories of goods other than wines and spirits were equally important for trade.”

The different roles of Articles 23 and 24 were also addressed in a communication dated 23 March 2001, from Bulgaria, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Iceland, India, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey and Venezuela.[9] At the meeting of the Council for TRIPS of 2 to 5 April 2001, Jamaica, Kenya, Pakistan and Slovenia requested that their delegations also be reflected as co-sponsors. The representative of Kenya associated his delegation with the proposal introduced by Switzerland regarding the extension of the higher level of protection to geographical indications for products other than wines and spirits citing its association with a number of agreements in this field, such as the OAU Model Law which provided protection for a wide range of products, including food products and handicrafts.[10]  He argued that “different levels of protection amounted to an unfair trade practice, or discrimination, i.e. something that the WTO should not be seen to support.”[11]

 Introducing the communication, the representative of Switzerland said that he expected there to be more co-sponsors of the proposal contained in it and requested the Secretariat explained that the protection provided by Article 22 in respect of GIs for products other than wines and spirits was insufficient in practice, because the "misleading test" was a burdensome requirement tailored to suit laws for the protection against unfair competition or the protection of consumers, but not the protection of intellectual property. [12]  Unlike Article 23, Article 22 did not prevent the use of geographical indications in translation or accompanied by expressions such as "style", "type", "kind", "imitation" or the like and thus enabled free-riding on renowned GIs by products not possessing the qualities which original products displayed due to their origin. 

Furthermore, Switzerland argued that the "misleading test" of Article 22 resulted in legal uncertainty as to the enforcement and protection of individual GIs at the international level, because it was up to the national courts and administrative authorities to decide whether or not the public was misled by the use of a particular GI and whether or not the public was being misled and how the legal and administrative authorities applied and interpreted the "misleading test" differed from one country to another.[13] The result was inconsistency of decisions and legal uncertainty as regards the protection of GIs and their enforcement at international level.  The possible distortions that this could create at a multilateral level could be remedied by granting protection as under Article 23 not only to GIs for wines and spirits, but also to those for other products.[14]

At the TRIPS Council meetings of 27 to 30 November and 6 December 2000, the representative of Mauritius said that extending the scope of Article 23 to products other than wines and spirits was a coherent step based on what was already in the Agreement.[15]  She pointed out that Article 22.1 made clear that the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement covered geographical indications for all goods, however, it was the insufficient level of protection provided by Article 22 which had led to the establishment of a higher level of protection for wines and spirits.  Thus, given that Article 22 already provided for the protection of geographical indications in respect of all goods, her delegation believed that the intention, as directed by this principle, had been that goods other than wines and spirits should be covered and this was how it read the mandate in Article 24.1.[16]  She also stated that her delegation did not believe in and that there was furthermore no justification for a selective protection of products, more so as the trade value of a geographical indication was equally relevant for products other than wines and spirits.  Consequently, it felt that the higher level of protection currently granted to wines and spirits should be extended to other products generally and that one level of protection for all products would certainly provide greater predictability for trade in these products.  She wished to point out, though, that a country like hers was asked in to liberalize the areas of agriculture and services and its response was that it did not think that it could actually do so in such a simple manner, because it did not have the competitive capacity to survive in a liberalized world.  Realizing that it had one or two geographical indications, which could provide it with a niche market for one or two small products, it was participating in the present debate in the hope that, maybe after all, it could get some opportunities out of it. 

Costs

In opposition to the proposals for an extension of the protection of geographical indications for wines and spirits under TRIPS to all products, on 29th June 2001, a joint communication was sent to the TRIPS Council by Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States (Joint Communication).[17] The Communication argued that the advantages of Article 23 protection was overstated and, relevantly for the current project, that the proposals for the extension of the TRIPS wines and spirits provisions to all products had insufficiently addressed the costs and burdens of this extension. It stated that “[t]hese new costs and burdens include administration costs, trade implications for producers, increased potential for consumer confusion, potential producer conflicts within the WTO Members and a heightened risk of WTO disputes.”[18] It is worth, for the purposes of the cost analysis of the current project to annotate the catalogue of costs outlined in this Joint Communication

(i)           Administration costs

The Joint Communication pointed out that the extension of Article 23.1 would create additional obligations under the TRIPS Agreement, which would require the implementation of new laws and administrative mechanisms and would need to be implemented at the national level by all WTO Members, both developed and developing, that did not already provide "additional protection" for products other than wine and spirits. It stated that implementing and administering new laws “would involve considerable costs in terms of both money and other resources for most governments, and may impact proportionately more on developing countries.”[19] It should be pointed out that the Joint Communication did not specify what these additional costs might be.

Commenting on the Joint Communication at the meetings of the TRIPS Council on 18 to 22 June 2001, the representative of Mauritius expressed her agreement that the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements as a whole was costly, but that [t]here was no reason why an extension of additional protection should be much more expensive than the existing additional protection for wines and spirits.[20]

It also suggested that the new obligations would extend to all Members, including those that chose not to protect any of their own domestic GIs and that this could involve a considerable burden, particularly in view of the fact that some Members, such as the European Communities, have many hundreds of domestic geographical indications and would presumably expect "additional protection" of these terms by all other Members.[21] This is no different to the burdens imposed by other categories of registrable industrial property such as patents and trade marks, where in all developing countries and LDCs and most developed countries, foreign applicants outnumber domestic applications. The ideal solution to these problems is for registration fees to cover these costs.

At the TRIPS Council meeting of 19-20 September 2001 the representative of Kenya pointed out that the additional cost of extension should not be a major issue as developing countries were facing considerable costs in implementing the TRIPS Agreement.[22]  Small additional costs resulting from extension would be offset by the benefits that accrue from it.  He said that “especially for Members from the developing world, geographical indications in the areas of agriculture, handicraft and foodstuffs were a mainstay in their economy and trade.”[23]

(ii)          Trade implications for producers

The Joint Communication  suggested that the recognition of GIs might also require that producers incur costs “if they are forced to give up the use of commercially significant terms, as they would be forced to re-name, re-label and find new ways of marketing products that use such terms, both in domestic and overseas markets”[24] particularly, where they “have traditionally used a term and are suddenly forced to give it up.”[25] This suggestion tends to ignore the effects of Article 24.6 of TRIPS which provides that

Nothing in this Section shall require a Member to apply its provisions in respect of a geographical indication of any other Member with respect to goods or services for which the relevant indication is identical with the term customary in common language as the common name for such goods or services in the territory of that Member.”

Finally, the Joint Communication suggests that industries such as the emerging dairy industry in some countries “may find potentially lucrative export markets closed to their products, as the government of the importing market or a third party may claim exclusive rights over the terms used to market those products.”[26]  This obstacle is not attributable to Articles 23 or 24 of TRIPS, but the already existing GIs protection which exists in importing countries under their domestic laws and the general prohibition of Article 22 of TRIPS for countries to eliminate misleading GIs.

(iii)         Consumer costs

Similarly, the Joint Communication identifies “the cost of the consumer confusion caused by the disappearance of terms customarily used to identify products” which “will increase search and transaction costs for consumers, at least in the short to medium term, and potentially prices as well.”[27] Again, this ignores the exception in Article 24.6 for terms which are customary in common language in the Member’s country and the general obligation to eliminate misleading GIs.

(iv)         Increased risk of producer conflict over individual GIs

The Joint Communication also stated that the process of defining GIs “would likely lead to disputes between producers” particularly within a country  “over demarcation of the region to be covered by a particular GI”  and between “countries (particularly those with shared borders and therefore a shared history) which produce the same good and have traditionally used a certain GI”.[28]  In addition to ignoring the effect of Article 24.6 of TRIPS, this observation overlooks the effect of Article 24.4 of TRIPS which provides:

“Nothing in this Section shall require a Member to prevent continued and similar use of a particular geographical indication of another Member identifying wines or spirits in connection with goods or services by any of its nationals or domiciliaries who have used that geographical indication in a continuous manner with regard to the same or related goods or services in the territory of that Member either (a) for at least 10 years preceding 15 April 1994 or (b) in good faith preceding that date.”

In the event that Article 24 is extended to products in addition to wines and spirits, WTO Members would be permitted to continue to use those GIs which had already been in use for those products.

A joint communication from a group of countries, including Kenya and Nigeria[29] suggested that the concerns of the USA and the other proponents of the Joint Communication of 29 June 2001 were unfounded. The representative of Switzerland, introducing the new paper at the TRIPS Council meetings of 19-20 September 2001  pointed out that the additional protection of Article 23.1 would not create the obligation for Members to create a new, costly and burdensome regime as Members already had to provide protection for GIs under Articles 22 and 23.[30]  Secondly, it rejected the argument that extension would lead to renaming of products and thereby confuse consumers, since GIs indicated the true origin of a product and prevented consumers from being misled.  As for the argument that GIs would restrict trade, the Swiss delegate pointed out that “[e]very Member had a national heritage and traditional products which either by their origin or inherited know-how were of a unique blend and character, whether Members were already making use of this added value or were only beginning to do so on the world market.  Extension held much to gain for all Members, developed, developing and least‑developed.”[31]

The representative of India identified as a fundamental problem for his country “that products of world-class reputation, such as Basmati rice and Darjeeling tea, faced competition from products sold under the same name in combination with the word "style" and thus free rode on the indication of origin.”[32]  He asked opponents of extension to explain how India could avoid losing trade through these practices, which Members were permitted to allow under the TRIPS Agreement for products other than wines and spirits.  He pointed out that the basic problem was the imbalance in the Agreement and there had been no convincing argument as to why wines and spirits alone should benefit from additional protection. 

(v)          Increased risk of disputes between WTO Members

Finally, the Joint Communication warns that any Member which did not provide the extended Article 23.1 protection for other Members' GIs could be involved in difficult and burdensome dispute settlement at the WTO.[33]  This argument is equally applicable to the current formulation of Article 23.1 in its application to wines, but to date there have been no such disputes.

Multilateral Register

In June 2005 the EC submitted a proposal to amend the TRIPS Agreement to provide global protection for GIs in a multilateral system of registration.[34] This proposal seeks to bring international protection for GIs into conformity with the European Union where a Community-wide system for their registration is considered an indispensable part of agricultural policy, serving both to preserve the incomes of small to medium-size producers and to guarantee the sustainability of the rural economy. The EC submission set out provisions for a centralized register that would be compulsory and have legal effect.[35]  The EC proposal of aimed at preserving each WTO Member's prerogative to determine whether a certain sign, indication or geographical name does indeed meet the TRIPS definition of a geographical indication. [36]

Opponents of the EC proposal, the US, Australia, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and New Zealand opposed the extension of GIs protection, taking the position that the international protection of GIs is adequate as it stands and that such a drastic development would only serve to undermine future gains in market access for non-European food and agricultural products.[37] Concern has also been expressed about the additional costs and administrative burdens of implementing a distinct system of GI protection in addition to the TRIPS obligations.  They advocated a system of voluntary notification and registration with no obligation to protect registered GI's.

The opposition between the US and EU demonstrates that in relation to GIs at least there is not a simple North-South divide between the industrialised and the developing worlds. Newly industrializing and leading developing countries such as India, China and Kenya are well placed to take advantage of intellectual property protection afforded agricultural GIs. Other developing countries, however, may lack either the agricultural tradition related to place or the financial means to enforce the worldwide protection of their GIs.

In June 2005 the EC submitted a proposal to amend the TRIPS Agreement to provide global protection for GIs in a multilateral system of registration.[38] This proposal sought to bring international protection for GIs into conformity with the European Union where a Community-wide system for their registration is considered an indispensable part of agricultural policy, serving both to preserve the incomes of small to medium-size producers and to guarantee the sustainability of the rural economy. Given the fact that it possesses over 700 registered geographical indications,[39] sophisticated institutional infrastructure and technical prowess, the European Union is Europe is exceptionally well placed to leverage the benefits of an expanded international system of GI protection. The EC submission set out provisions for a centralized register that would be compulsory and have binding legal effect.[40]  The EC proposal of aimed at preserving each WTO Member's prerogative to determine whether a certain sign, indication or geographical name does indeed meet the TRIPS definition of a geographical indication. [41]

The US, Australia, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and New Zealand opposed the extension of GIs protection, taking the position that the international protection of GIs is adequate as it stands and that such a drastic development would only serve to undermine future gains in market access for non-European food and agricultural products.[42] Concern has also been expressed by these countries and others about the additional costs and administrative burdens of implementing a distinct system of GIs protection in addition to the TRIPS obligations.  The opponents advocated a system of voluntary notification and registration with no obligation to protect registered GI's. A revised Communication from these countries, together with South Africa, proposed that the TRIPS Council should set up a voluntary system where notified geographical indications would be registered in a database.[43] Those governments choosing to participate in the system would have to consult the database when taking decisions on protection in their own countries. Non-participating members would be “encouraged” but “not obliged” to consult the database.[44]

Hong Kong, China proposed a compromise under which a registered term would enjoy a more limited “presumption” than under the EU proposal, and only in those countries choosing to participate in the system.[45]

In July 2008, a group of WTO members called for a “procedural decision” to negotiate three intellectual property issues in parallel: these two geographical indications issues and a proposal to require patent applicants to disclose the origin of genetic resources or traditional knowledge used in their inventions.[46] In relation to the GIs Register the proposed text was that:

  1. Members agree to establish a register open to geographical indications for wines and spirits protected by any of the WTO Members as per TRIPS.  Following receipt of a notification of a geographical indication, the WTO Secretariat shall register the notified geographical indication on the register.  The elements of the notification will be agreed.
  2. Each WTO Member shall provide that domestic authorities will consult the Register and take its information into account when making decisions regarding registration and protection of trademarks and geographical indications in accordance with its domestic procedures.  In the framework of these procedures, and in the absence of proof to the contrary in the course of these, the Register shall be considered as a prima facie evidence that, in that Member, the registered geographical indication meets the definition of "geographical indication" laid down in TRIPS Article 22.1.  In the framework of these procedures, domestic authorities shall consider assertions on the genericness exception laid down in TRIPS Article 24.6 only if these are substantiated.
  3. Text based negotiations shall be intensified, in Special Sessions of the TRIPS Council and as an integral part of the Single Undertaking, to amend the TRIPS Agreement in order to establish the Register accordingly.

In relation to GI-Extension the proposed text was that

  1. Members agree to the extension of the protection of Article 23 of the TRIPS Agreement to geographical indications for all products, including the extension of the Register.
  2. Text based negotiations shall be undertaken, in Special Sessions of the TRIPS Council and as an integral part of the Single Undertaking, to amend the TRIPS Agreement in order to extend the protection of Article 23 of the TRIPS Agreement to geographical indications for all products as well as to apply to these the exceptions provided in Article 24 of the TRIPS Agreement mutatis mutandis.

To date WTO Members remain divided over the proposal to negotiate the three subjects in parallel, with opponents arguing that the only mandate for the TRIPS Council is to negotiate the multilateral register. Under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Trevor C. Clarke (Barbados) during 2008-2009, the Special Session of the TRIPS Council considered the various proposals which had been made and the Chairman identified as “crucial” the two issues of participation and consequences/legal effects of registration.[47]

With respect to the issue of whether participation in the system should be voluntary or mandatory, some WTO Members interpreted the reference in the mandate concerning "a multilateral system" to mean that the system should apply to all Members.  Other Members argued that the words "those Members participating in the system" mean that not all Members are expected to participate. Ambassador Clarke encouraged Members “to continue searching for an acceptable solution that would determine a participation of Members in the Register that renders it a useful and meaningful tool in line with its purpose to facilitate protection.”[48]  With respect to the consequences/legal effects of registration, all Members seem to accept an obligation to consult the information on the Register and to take the information on the Register into account when making decisions regarding registration and protection of trademarks and geographical indications under their national procedures.  However, views differ significantly as to how such information should be taken into account, what weight and significance should be given to it, and whether there should be a specific legal obligation to take the information into account. 

In order to advance the negotiations, Ambassador Clarke suggested the following "Guiding Principles": 

  • The purpose of the Register is to facilitate, not to increase, the protection of GIs for wines and spirits.
  • The Register should be useful and meaningful to both notifying Members and consulting Members.
  • The territorial nature of intellectual property rights should be preserved.
  • The Register should not impose undue financial and administrative burdens on Members.
  • Special and differential treatment should be precise, effective and operational.[49]

Ambassador Clarke’s successor as Chairman of the Special Session of the Council for TRIPS, Ambassador Darlington Mwape (Zambia) announced, upon assuming this office that the specific negotiating mandate of the Special Session was limited to the negotiations of a Multilateral Register of GIs for wines and spirits.[50] He has strenuously resisted any calls for the extension of the Multilateral Register to products other than wines and spirits. In his report to the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) of 22 March 2011 he reiterated that “the specific negotiating mandate of the Special Session is limited to the negotiations of a Register of GIs for wines and spirits, and other TRIPS-related issues are being handled in another context and at a different level.”[51] Ambassador Mwape is adhering to the strict letter of the Doha mandate. For the reasons mentioned above, there is no justification in principle for the differential treatment of wines and spirits in comparison with other products, both in relation to Article 23, as well as in relation to the multilateral register. If the extension of the register is to be addressed, it will have to be in the context of the general extension debate, as part of the periodic revisions of the TRIPS Agreement.

Indeed, Ambassador Mwape has had a singular lack of success in securing agreement from negotiating parties even on a draft composite text on the Register.[52]  This draft composite text was last circulated on 20 April 2011.[53] Ambassador Mwape reported that this text was “without prejudice to Members' positions on the overall outcome of the negotiations” and that “Members are working on the understanding that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and that Members may revert to any issue of the text at any time.”[54] Ambassador Mwape reported that despite the fact that this text reflects the current state of negotiations, views differ on “whether and how the negotiating mandate should be accurately reflected in the Draft Composite Text” and that  both sides appear to prefer that the text  represents “the factual representation of the state-of-play in this negotiating group” at this time. [55] Ambassador Mwape  explained that “I have made strenuous attempts to resolve this and have offered to use my prerogative as Chair to improve textual compliance with the Special Session of the Council for TRIPS mandate.  However, Members have been unable to engage constructively on this question and have instead insisted that the purely bottom-up and Member‑driven nature of the text be scrupulously respected at this time.”[56] In view of this situation, it may well be the case that the ACP Group of countries are better advised to address the possible extension of the multilateral register in the context of the general extension debate.

Other Possibilities for the International Protection of GIs

WTO Agreement on Agriculture

The question of the international protection of GIs has also been pursued, particularly by the EU, outside the TRIPS Council. In February 2003, the EC proposed to the WTO’s Committee on Agriculture, that it “claw back” certain GIs which were being “used by producers other than the right-holders in the country of origin”.[57] The EC's approach to geographical indications in the context of the agriculture negotiations is complementary to the TRIPs negotiations.  The EC explained that its objective was to negotiate “specific commitments in order to guarantee fair market access opportunities for those wines, spirits and other agricultural and food-stuff products whose quality, reputation or other characteristics are essentially attributable to their geographical origin and traditional know‑how.”[58]  As a follow-up to this proposal, in September 2003, a preliminary list of products (wines, spirits, cheeses and ham) were notified to the Committee which fell into this category.[59] The claw back proposal was strongly opposed by the same countries which were opposed to GIs extension in the TRIPS Council. The EC sought to allay concerns by referring to the “grand-fathering” clause of Article 24.4, which would allow the use of protected GIs by producers in third countries providing that they have done so for more than ten years prior to the signing of an amendment.[60]

At the TRIPS Council meetings of 27 to 30 November and 6 December 2000, the representative of Mauritius pointed out though that a country like hers was asked to liberalize in the areas of agriculture and services and its response was that it did not think that it could actually do so in such a simple manner, because it did not have the competitive capacity to survive in a liberalized world. [61]   Realizing that it had one or two geographical indications which could provide it with a niche market for one or two small products, she indicated that Mauritius was participating in the extension debate in the hope that, maybe after all, it could get some opportunities out of it.[62]

Within the Committee on Agriculture the view has been strongly pressed that GIs protection was a matter for the TRIPS Council, as the agriculture negotiations focus on food products, whereas proposed negotiations under TRIPS would cover all products including handicrafts, etc.[63] Certainly, the recent WTO documents concerning the negotiations on agriculture make no reference to GIs.

Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their Registration, 1958 [64]

The Lisbon Agreement established an international system of registration and protection of appellations of origin. It adopted the French definition of appellation of origin by restricting the protected indications to cases in which the quality and characteristics  of a product are ‘due exclusively or essentially to the geographical environment, including natural and human factors’. The Agreement provides for the registration - at the International Bureau of WIPO - of appellations of origin which are ‘recognized and protected as such, in their country of origin’. Countries are thus free to adopt their own system of designating appellations, either by judicial or administrative decision, or both. Once registered, a geographic indication is protected in other member nations. The countries have to ensure that any kind of usurpation or imitation is prohibited under their laws. Finally, the Agreement provides that no genetic indication can be deemed generic in any other country, as long as it is protected in its country of origin.

The Lisbon Agreement failed to attract widespread support, having only 26 signatories. One problem was that accession is confined to those nations which protected appellations of origin ‘as such’. Thus, states which protected this form of intellectual property under unfair competition or consumer protection laws were locked out. Also the Agreement did not make exception for geographic indications which had already become generic in member states.

However, it has been suggested that the Register of appellations of origin established under the Lisbon Agreement and administered by WIPO provides a convenient solution to the establishment of the multilateral register foreseen in TRIPS.[65]

GIs, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Protection of Traditional Knowledge (TK)

At the May 9-10, 2011 workshop on GIs under this project a number of delegations indicated that CBD issues were more important for them than GIs. The principal CBD issues which have been pursued in the FAO, WIPO and the WTO concern the access to genetic resources, the disclosure of the origin of those resources when forming the basis of patent applications and the sharing of benefits from their utilisation, particularly when those resources are identified with the assistance of TK.

By way of example, in 2002 the EU had submitted to the TRIPS Council that the disclosure of origin of genetic resources involved in patent applications should be a mandatory obligation.[66] This was reiterated by the EU in May 2005 in its submission to the IGC on the “Disclosure of Origin or Source of Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge in Patent Applications”, the EU argued that “there are good reasons for an obligation to disclose that an invention is directly based on traditional knowledge associated with the use of genetic resources.”[67] The African Group of countries endorsed this EU proposal in the Group’s response to the Australia/New Zealand May 2010 submission to the IGC.[68] The African Group also proposed the principle that IPRs and obligations be clarified “with respect to the protection of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions and certainty and clarity for prior informed consent and fair and equitable benefit sharing.”[69]

On December 8, 2010, the Delegation of Angola submitted the proposals of the African Group.[70] This suggested the commencement of negotiations on a mandatory disclosure requirement and an appropriate way to ensure prior informed consent and fair and equitable benefit sharing, in line with the Nagoya Protocol. The African proposal suggested that negotiations be based upon two current proposals on a mandatory disclosure requirement,[71] and the incorporation of the “internationally recognized certificate of compliance” as stipulated in the Nagoya Protocol, together with any other submission that may be tabled by member countries. In relation to the option for guidelines and recommendations on defensive protection, the African Group proposed consideration of the use of available databases on GR and/or associated TK.

On May 6, 2010, the Delegations of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and
the United States of America submitted a working document[72] on GR Geneva, for the seventeenth session of the IGC held December 6 to 10, 2010. The African Group proposed a number of amendments to this submission. It suggested that “inventors/users using genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge comply with requirements for prior informed consent and fair and equitable benefit sharing”, that patents not be granted where these requirements are not met and that “the patent system must provide for a mandatory disclosure requirement ensuring that the IP Offices becomes a key checkpoint for disclosure and monitoring the utilization of genetic resources and/or associated TK (in line with Article 13 of the CBD Nagoya Protocol)”. In relation to TK, the African Group proposed the following principles:

 

  • Recognise and maintain the role of the IP system in promoting innovation and in the protection of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use.
  • Promote certainty and clarity of IP rights and obligations with respect to the protection of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions and certainty and clarity for prior informed consent and fair and equitable benefit sharing.
  • Promoting transparency and dissemination of information by disclosing country of origin and publishing and disclosing technical information related to new inventions, where appropriate and where publicly available, so as to enrich the total body of technical knowledge accessible to the public.

At the Third Intersessional Working Group of the IGC, which met from February 28 to March 4, 2011, a Working Group was appointed to review and rationalize the various Objectives and Principles which had been received by the IGC with a view to clarifying the key and divergent policy positions and issues, which the IGC would need to make informed decisions. This report[73] was transmitted to the IGC for its consideration at its 18th session (May 9 to 13, 2011).

In the absence of agreement of the IGC, or other fora on these CBD issues, the international protection of GIs might provide a useful second best solution. A number of the so-called “biopiracy” episodes have involved the appropriation of biological resources which are often sold under names which identify their geographical origin. Some significant examples of this are listed below:

Neem – India

Basmati – Indian sub-continent

Rooibos – South Africa

Maca – Peru

Hoodia – South Africa

Taro- Hawaii

Cupuaçu – Brazil

Brazzein – Gabon

Camu camu – Peru

Açai – Brazil

The development of an international system for the protection of GIs might therefore also provide for the protection of biological resources.

In the absence of an international regime to protect TK, GIs protection might also be called in aid.

An optimistic assessment of the potential for GIs to protect TK is made by Marion Panizzon and Thomas Cottier in their study: ‘Traditional Knowledge and Geographical Indications: Foundations, Interests and Negotiating Positions.’[74] They observed that

Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Geographical Indications (GIs) share a common element insofar as they both protect accumulated knowledge typical to a specific locality. While TK expresses the local traditions of knowledge, GIs stand for specific geographical origin of a typical product or production method. GIs and TK relate a product (GIs), respectively a piece of information (TK), to a geographically confined people or a particular region or locality.

Similarly, in its Review of Existing Intellectual Property Protection of Traditional Knowledge[75]the IGC Secretariat observed that

Geographical Indications as defined by Article 22.1 of the TRIPS Agreement and appellations of origin, as defined by Article 2 of the Lisbon Agreement…rely not only on their geographical connotation but also, essentially on human and/or natural factors (which may have generated a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good). In practice, human and/or natural factors are the result of traditional, standard techniques which local communities have developed and incorporated into production. Goods designated and differentiated by geographical indications, be they wines, spirits, cheese, handicrafts, watches, silverware and others, are as much expressions of local cultural and community identification as other elements of traditional knowledge can be.[76]

Three examples of traditional knowledge protected by geographical indications - provided by the IGC Secretariat - are: “Cocuy the Pecaya” liquor from Venezuela, “Phu Quoc” fish sauce and “Shan Tuyet Moc Chau” tea, both from Vietnam.

Conclusions

The only explanation which has been offered for the differential treatment of wines and spirits under the GIs provisions of the TRIPS Agreement compared with other products is the vagaries of the Uruguay Round negotiations. No issues of principle have been advanced to explain this discrepancy. On the other hand, matters of principle have been advanced to justify the elimination of this discrepancy through the extension process. In containing a built-in agenda for the revision of the GIs provisions, the negotiators of the TRIPS Agreement were conceding that it was an unfinished document.

The arguments which have been advanced against the extension of the protection in Article 23 to other products, such as cost and administrative burdens have not been established.

The conception of the multilateral register as being confined to wines and spirits is a narrow but correct interpretation of the Doha mandate. There are no issues of principle which justify this narrow conception of the register and it is possible to include the extension of the register as part of the general extension debate.

For developing countries and LDCs the CBD issues of access and benefit sharing (in relation to biological resources) as well as the associated issue of protecting TK has been identified as being more important than GIs. This may well be the case, but it has to be acknowledged that the USA has not ratified the CBD and the access and benefit-sharing issues have not made much progress at the WTO and WIPO. Similarly, the discussions about the protection of TK have been labouring in WIPO’s IGC since 2001. The coverage of both these subjects by GIs protection, provides a more promising opportunity for ACP African countries to achieve some tangible gains.


4Research Methods and Questions Addressed

  1. The Technical Mission addressed the following questions:

What has been so far (in ACP countries in Africa) the dynamics of capturing economic value from GIs in general terms? And in particular:

  1. What are the economically significant products in those countries that have the greatest potential to benefit from GI protection?

Method: based on preliminary survey, qualified experts and informants’ opinion including FAO and WB, trends analysis and projections.

  1. What alternative systems exist for the protection of GIs in ACP countries in Africa (eg through the registration of collective or certification trademarks or through some other sui generis system,)?

Method:  based on qualified experts and informants’ opinion, legislation analysis, published case studies and reports.

  1. What are the key features of the markets and of the production and distribution value chains of these products)?

Method: questionnaires administered to producers and producer organizations, analysis of production and trade data and reports of international organizations (eg FAO, World Bank).

  1. What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the 10-15 African products value chains that can most benefit, for their export development, from GI protection?

Method: SWOT analysis based on the outcome of the answers to the two previous questions

  1. What is currently the availability of government and non-government (e.g. Chamber of Commerce) support for development and marketing of existing GI products and potentially protected GI products?

Method: questionnaires administered to producers and producer organizations, government officials and chambers of commerce and agriculture.

  1. What are the costs for developing, registering and enforcing GIs on these products?

Method: questionnaires administered to IIP offices and lawyers

  1. What are the main challenges facing African producers or businesses, as well as governments, in using GI protection effectively in local and international markets?

Method: questionnaires administered to government officials, key producers and exporters/traders

  1. How suitable are the existing international GI protection regimes for the effective protection of African GIs)?

Method: SWOT analysis of the regimes applied to the products surveyed.

  1. What would be the benefits for African ACP countries from establishing a multilateral register for GIs on wines and spirits?

Method: questionnaires administered to government officials, key producers and exporters/traders.


5Survey Questionnaire

  1. Separate questionnaires were constructed for: (i) organisations of producers, processors, distributors and exporters and other qualified experts of the products surveyed and its markets and (ii) IP bodies and public administrations in countries with existing GI regimes and administrations and countries with trademark regimes with potential for GIs protection (see Annex 2).
  2. The design of the questionnaires was informed by consultation with national IP Offices and by similar surveys undertaken by international and intergovernmental organizations and regional IP organizations concerned with GIs, such as FAO, WIPO, WTO; regional IP bodies: ARIPO, COMESA, ECOWAS, OAPI and key IP bodies and trade associations supporting GIs inititives, such as the INPI, OriGIn and the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
  3. The questionnaires addressed the following subjects:

Definition of the product

  • How is the product analysed defined in terms of characteristics and geographical origin?
  • What is the specificity of the product in terms of natural characteristics and/or process which is attached to its geographical origin?
  • What are the main export markets for the product?
  • What was, in your opinion, the current stage of reputation of the product in its main export markets before the introduction of the GI protection
  • How has, in your opinion, the reputation of the product evolved since the introduction of the GI protection on each of these main export markets?

The choice of the GI protection regime

  • What kind of GI protection applies to the product analysed in its country of origin (i.e. GI protection sui generis, individual trademarks, collective trademark, other : please specify) ?
  • When was it established?
  • Who was at the initiative of the GI protection?
  • What have been the main stages in the implementation and development of this GI protection from this initiative until now in terms of :
    - legal acknowledgement;
    - membership;
    - organization;
    - volumes of production;
  • - volumes of export;
    - prices paid to the producer.
  • Have other GI protection regimes been considered before choosing this particular regime?
  • Which were their main advantages?
  • Which were their main disadvantages?
  • Which problems and/or key success factors were associated with these different regimes?
  • Are other GI protection regimes applied to the product analysed in its main export markets?
  • What were the reasons for the choice of these particular regimes in these export markets?
  • What are the advantages, disadvantages, problems and key success factors associated with these regimes? Please give an answer for each of the main export markets identified.
  • What are the costs associated with the GI protection of the product in each of its main export markets ?
  • Has any governance structure of the GI been implemented?
  • If yes, please give full details of its composition, organization, objectives, means and methods.
  • Please indicate any publicly available document or information source, including websites, that could encompass further details about the GI protection (legal document, presentation of the product, the governance structure etc.).

Competition structure

  • How many producers are there currently active in the production of the considered product?
  • How has this number evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • What is the typical size of a producer in terms of number of employees?
  • How has this size evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • What is the maximum/minimum size observed among the producers in terms of number of employees?
  • How has the maximum size evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • What is approximately the distribution of the producers between these two extremes?
  • Among them, how many producers can be considered as dominant producers?
  • How has this concentration evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • What are approximately their global/individual share of the total production ?
  • How have these market shares evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Are there any significant differences among the producers with regard to their selling prices?
  • How have these differences evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Is there any existing association or organization of producers?

Market structure

  • What is the average producer price of the product for the domestic market?
  • How has this price evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • What is the average consumer price of the product on the domestic market?
  • How has this price evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • How has the domestic demand evolved in parallel?
  • What share of the production is exported?
  • How has this share evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • What is the total value of the exports?
  • How has this value evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Is there any international spot market for the product?
  • Is there any international futures market for the product?
  • What is the average producer price of the product for export (Ex Works)?
  • How has this price evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • What are the main export markets for the product?
  • What are the sales volumes on each of these export markets?
  • How have these sales volumes evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Have new main export markets appeared since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Who are the main distributors of the product on each export market?
  • What are the market shares of the dominant distributors on each of these export markets?
  • How have these market shares evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Do you know what is the consumer price range of the product on each of the export markets?
  • How has this price range evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Are there any significant prices variations between the major distributors?
  • Are there any significant prices variations over a period of one year?
  • On each of these markets, what has been the evolution of prices since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Are there any substitutable products to the product considered?
  • What is the size of the global market for the whole set of substitutable products?
  • What is the size of the market for the whole set of substitutable products on each of the main export markets of the considered product?
  • Are any of these substitutable products protected by any kind of GI protection?
  • If yes, does it concern :
               - a few susbstitutable products?
               - many susbstitutable products?
               - most or all susbstitutable products?

The value chain

  • Who are the intermediaries between the producer and the final consumer (abroad) of the analysed product?
  • Have new intermediaries appeared in this value chain since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • What is the typical price of the product at each stage of the value chain?
  • Has this value chain been modified after the introduction of the GI protection?
  • What is the level of competition at each stage of the value chain?
  • How has this competition evolved at each stage of the value chain since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • At what stage of the value chain is the product exported?
  • Has this changed after the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Has any producer (or group of producers) undertaken a downstream vertical integration since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Has any other individual, group or institution, undertaken a downstream activity in the country since the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Are there any cases of vertical integration in the value chain?
  • Have any of these cases appeared after the introduction of the GI protection?
  • Are there any cases of vertical cooperation in the value chain?
  • Have any of these cases appeared after the introduction of the GI protection?

Economic gains associated with GI protection

  • What have been, according to you, the main kinds of economic gains associated with the introduction of the GI protection?
    - for the producers;
    - for the domestic consumers;
    - for transformers;
    - for distributors;
    - for other intermediaries (please specify);
    - for consumers abroad.
  • Please rate the following potential gains and advantages associated with the GI protection as : non-existent/low/average/high/very high
    - widespread access of the producers to the protection;
    - enhancement of the quality level of the product;
    - improvement in the production process;
    - marketing and branding capacity building and spreading;
    - better cooperation between producers;
    - access to new financial resources;
    - prevention of delocalisation;
    - prevention of piracy of traditional knowledge;
    - possible combination of the GI protection with other market incentives (e.g. organic certification);
    - signal to consumers about the reputation and quality of the product;
    - possibility to increase the producer’s price;
    - development on existing markets;
    - access to new markets;
    - rural development;
    - protection of ecosystems and landscapes.

The cost and potential disadvantages of the GI protection

  • What disadvantages or problems have appeared to be attached to the GI protection of the product ?
  • Please rate the following potential disadvantages and problems as : non-existent/low/ average/high/very high
    - difficulty attached to the formalisation of the specific biological or cultural specificity of the product;
    - legal and administrative complexity related to the development of a GI;
    - lack of financial and human resources to engage in a GI development;
    - difficulties associated with the implementation and management of an appropriate governance structure of the GI;
    - inability of the GI protection to meaningfully help small producers;
    - marginalisation of other important products and productions in the region;
    - appropriation of the economic value created by the GI protection by the transformers and distributors;
    - generation of economic exclusion on the supply side : exclusion of producers by the definition of the characteristics of the product or by the requirements in terms of labelling, safety and traceability;
    - generation of economic exclusion on the demand side : denial of access to nutritious and/or traditional goods by local and low-income populations;
    - conflicts on the ownership of the GI, including between the national authorities and the local populations or authorities;
    - risks on biodiversity conservation;
    - risk of denaturing the local culture.
  • Please give an as accurate as possible evaluation of the following costs relating to the development, registration and enforcement of a GI protection :
    - Application fees;
    - Search fees;
    - Advertisement fees;
    - Publication fees;
    - Costs in opposition proceedings;
    - Litigation costs;
    - Renewal fees, if any;
    - Fees for change of address or name;
    - Fees in case of assignment;
    - Fees for correction of clerical or other errors;
    - Charges for amendment to application or registration; and
    - Attorney’s fees for preparation and legalisation of documents.

Existing sources of information

  • Do you know any national or international organization that could be an important source of information or research on the product considered and its markets?
  • Do you know any national or international source of statistical data on the product considered and its markets?
  • Do you know any article, document or research paper dealing with the product considered and its markets?


6Industries Surveyed

  1. In each of the countries surveyed a detailed analysis was undertaken of one industry on the basis of the questionnaires which supported the interview conducted by the technical mission team (see Annex 3 for the list of persons met and Annex 4 for the case studies. The principal products surveyed were:
  • Cameroon - Oku White Honey
  • Gabon - Okoumé Timber
  • Ghana - Cocoa
  • Kenya - Black Tea
  • Mauritius - Demerara Sugar
  • Nigeria - Yams
  • Rwanda Coffee
  • Senegal - yêtt de Joal
  • Tanzania - Cloves
  1. Other possibilities for GIs protection identified by the mission team were:.
  • Ghana -  Kente Cloth
  • Kenya - Arabica Coffee, Cut Flowers, Kiondo (sisal handbags), Kisii Soapstone Ornaments, Wamunyu handicrafts, Fermented liquors, Wild silk
  • Mauritius - Baie Topaz Red Beans, Piment Rodrigues, Bois Cherie Tea, Tai So Litchi, Cut Flowers, Rodrigues Honey, Rhum St Aubin, Café de Chamarel
  • Nigeria -Yams
  • Tanzania - coffee, high value vegetables, cut flowers


7Summary of Case Studies

CAMEROON

According to Mr. Edou Edou, OAPI Director General, the implementation of geographical indication protection in OAPI Member States is now entering the operational phase.  As a result, one of the two (i.e. Oku white honey and Penja white pepper) Cameroon products identified, should be awarded GI protection within 2011.  Specifications are being developed for both products by a National Committee, established in December 2010, consisting of competent national authorities and representatives of the producers concerned.  The National Committee is currently identifying  all Cameroonian products eligible for GI protection, followed which it will formulate a set of criteria allowing it to evaluate the feasibility of protection. In relation to Oku white honey, the National Committee will be supported in the development of specifications of the by various local consultants, as well as by CIRAD. It is estimated that the process, from identification to registration will extend over a period of approximately four years. Once the specifications have been officially adopted, and the selected products registered in the OAPI, there will obviously be need to set up a monitoring system to ensure compliance. 

Oku White Honey

Oku is a village located in the province of the North-West, about a hundred kilometres from the town of Bamenda.  The specific production area of Oku white honey, currently under delineation, is focused on the slope of the Oku mountain on which the village lies. The characteristics of Oku white honey is attributed to the climate of this region.  Oku and Ijim, two villages located at a high altitude, have a particularly cold climate and a very distinctive vegetation, a constitutive material crucial to producing the white honey. Definition of these natural conditions are essential in the designation of the product, since in terms of technique, production of white honey is identical to the production of ordinary honey.  The main qualities of Oku white honey, apart from its distinctive colour, are taste and a particular softness. 

Oku white honey is produced based on know-how of the particular placement of the hives. The people of Oku village seem to have particular expertise in this regard.  Beekeepers know exactly where to place their hives in terms of altitude, which periods and seasons of the year are best to place and develop their hives in the forest, and where precisely to mount their hives so that they are colonized by bees that will most likely use pollen allowing the production of white honey.

Honey is collected by the beekeeper to then be extracted and refined. It is sold to a cooperative through a producer group, packaged in turn by the cooperative and finally sold to the end users, mostly through cooperative-owned stores in Bamenda. In general, the cooperative collects honey from producer groups once it is extracted and refined. Tests are administered and a second refining is made within the cooperative, to remove foreign particles and any possible presence of mould before bottling the honey and packing it for commercialisation under the name of the cooperative.

Identification of the geographical area of production

During a recent meeting in Bamenda regarding the implementation of GI protection of Oku white honey, the main issue that emerged involved the specific designation to be officially attributed under the protection.  A particular problem was that Ijim, a village near to Oku, which also produces white honey, was strongly opposed to the designation of the product as “Oku” white honey.  However, after lengthy discussions, consensus was reached as to the fact that the production of white honey originated in Oku, and that white honey from Cameroon is known beyond the country borders as “Oku” white honey; furthermore, the Oku origin seems to be a selling point in international markets; also, producer groups and cooperatives are based in Oku.  On this basis, an agreement was reached on the name:  “Oku Honey White”, followed by the words “product of”, and the precise name of the village of production, such as “Ijim”.


Identifying key markets

Oku white honey is mainly intended for consumption in the domestic market, where it is renowned for its quality and is consumed as a food product.  It should be noted however, that an NGO in Kumbo uses this white honey in the preparation of medicinal products. The product has not yet clearly established an international reputation.

Identification of the geographical area of production

During a recent meeting in Bamenda regarding the implementation of GI protection of Oku white honey, the main issue that emerged involved the specific designation to be officially attributed under the protection.  A particular problem was that Ijim, a village near to Oku, which also produces white honey, was strongly opposed to the designation of the product as “Oku” white honey.  However, after lengthy discussions, consensus was reached as to the fact that the production of white honey originated in Oku, and that white honey from Cameroon is known beyond the country borders as “Oku” white honey; furthermore, the Oku origin seems to be a selling point in international markets; also, producer groups and cooperatives are based in Oku.  On this basis, an agreement was reached on the name:  “Oku Honey White”, followed by the words “product of”, and the precise name of the village of production, such as “Ijim”.

Identifying key markets

Oku white honey is mainly intended for consumption in the domestic market, where it is renowned for its quality and is consumed as a food product.  It should be noted however, that an NGO in Kumbo uses this white honey in the preparation of medicinal products. The product has not yet clearly established an international reputation.

Competition Structure

Hundreds of producers are active in the production region.  Most of these producers, however, are isolated and do not belong to any cooperative.  All are individual producers, with no employees. Interestingly, the production of white honey is most often a secondary activity for these producers, the principal activity being within another agricultural or commercial domain.

Currently, there are more than ten cooperatives active in the production and commercialisation of Oku white honey.  Therefore, there is no single organization bringing together all producers. Some individual producers do not even belong to a cooperative.

As far as NGOs are concerned, Apiculture and Nature Conservation Organisation (ANCO) is active in Bamenda. This NGO brings together more than 6,000 producers, all of which are members of producer groups.  ANCO processes over 50 tons of honey a year, but keeps no precise statistics. The groups produce very different volumes, depending on the size of the group and the efforts of its members. HONCO is another cooperative that brings together groups of honey producers in the North West.  HONCO has about 3,600 members belonging to various groups, but only twelve of these groups are active in the production of Oku white honey.  On average, HONCO affiliated producer groups have no more than two members.

Market Structure

Oku Honey is considered a rare product in Cameroon.  Bamenda is considered the main centre for the sale of Oku honey, along with two major urban centers, Yaounde and Douala, and certain other cities like Buea, the capital of the South West.

The export market of Oku white honey is still poorly defined.  A study should be undertaken to assess the scale and development potential.  However, it seems that white honey is exported from Oku to Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria, but producers and cooperatives in Bamenda are not aware of the prices charged for export.


The Value Chain

Stakeholders are structured and interlinked as follows: individual producers are organized into CIGs, which are themselves grouped into cooperatives, such as HONCO or ANCO.  Producers sell their produce to cooperatives and through their associations.  In most cases, cooperatives operate selling points in Bamenda where the product is sold to consumers.  Some bulk buyers order directly from cooperatives and pick up their order from the cooperative shops in Bamenda. Cooperatives organize the collection of honey from groups, along with the transport to Bamenda for refining and packaging.  As previously mentioned, Oku white honey is primarily intended for the domestic market.

It seems that the prices charged by producers are fairly homogeneous in a given period.  Currently, the price of buying a jar of 20 litres from the producer group is estimated at about 24,000 XAF for regular quality honey and at approximately 30,000 XAF for white honey, in other words at about 1,200 XAF / litre for ordinary honey against 1,500 XAF / litre for white honey.

Vertical cooperation is an important feature of production and commercialisation of Oku white honey, since most producers belong to a producer group, as previously described, which in turn is member of a cooperative supporting the commercialisation of honey, either directly to final consumers through selling points in Bamenda, or through intermediaries who ship the product to selling points throughout the country or towards foreign markets.

 Advantages, disadvantages and potential problems linked to GI protection

The concept of GIs is very new to beekeepers and Oku white honey producers in the province of the North-West in general. Despite several meetings with experts of OAPI and though the GIs protection process for Oku white honey has been officially launched, producers are still inquiring about the impact of this protection in their daily activity, especially regarding the possible impact on their income.  Stakeholders consulted most often recognize the substantial potential benefit in establishing geographical indication protection for Oku honey. The main potential benefits identified for Oku honey GI protection concern the impact of eventual labelling on the development of the organisations of producers, and also improving product quality. Protecting the Oku honey name will also enable producers to better defend their product against attempts to copy and imitate, and may help achieve a higher selling price.

It should be underlined that the scope of producers' access to protection depends primarily on the collective organization of producers.  Support is required both from national authorities and OAPI itself, at it plays a crucial role in ensuring successful implementation of this protection.

Protection seems particularly likely to enable further development of existing markets, which, to some interlocutors, is a form of direct advertising for the product. Access to new markets should also be facilitated as a result of the increased cooperation among producers that collectively might consider opening new selling points in Cameroon, beyond Yaoundé and Douala.  Finally, this protection should prove effective in protecting eco-systems and landscapes, as protection of the local flora is, by definition, crucial to safeguarding the taste and colour traits of Oku white honey.

Potential problems and disadvantages linked to GI protection

Among the identified potential disadvantages of eventual GIs protection for Oku honey, worth noting is the cumbersome and, most importantly, lengthy process of designation, specifications preparation and product registration. The required controls linked to the introduction of GIs protection could also be a hurdle for some producers, and even lead to their exclusion from the protection system, thus rendering these producers economically vulnerable.

Difficulties relating to the identification of biological or cultural attributes of the product, which indeed exist, are nonetheless expected be resolved through the process of specifications development- this phase should be completed soon.

The legal and administrative complexity of developing GIs protection, although very real, is supported in part by the relevant administrative departments of state and the OAPI.  The requirements in financial and human resources should therefore be met by these institutions for the larger part, and are not expected to burden the producers themselves.  As for the possible difficulties linked to the implementation of appropriate governance structure to manage GIs protection, the interlocutors emphasized the need for state support to the producer organization.

For some, introduction of GIs protection for Oku white honey could lead to the marginalization of other important products in the region; some producers may be attracted to beekeeping because of the product’s higher added value. There is also a risk, according to some, that the economic value created through the geographical indications protection will be captured by players in the downstream sector, mainly traders and distributors.

In terms of demand, it should be taken into account that, Oku honey is consumed by the upper or middle classes of the population, at the national level, and is thus considered a luxury product.  There is therefore low risk of economic exclusion of local demand due to higher prices for white honey.  It is worth noting, however, that the protection of this product, which is also consumed for its medicinal properties such as a sugar substitute in cases of diabetes, could make access more difficult for low-income populations consuming it for medical purposes.

Although some of the consulted parties saw a considerable risk in the possibility of dispute over ownership of the GI, particularly between national authorities and the local population or authorities, this should be solved in the framework of the specifications development, linked to the establishment of the protected status.

Beyond these potential disadvantages, interlocutors have particularly stressed a number of conditions to be met beforehand, so as to ensure the establishment and success of Oku honey GI protection.  More specifically, these conditions include the need for accompanying measures to support producers in their approach for labelling and promotion of their product, the need to develop the collective organization of the sector, which is still taking baby steps, and most importantly, the need to make financing tools available to producers so as to enable them to develop the adequate production and packaging tools so as to respond to the new requirements inevitably introduced by the specifications for the geographical indication protection. Our interlocutors stressed that there is need to generate not only public, but also private interest for the implementation of GIs protection for Oku honey.

The other product protection regimes that have been identified as possible processes complementary to the protection of GIs include protection of biodiversity - in the case of natural products - and patents, in the case of processing natural products. However, there appears to have been no consideration of possible combination of geographical indication protection of Oku white honey with other instruments of protection.  To date, no known initiative has been taken by any producer of Oku honey to protect the product, either by filing a trademark or by any other instrument of protection.

Gabon

Introduction

No GI has been yet been protected in Gabon or any other members of OAPI.  In Gabon the point of liaison with OAPI for filing for protection as a geographic indication is the Centre of Industrial Property of Gabon (CEPIG). OAPI has initiated a pilot study aimed at identifying in three of its Member States the products most likely to profit from GIs protection. It should be noted that although Gabon was not one of these three countries, nevertheless, the preliminary work of identification was carried out there and a list of its products likely to be the subject of a protection by geographical indication was forwarded by the CEPIG to the OAPI in May 2010. This list was based upon information transmitted to the CEPIG by the Ministries for National Forestry Commission, Industry and Agriculture. Oukoumé wood was identified in this list as one of the principal products susceptible to GIs protection.

Okoumé Wood

Okoumé is found in the basin of Congo. It is endemic to the wetlands of Gabon, primarily in the centre, the east and south, with very little in the north and west. The wood is also found in the territories of Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Congo (DRC). Okoumé has a characteristic and stable reddish colour and is considered to be relatively soft in comparison with other tropical wood. This is an important characteristic for industrial use and in particular in the production of veneers and plywood. The wood of Okoumé benefits from a strong homogeneity of grain, colour and general appearance. It is less dense than other tropical woods which allows it to be transported by inland waterways. The principal use of Okoume still lies in fabrication of plywood/ veneered wood. It is also used in the manufacture of furniture, carpentry and parquetry. Resin from Okoume is used in pharmaceutical preparations. This constitutes a very secondary production.

Distinctive quality of Gabon’s Okoumé 

There exists a strong identification between the wood of Okoumé and Gabon. Thus, according to the general secretary of the Union of the Industrial Foresters of Gabon and Aménagistes (Ufiga), Okoumé is the wood of Gabon par excellence and constitutes a species of wood very specific to this country. Okoumé being very homogeneous throughout the territory of Gabon, the producers questioned generally consider that the only possible geographical description would be that of Okoumé of Gabon. Some interviewees considered that there is a difference in quality recognized by the purchasers between Okoumé produced in Gabon and that produced in the adjoining countries. Okoume is recognised as being the best species of wood in the world for the production of plywood. An indication of the repute of the wood is the fact that representatives of the Ministry for National Forestry Commission discovered wood sold under the name “Okoumé of Morocco”, although that is a country in which okoumé is absent.

Lastly, an increasingly current practice would consist in carrying out panels whose central section consists of Meranti wood which is covered with veneers of Okoumé on both surfaces. It would seem that these panels are sometimes sold like panels of Okoumé at prices much lower than the production costs of the true panels of Okoumé.

The international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies wood that is harvested in an environmentally responsible way that takes into account economic viability, and social responsibility. FSC certification is given to companies and landowners to verify that they practice forestry that is consistent with FSC standards. Okoumé from Gabon is supported by FSC certification. This characteristic seems particularly important in Germany and in the Netherlands and could be the basis of GI protection.

Economic Factors

Okoumé represents approximately 50% of the total production of wood in Gabon. The timber industry constitutes the second source of foreign currency for the country (after hydrocarbons) and the first sector for private employment. The “forest-wood” sector accounts for approximately 4,5% of the GDP of Gabon, of which 3 to 4% for the forestry production and 1 to 2% for the industry of wood.

The principal substitutes for Okoumé are other woods such as the poplar and pine. Okoumé seems however to benefit from an image of quality higher than these more common woods on the European markets.  The Ozigo, a species of wood present in Gabon, can also be used for  the same purposes as Okoumé, in particular in the production of wood veneer and plywood. However, its characteristics of a lesser volume and a lesser output in transformation make it a less preferred alternative. Its exploitation is also prohibited in Gabon as it produces a fruit consumed by forest elephants.

Analysis of the production line.

The wood chain of production includes: owners, foresters, industrialists and, traders.  More than 100 forest producers of Okoumé are present in Gabon. They cultivate concessions granted by the Ministry for National Forestry Commission, the majority of them being engaged in a process of sustainable planning supported by the Ministry.

The marketing of the wood was developed in Gabon at the end of the 1990’s on the initiative of European owners. The sector is thus strongly marked by the presence of “majors”, subsidiaries of international groups.  The three most important groups, Rougier, the Equatorial Company of Wood and CBG-PCBG, a subsidiary company of the Joubert group, benefit from a certification FSC and one of them, Rougier Gabon, is considered by certain as being in dominant position in the sector. The general secretary of Ufiga estimates the market shares of the main actors of the sector at approximately 15% for Rougier, 14% for CEB (subsidiary of the group Precious Woods) and 12% for CBG/PCBG. The seven principal groups each employ from 350 to 1.700 salaried workers. They collectively exploit approximately 30% of the conceded surfaces and realise between 45 and 50% of the production of barks, more than 60% of the industrial production of veneers, pre-cut wood and planed wood. The value chain characterised by a strong vertical integration, the big international groups being present in forestry operations up until the marketing of the processed product to the ultimate consumer or industrialist. The recent arrival of Chinese traders has resulted in a strong development of production into China.

Volumes of production of okoumé bark are estimated at approximately 800.000 to 1 million cubic meters per annum, on a total production of wood of approximately 2 million m3 in 2009, against 2,5 to 3 million m3 per annum during the previous years. The capacity for absorption of the current production is estimated at approximately 1,6 million m3.

The industrial processing of wood involves a very sizeable investment. The cost of a processing plant, depending on the nature of the operation carried out, could range between 4 and 15 billion XAF. This constraint was taken into account by the government which established an exemption of VAT on the industrial plants of the forest industry and a reduction of 10% of the customs duties burdening their importation.

Advantages of the Okoumé GI

According to the persons in charge of Union des forestiers industriels du Gabon et aménagistes (UFIGA), the introduction of a GI for Okoumé wood would be likely to have a very positive impact on the market. This impact would probably be more marked on the industrial products from sawing, such as beams, slats and rafters. For the persons in charge of Société Nationale des Bois du Gabon (SNBG) this market impact, if appreciable, will nevertheless be conditioned by the implementation of a policy of effective communication. Other interviewees insist on the fact that the identification of the product is essential to its success in the context of globalisation and that the introduction of a geographical indication would constitute the identification par excellence

The introduction of a GI would be compatible and even complementary with the existing FSC certification system. It could easily be possible to integrate the FSC criteria necessary for the attribution of a GI and make it possible to issue a certificate without additional cost. This might attract currently undecided producers to GIs protection. The protection of a GI would facilitate the traceability of wood and the sustainable management of the resource. The certification of the legal origin of Okoumé wood could assume supplement and reinforce the forest plan of Gabon. The introduction of a protection of the geographical indication would make it possible to integrate quality standards physical and technical and thus to differentiate the Okoumé originating in Gabon from Okoumé originating in the other producer countries, primarily Equatorial Guinea and Congo (DRC).

Problems and potential disadvantages associated with a possible GIs protection

The administrative and legal complexity associated with the development of a protection of the geographical indication of Okoumé seems to constitute a real problem. The first phase of the implementation of the protection of the geographical indiction, the development of the specifications, could, according to certain interviewees, prove to be most difficult because of the weak co-operation between producers. In which case it would seem necessary that the public authorities play the part of facilitator. As a GI is a constituent of the national heritage, the role of the public authorities in the initiative and the financing of this project seems essential. In this respect, the representatives of the Ministry for National Forestry Commission indicate that external support, particularly of the EU, appears necessary to them for the development and the management of a system of GIs protection.

This phase constitutes moreover a delicate and complex operation, requiring close co-operation between IP experts and the industry. The establishment of a GI will require someone to take the lead. If the introduction of a protection of GIs is likely to support co-operation between the owners, it seems necessary that one of them plays the part of coordinator.

Although the introduction of protection of the GI is likely to constitute an important signal to the market, its effect may be qualified. Several interviewees stressed that FSC certification constituted more of a constraint than a commercial advantage. The risk exists that the same applies with the introduction of a protection of the GI. Thus the impact of the introduction of protection of the GI on the development of existing markets is disputed. For some, the protection of the geographical indication will not have any impact on one of the two principal existing markets, namely the Chinese market. To several, the impact on the prices of Okoumé wood of the introduction of a protection of a GI appears very uncertain. If one refers to the effect in terms of price of the FSC certification, this appears very dubious. It seems that the customers are not willing to pay a higher price for a wood because it is certified FSC. The same reasoning seems to apply concerning the impact of a protection of the GI.

It should be noted however that existing certifications, in particular FSC, represent strong constraints for the producers and the industrialists of the sector who can sell on certain markets of export only with the condition of meeting this certification. This certification guarantees already the legal origin of wood and the sustainable management of the forest. The introduction of a protection of the GI would thus go in the same direction and could constitute as much an advantage as an additional constraint. It is appropriate in this respect to consider that the implementation of sustainable arrangement on the one hand and certification FSC on the other hand already resulted in considerable burdens  for the producers, owners and industrialists, and that the introduction of a protection of GIs would only represent, for some, “yet another project” and an additional burden.

Another potential problem is to ensure that trading profit created by the introduction of a GI is shared by all persons in the value chain and not enjoyed only by the large distributors of Okoumé on the export markets, in particular in Europe. Awareness raising among the small producers is seen as necessary to accompany the evolution of a GI.

Many interviewed considered that a feasibility study seems necessary to evaluate the interest of the introduction of GIs protection and the constraints that may be attached to it.

Ghana

The Geographical Indications Act was enacted in 2003, but awaits its implementing regulations. The Trade Marks Act 2004 provides for the registration of certification marks.

Cocoa has been cultivated in Ghana since the 1870s. Cocoa production occurs in the forested areas of the country-- Ashanti Region, Brong-Ahafo Region, Central Region, Eastern Region, Western Region, and Volta Region--where rainfall is 1,000-1,500 millimeters per year. Although most cocoa production is carried out by peasant farmers on plots of less than 3 hectares, a small number of farmers appear to dominate the trade.

All cocoa is sold at fixed prices to the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod). Cocobod agreed to pay traders a minimum producer price as well as an additional fee to cover the buyers' operating and transportation costs and to provide some profit. Cocobod is responsible for overseas shipment and export of cocoa to ensure quality control.

After the Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa (20.7% of the world total). Ghana grows the West African Forastero cocoa bean variety, to produce bulk cocoa used by industrial confectioners.  The South American growers cultivate the Arriba, Criollo and Trintario cocoa varieties, used for fine chocolates.  The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) using Ghana bulk cocoa as a reference since 2001 has been engaged in a project to identify the organoleptic parameters for differentiating fine from bulk cocoa. It is also implementing a project entitled “Cocoa of Excellence: Unravelling and Celebrating the Diverse Flavour Qualities of Cocoa to Promote Market Differentiation” the main objectives of which are to:

  • raise awareness along the supply chain on opportunities for market differentiation;
  • provide global recognition to ‘terroirs’ and producers and of high quality cocoa; 
  • expose chocolate manufacturers and experienced consumers to the spectrum of flavours that exist in cocoa from different origins;
  • facilitate linkages between producers of quality cocoa and manufacturers of specialty chocolate products; and
  • stimulate the capacity of producing countries to search for, evaluate and produce specialty cocoa.

This project can form the basis of identifying coffee varieties for GIs protection.

An illustration of the potential for differentiating cocoa through GIs is the project by the Government of Ecuador to seek GIs for its fine cocoa: “Cocoa Arriba”.  Ecuador produces more than half of the ´fine cocoa´ worldwide for which it reportedly receives a price premium of 20 to 30% above the New York Stock exchange price.

Ghana is attempting to emulate the Ecuadorian example with its Ghana Fine Flavour Cocoa Project. This is a collaboration between leading cocoa researchers, farmers, chocolate manufacturers and international aid organizations to provide superior cocoa varieties and training to Ghanaian small scale farmers to increase their incomes and expand their livelihood opportunities.

The Ghana Fine Flavour Cocoa Project aims at developing high quality varieties of cocoa that will be recognized worldwide for superior flavour characteristics and return much of the premium to farmers. The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) has propagated 24 clones of quality cocoa varieties, which were evaluated in December 2009. The best varieties from these clones will be multiplied and scaled up over time as they are distributed to participating farmers. In addition to having access to quality cocoa germplasm, the farmers are receiving training on cultivation methods and shade management to ensure the successful growth of the fine flavour varieties. Cultivation and farm maintenance methods aim to maximize potential yield while balancing possible disease and pest pressures. Planting material was provided to the Offinso Fine Flavour Cocoa Farmers Association in Ghana in January 2010.  Thirty of their members have prepared 1 acre each of their existing farms for planting and grafting of the material. 64 acres have been selected in Offinso for 2011 planting/grafting. If there is sufficient material an additional 20 acres in the Tafo region will be selected. Two chocolate manufacturers have agreed to purchase the cocoa at a premium above the market price.

If this project is to be underpinned by GIs, there is the possibility for a “Ghana” umbrella appellation for its cocoa, together with subsidiary appellations for the six cocoa growing regions in Ghana. A predictor for the success of GIs for Ghana’s cocoa is the Fairtrade branding undertaken by KuapaKokoo, a cocoa farmers' cooperative organisation.

Kente Cloth has been identified as another Ghanaian product of interest for GIs protection.

Kenya

Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya's (GDP), after the service sector. The principal cash crops are tea, horticultural products, and coffee. Tea and horticultural products (cut flowers) are the main growth sectors and the two most valuable of all of Kenya’s exports.

The Kenyan Trade Marks Act 2002 (TMA) provides for the registration of certification and collective marks and a number of geographical marks have been registered in both categories. Kenya is in the process of drafting a Bill on GIs. Drafting commenced in 2001 and on 17 December 2010 the Attorney General’s Department issued the Geographical Indications Bill 2010. It is envisaged that, subject to any further comments by stakeholders, this will be presented as a Government Bill when the Parliamentary schedule is favourable. In the meantime, a Private Members Bill on GIs is proposed to be introduced to Parliament in 2011.

In 2009, the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) commenced a technical cooperation project in the field of GIs with the Swiss Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI). This project sought to identify Kenyan products which could benefit from GIs protection and also supported the establishment of a functioning GIs protection system in Kenya. 

Kenya has joined with a number of like-minded countries in the "Friends of GIs" group to get a clear mandate confirming negotiations on extension as part of single undertaking of the Doha Round.

In 2010, Kenya was the largest exporter of tea with 22% of the export market. Egypt accounts for 24% of the total export volume, Pakistan 19%, Afghanistan 13%, UK 12% and Sudan 6%.

Currently, small-scale farmers account for 60% of all the tea produced in Kenya. The balance is produced by the large scale tea plantations under the control of multinationals. The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Ltd, incorporated as a private company in June 2000, currently manages 58 tea factories in the smallholder sub-sector serving over 500,000 growers. The returns to the small­ scale farmers have historically been much lower than that for the plantations. This is attributed among other things to management fees charged by KTDA, taxes imposed on small­ scale tea farming, the high costs of production, and the long and inefficient supply chain. The commission paid out to tea brokers by KTDA are deducted from tea payments to the farmers, who play no role in the setting of commission rates. Consequently a large proportion of earnings end up being used at the KTDA level instead of directly benefiting farmers. As a consequence of this situation, the average return to the small-scale farmer has remained very small, with tea factories paying an average of USD 0.21 per Kg of green tea leaf collected from those farmers, whereas Kenyan tea has fetched an average of USD 1.72 per Kg on world markets in the last 8 years. The utilisation of GIs will come with organizational and certification costs, as well as promotional expenses. Given the other overheads which the small scale farmers are carrying, their enthusiasm for a GIs approach to the production and marketing of tea would no doubt be conditional upon these costs being covered through increased revenues.

The construction of a GIs system for tea in Kenya has to take into account the way in which tea is acquired, processed and marketed, as well as the international tea trading system. The tea supply chain for small scale farmers has 12 cost centres which share the revenue generated from the sale of tea. Tea is acquired from small scale farmers by factories in the areas in which the tea is grown. Value addition on tea starts at the factory where processing and grading are done. After grading, most of the tea is sold in bulk, either directly or through auction.

The Mombasa tea auction absorbs 75% of the tea crop of Kenya, the Kenya Tea Packers limited (KETEPA) takes 7% of the tea, direct sales, (overseas and local) takes 15% and factory door sales takes 3% of total produced tea.

There are 12 registered companies who operate as Tea Brokers at the Mombasa Tea Auction. They facilitate the sale of tea on behalf of producers. Their primary functions are to taste tea for the purpose of quality verification and price setting for the respective tea qualities. The tea brokers would obviously have to be appraised of the establishment of a GIs system for teat, so that the various designations can be priced for sale.

Of the current revenues received for tea, less than 3% of the consumer price reflects the work of the labourer. Around 15% of the retail price goes to the plantation and factory, while around 0.3% goes to the auction broker. This means that around 80% of the value is added further on the supply chain and accrues to the exporter, trader and/or manufacturer. A means will have to be established to ensure that some of the enhanced value from GIs returns up the value chain to producers.

A particular problem for the establishment of GIs for Kenyan tea is the fact that traditionally Kenya tea has been sold to the market in bulk form. It is currently used by purchasing tea companies to blend and add taste to cheaper varieties. By selling tea in bulk, often as a generic without branding and packaging, Kenya is missing the opportunity for significantly increased export earnings.

The marketing of Kenyan tea based on GIs branding will involve advertising and promotional effort. Currently, the advertising of tea is undertaken primarily by the leading companies. A business plan will have to be developed to interest these companies in Kenyan GIs.

The main tea growing areas in Kenya are: Mount Kenya, the Aberdares, and the Nyambene hills in the Central Kenya and the Mau escarpment , Kericho Highlands, Nandi  and Kisii Highlands and the the Cherangani Hills.

The basis of GIs protection for Kenyan tea is the fact that it has certain advantageous characteristics which cannot be replicated elsewhere and which can form the basis of GIs protection. These include:

  1. Kenya tea is free of pests and/or diseases. This means that Kenya tea is produced without use of any agrochemicals.
  2. Kenya tea is grown along the Equator which means that the tea receives 12 hours of sunlight throughout the year.
  3. Kenya Tea is grown in areas of altitude between 1500-2700 metres above sea level, receiving 1200-1400mm of rainfall annually, which is spread throughout the year. This makes the supply of Kenya tea consistent throughout the year both in quantity and quality.
  4. Kenya tea is rich in anti-oxidants which has appeal for health conscious consumers.
  5. Over 90% of tea from Kenya is hand-picked, compared with other producers where the tea is machine picked. Only the finest top two leaves and the bud are used for tea production, which explains the excellent cuppage and aroma of Kenyan teas.

A GIs mapping programme is being undertaken to identify the characteristics of the seven tea growing regions of Kenya and the tea attributable to those characteristics. These are Nyambene, Meru, Embu, Kirinyaga/Nyeri, Aberdare, Mau Escarpment, Kisii Highlands and  Nandi Hills/Cheryanganyi/Lake Region.

Other Kenyan products identified as those which could benefit from GIs protection are: Kenya coffee, horticultural products, cut flowers, Kangeta Miraa, Kikuyu grass, Meru potato, Mombassa and Asembo mangoes, Muranga and Kisii bananas, Molo lamb, Kitengela ostrich meat, Omena fish, Mursik milk, Keringet mineral water, Tsavonite and Magadi soda, Naivasha wine, Kakamega Papaya, Kakamenga omukombera and Tilapia fish from Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana as well as the Victoria Nile Perch (Mbuta). Protectable handicrafts would include Lamu doors and chests, Kisii soapstone, Akamba carvings, Wamunyu handicrafts and Maasai attire and beads.

Mauritius

Demerara Sugar was chosen as a subject for the Mauritian Case Study as it is a potential GIs-based product which can be used to maintain Mauritius’ market share in the declining sugar market.  Currently Mauritius has an annual production of 575 000t of sugar, exports to the EU and the US amounted to 540 000t and around 8000 tonnes of special sugars was sold to 23 world market destinations – the remainder is sold locally. The basic guaranteed price for raw sugar declined in Mauritius’ European market from 448.80 euros per metric ton in 2009 to 335.20 euros per metric ton in 2010. At the same time the euro declined from 44.41 MUR to 38.44MUR in May 2010, also reducing Mauritian sugar revenues.

A Sugar Action Plan and Marketing Strategy have been developed with objectives which include the transformation of the sugar industry from an essentially raw sugar producer to a situation where it produces several types of sugar i.e. raw, special, industrial and white. Cost reduction is to be achieved through the closure of seven out of the existing eleven factories to realise economies of scale; reduction of the area under sugar cultivation from 72, 000 to 63 000 hectares.

Absent from the Action Plan and the Sugar Strategy is any proposal to maintain the demand for sugar or for capturing a premium price for Mauritian sugar through marketing or product differentiation.

The potential effect of GI registration is therefore of interest if it can be shown to arrest the decline in sales and enhance marketing potential.

Interviews were conducted with representatives of: organisations of producers, processors, distributors and exporters from the sugar industry and agriculture (Mauritius Sugar Authority, Mauritius Sugar Syndicate); other qualified experts of the product surveyed and its markets (Association of Horticulture Producers & Exporters, Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture, Mauritius Research Council) and IP bodies and public administrations dealing with the administration of IPRs relating  to products that are already the object of a GI or trademark protection in one form or another) informed by the administration of questionnaires

Demerara sugar is made by partially refining sugar cane extract, whereas most brown sugar is made by adding molasses to fully refined sugar. Of the special sugars, which are brown unrefined sugars, Demerara predominates, but there are no statistics on the production of Demerara sugar as a specific category.

Historically it has proved difficult to register Demerara as a trademark and the Mauritius Sugar Syndicate has been advised, because of the perceptions of the general descriptiveness of the mark “Demerara Mauritius”, not to proceed with a trademark registration, but to apply for a collective trademark in Mauritius and for a collective Community Trade Mark with OHIM. The Mauritian collective trade mark was obtained in 2008.

The conclusions of this Case Study are as follows:

  • The collective marks have not materially affected sales or returns on the export of Demerara Sugar largely because the designation is very recent and there has been virtually no marketing programme designed to capitalise on the unique nature of the project.
  • The responses to the Questionnaire indicates that perceptions of the economic advantages of GI Protection are in the main very positive with answers to most of the questions asked indicating a “high” value.
  • The disadvantages of GI Protection are considered significant in the following areas:
  • Difficulty attached to the identification of the specific biological or cultural attributes of the product.
  • Legal and administrative complexity related to the development of a GI.
  • Lack of financial and human resources to engage in GI development.
  • Difficulties associated with the implementation and management of an appropriate governance structure for the GI.
  • Additionally there was considerable worry that small producers could be excluded from the economic gains associated with this protection due to the difficulties of compliance and costs associated with production

When asked what were considered to be the main drawbacks associated with the existing international GI protection regimes for the effective protection of African GIs the following were the main comments:

  • High cost of protection, absence of a centralised protection system
  • Development of a central office for African GIs with more affordable costs
  • Ignorance of sources of information covering GI information or Research on products and markets.

Costs associated with GI introduction and management in Mauritius were reviewed and it was noted that the current situation in regard to the management of GIs is as follows:

  • IP is currently managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and there is discussion with the Ministries of Industry and Science which considers that it might be more suited to run the IP business - this situation has not as yet been resolved.
  • The Trade Marks office could take this responsibility on with little added expense.
  • On the other hand the Ministry of Agriculture wants to run GIs, in which case they will need to set up an entirely separate registry.

Other potential Products which could be included in a GI protection programme range from Rodrigues limes and chillis, Baie Topaz Red Beans from Rodrigues and Rodrigues honey, organically-grown onions, Bois Cheri Tea and Chamarel Coffee, as well as various exotic fruits from both Mauritius and Rodrigues.


Nigeria

Introduction

Agriculture is the second most important industry in Nigeria after oil. This case study is concerned with the potential for marketing yams using GIs. There is no current Nigerian legislation on geographical indications. Two sets of regulations promulgated in 2005 deal with the accuracy of labeling for wines and spirits respectively. The only possibility for the protection of GIs in Nigeria is as a certification mark under the Trade Marks Act 1990

Yams

The yam is the most common food in many communities of Nigeria as they are the earliest food harvested in the year. Yam is the main agricultural crop of the Igbos, Idomas, and Tivs. It is the "staple" food of the Igbo people. Yam plays a major role in the sociocultural life for a wide range of smallholder households especially in the dominant production zone of Nigeria. Consumer demand for yam is generally high and yam cultivation is very profitable despite high production costs.  This, ought to being seen in the context of majority of such farmer holdings are largely small-holders with and average acreage of one hectare.

Nigeria earned ₦70b from yam exports in 2010 being higher than the N56bn recorded in 2008. World production of yam has grown from 48.7 million tonnes of yams produced worldwide in 2005 to 51.4 million tonnes in 2008. Nigeria produced about 38.7 million tonnes; Ghana, 3.6 million; while Cote d’Ivoire produced 4.8 million tonnes.   

Yam exports in Nigeria were primarily handled by the informal sector, compared with countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire that had advanced marketing channels and dominated the international market. The Federal Government has undertaken programs to promote the international marketing of Nigerian yams.   

The Nasarawa State government state established a yam conditioning centre in Keffi, and is the first of its kind in the country through a novel Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the private sector, the federal and state government. The Nasarawa State launched itself into the international trade market with the formal introduction of its Yam into the United Kingdom and other European Union markets in July 2010.  The state launched the yam under the trademark  “Pepa Yam”, Nigeria. The development followed three successful export trials of the yam to the United Kingdom during which the product was well received in the market. Some 160 metric tonnes of yam were exported to the United Kingdom (UK) under the trademark, PEPA Yam. There is significant potential for the protection of these Yams through GIs registration.

Kola Nuts

Kola nuts (or cola nuts) are the seed pods of various evergreen trees; Sterculiaceae cola vera is the scientific name of the most common species. Kola nuts contain caffeine and act as a stimulant and anti-depressant, they are also thought to reduce fatigue and hunger, aid digestion, and work as an aphrodisiac. Among the Igbo, kola nuts are given as gifts to visitors entering a home, usually with some formal ceremony. Kola nuts, the seed of Cola nitida and Cola acuminata, are native to West Africa. In the 1800s, a pharmacist in Georgia took extracts of kola, sugar and coca and mixed them with carbonated water. His accountant tasted it and called it "Coca Cola." Today, Coca-Cola still uses kola in its original recipe.

There are over 50 species of kola. Of these seven have edible nuts, but only two have been commercially exploited (C. nitida and C. acuminata). The most important is C. nitida. The main centers of production are in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. Annual production from these countries alone is in excess of 250,000 tons.

Given the size of the trade in Kola nuts, there is some potential for their protection through GIs.


Rwanda

Rwandan Coffee

Introduction

Coffee is one of the major agricultural products in Rwanda, accounting for more than 50% of the country’s exports.  In 2010, coffee exports accounted for a volume of about 18,000 tons. The Government of Rwanda is following a proactive policy of strengthening the supply chain, based on a quality strategy.  The main focus of the policy currently pursued in the coffee sector is thus to improve the quality of production in order to position Rwandan coffees in the high quality, specialty coffees market.  This strategy is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and by OCIR-Café (Office des Cultures Industrielles du Rwanda) or the Coffee of Rwanda Development Authority.

The legislative framework for registration and protection of GIs is Law No. 31/2009 of 26 October 2009 on Protection of Intellectual Property (Articles 165 to 176), which provides for the registration of GIs. Given the very recent entry into force of the Law, no product in Rwanda has been granted GIs protection, neither is any investigation underway for the protection of the indication geographic of a product. The Law also provides for the registration of collective marks (Articles 158-160) and certification marks (Articles 161-163).

Administration of the Law is the responsibility of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) an agency under the direct authority of the Presidency of the Republic. A Department of the RDB concerned with trade and crafts and promotion of investments has within it the Office of the Registrar General (ORG), which has jurisdiction over the registration and protection of GIs. 

Coffees of Rwanda

The organoleptical qualities and granulometry specific to coffees of Rwanda have been studied through laboratory measurements performed by OCIR-Café. The Institut Supérieur Agronomique du Rwanda - ISAR (Higher Institute of Agronomy of Rwanda) conducts research on new production technologies and improvement of production, viewing to increase production volumes and quality. More specifically, ISAR is conducting a multi-annual coffee research programme, aiming to determine those varieties of coffee most suitable to the soils, altitude and various natural proprieties specific to the regions of Rwanda. Technologies developed are made available to the OCIR-Café, which in turn disseminates them to producers.

Three varieties of coffee are available are grown throughout the entire territory of Rwanda:   Bourbon Mayaguez BM 71, Bourbon Mayaguez BM 139, and Jackson.  All three belong to the Arabica family.  It should be noted that none of these varieties is endemic to Rwanda.  Two of them, as it seems, originate from the island of Reunion and the third, Bourbon Mayaguez BM 71, could come from Ethiopia and have been introduced via the Congo, from the region of Bukavu.  These varieties are also grown in neighbouring countries, such as Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi.  Generally speaking, there are four coffee production regions in Rwanda which are associated with quite distinct characteristics: Kivu (West), North, South and East. The main differences between coffees originating from different regions of Rwanda are sufficiently perceptible to be appreciated by discerning consumers and national and foreign "coffee shop" chains. Thus, Rwandan chain "Bourbon Coffee Shop" distributes various coffees under the names of Kivu, Maraba and others, referring to different production regions in Rwanda.

Coffee from Rwanda is widely recognized as a premium coffee in its main export markets but also in other producing countries of the region. The main characteristics of Rwandan coffee recognized by connoisseurs and specialists are in terms of taste, acidity and body. For the Rwanda Coffee Federation, reputation of the national coffee on international markets is greater than that of coffees from neighbouring countries, a fact that was confirmed by the scores obtained by certain Rwandan coffee lots in the last edition of the "Cup of Excellence" competition, several of which exceeded the score of 90/100 -which was considered exceptional.

According COOPAC, coffee from Rwanda enjoys an established reputation in its main export markets, especially the United States, Japan, Scandinavian countries, Great Britain and, to a lesser degree, Belgium, France and Australia.

The Coffee Value Chain

Coffee is cultivated mainly by individual producers operating mostly very small plots (180 trees and 0.5 ha on average who are often grouped in cooperatives.  Rwanda currently counts 394,206 farmers.  Cooperatives, which include individual producers or, in some cases, groups of producers, collect and sell their produce under the name of their washing stations or, in some cases, carry out washing themselves. There are about 125 coffee-growing cooperatives in Rwanda, but their number is very unstable because of the rapid appearance and disappearance of cooperatives. Eighty-four out of these 125 cooperatives are themselves members of unions grouped in a national cooperatives federation, the Coffee of Rwanda Cooperatives Federation, created in 2009.

Cooperatives usually buy coffee cherries from producers at a pre-determined price based on current market conditions, then negotiate, after washing, depending on market conditions that may have changed in the meantime. In case of profit, the cooperatives pay a rebate to producers. The strategic objectives of the National Cooperatives Federation includes marketing assistance to producers and is in an advantageous position to assist in the certification of standards for GIs.

They are ten hulling plants in number, the seven largest of which are all located in Kigali, which generally export coffee in the form of green coffee.

They are a few roasting plants. Their production is also mainly destined for the local market with very small amounts of coffee being exported in the form of roasted coffee. Some producers roast their own coffee. OCIR-Café performs roasting operations intended solely for the local market. Five chains of coffee shops, three of which belong to the same brand, Bourbon Coffee Roasters, are also coffee roasters. Some cooperative or private washing stations, including those of COOPAC, also carry out roasting, but their capacity in this regard is insignificant. OCIR-Café is committed to a project for the development of local roasting participating in the creation of a joint company, the "Grind Farmers Company". This joint venture has plans to build a roasting plant in Kigali with a capacity of about 1,000 tons per year, with the bulk production destined for export. A preliminary market analysis has demonstrated the interest of export markets, particularly those of East Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, for roasted coffees in Rwanda.

Swiss investors have also recently focused on roasting and bagging in Rwanda, contributing to the achievement of higher added value in the country. More generally, since 2008 there has been a sharp increase in the capacity of roasting and grinding coffee in Rwanda.

Rwanda counts 48 coffee exporters, with an export activity largely concentrated in the hands of the first five or six exporters who carry out about 85% of total exports of coffee from Rwanda. The main exporters are the private companies PAL Rwanda, which export roasted and bagged coffee, Rwacof, Rwandex, Rwanda Coffee Industries and various cooperatives, among which COOPAC.

Export Markets

The main export markets for Coffee of Rwanda are Europe, which accounts for more than 50% of those exports, the United States, Japan and China. The principal European markets are Great Britain, Switzerland, France and Belgium. Rwanda's share in its main export markets is very low. Rwanda produces only 20,000 to 25,000 tons of coffee per year for a production capacity estimated at between 40,000 to 45,000 tons, which means that the rate of capacity utilization is only slightly higher that 50%. Rwanda is a very small producer compared to market leaders Brazil, Colombia, Kenya and Tanzania.

These Rwandan markets are not fully comparable. Europe and China import both "fully washed" and "semi-washed" coffee, while the U.S. and Japan import only superior quality "fully washed" coffee. In total, the "gourmet" market represents 20 to 25% of total exports of Coffee of Rwanda, the regular market 75 to 80%, with the U.S. accounting for about 50 to 60% of exports of gourmet coffee and the European Union for virtually all exports of regular coffee. Rwandan coffee exported at a "semi-washed" stage is sold at an average price of approximately 2.90 USD/ kg and coffee exported at a "fully-washed" stage is sold at an average price of about 4.00 USD/ kg.

The principal markets in which the Department of Agriculture expects the coffees of Rwanda to win greater market shares are those of Japan, Great Britain, Germany, U.S. and the Middle East in which the reputation of coffees from Rwanda is already well established For the Ministry, the main obstacle to the development of these exports is the low production capacity of Rwanda and not the quality of coffee products, as the market today is capable of absorbing much larger quantities than those exported. Thus, all exported coffee is distributed without apparent difficulty and without an identifiable impact caused by price increases.

It should be noted that a big proportion of regular "semi-washed" green coffee is exported to Kenya where it is blended with coffees from other countries, including Kenya itself, before being re-exported from the port of Mombasa. Thus, most of Rwanda's coffee exports do not reach their final destination directly but are exported in bulk to the port of Mombasa where they are mixed and re-exported by international companies, mainly American, Chinese or Arab, to their final destination, especially Great Britain or the United States where Starbucks is one of the main buyers. These coffees are then sold under a different brand depending on their final destination.

However, some coffees are directly exported to their final consumer market. This is the case of recognized quality coffees, such as Maraba coffee which is directly exported to the United States or Great Britain after being roasted in Rwanda. However, green coffee accounts for almost all coffee exports.

Designing GIs for Rwandan Coffees

The Spread Program, jointly implemented by the American agency USAID and OCIR-Café, includes a section for the development of a designation of origin for Rwanda coffees and more specifically Maraba coffee. This project involves a process of identifying the physical origins of the inherent quality of coffee in this region. A report on the subject of geographical indications is expected by OCIR-Café by the end of 2011. Similarly, a project has been designed for the development of designation of origin coffees from Rwanda, involving the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement-CIRAD (French Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development), and ICRAF, the International Center for Research in Agroforestry.

Most actors agree that a geographical designation of coffees from Rwanda should at the same time identify both these regional characteristics and the specificity of coffees from Rwanda in relation to its neighbouring countries. Thus, the preferred designation would be a double name like "Kivu / Rwanda Coffee" or "Maraba / Rwanda Coffee". The generic designation "Coffee of Rwanda" could be considered for coffees from other growing regions without equally strong characteristics.

The Ministries of Agriculture and Commerce would prefer a principal designation of "Coffee of Rwanda" which could benefit a larger number of producers and cover a larger volume of production, while allowing for certain specialized designations, such as "Kivu coffee", where a specific recognized quality is attributed to a region of production. According to several interlocutors, besides Kivu and Maraba, certain coffees from the Northern regions could be particularly identified and, more specifically, coffees from Rulindo and Gatientye, and the Southern region, particularly those from Niamagabe and Huye.

One producer, sells coffee under the name of "Bourbon Kivu" marked "Speciality Arabica Coffee from The Shores of Lake Kivu."

Potential profit and benefits linked to geographical indication protection of coffees from Rwanda

For the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), GI protection could bring on the implementation of planning works and better product recognition - the designation acting as a guarantee, a form of free advertising, sending a strong signal to markets. For the RDB, the introduction of GIs protection could lead to competition among producers and thus result in improved product quality and production processes.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, the introduction of GIs protection could also help develop export markets for coffees of Rwanda.  The Department would welcome the introduction of protection of GIs of coffees roasted and packaged in Rwanda.

From the OCIR-Café point of view, small producers would find no advantage in the establishment of a protected GIs unless the cooperatives and private washing stations commit to grant them a return on the additional margins redeemed from such a GI protected status. The protection of GIs may be accompanied by an improvement in the quality of exported coffee and production processes used, provided that the GIs designation is accorded only to “fully washed” coffees.

The signal to the market could have a very significant impact, particularly for Japan, the United States and Great Britain.  The introduction of GIs protection could also foster even better cooperation between producers than the already good relations, but this development can be envisaged only with the support of OCIR-Café.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the introduction of GI protection would force producers to make collective efforts to meet the standards imposed by the “coffee of Rwanda" label, and jointly defend the value of their name of origin.

The introduction of protection of GIs could give some perspective for higher prices and, consequently, facilitate producers and washing stations’ access of to finance by providing them better conditions of profitability and improve conditions for producers' access to financing. 

"Fair Trade" labels have already been granted to some coffees of Rwanda, including the Maraba coffee, while "organic" labels are now being developed.  Currently, twelve to fifteen cooperatives already have a "Fair Trade" label while a sector is soon to be granted an "organic" label.  GIs protection seems consistent with this development, as the "fair trade" and "organic" labels may be granted to some producers, but not necessarily all, active in an area also protected as GIs.

The introduction of GIs could also boost the development of existing markets, or open new markets.  Rwanda is already planning to significantly increase its coffee production and is targeting a production volume of approximately 40,000 tons within the next five years.  Rwanda particularly hopes to develop its sales of “fully washed” coffee on the European market.  Rwanda also hopes to benefit from increased exports to the U.S. and China. 

Coffee-growing has already economically and socially transformed many parts of Rwanda, promoting the development of housing, education, infrastructure and health care as well as road infrastructure.  Introducing GIs can only strengthen this trend.

It has been pointed out that introducing protection of GIs will lead to increase and growth of land parcels, which could possibly constitute a risk to the protection of ecosystems and landscapes and subsequently result in harm to biodiversity. This concern is taken into account by the Ministry of Agriculture, and the risk could be reduced by introducing conditions for allocation of funding, so that respect to biodiversity will be taken into consideration in development projects.

Senegal

Yett or "cymbium cymbium"

Yett is a genus of sea snail. Dried on the beaches by artisan fishers, it is used as a condiment in the preparation of certain dishes such as kandia soup or thiebou dieune.   Yett is found all along the coast of Senegal, and even beyond.  Yett fishermen, including those operating in Joal, are known to frequent the coasts of Gambia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Yett is fairly homogeneous across the "small coast" (from Dakar to Casamance). Joal and M'Bour are the two major mollusc fishing ports in the region.  The mollusc appears to have specific gustative qualities that consumers recognise. Informed consumers are able to identify the origin of the Yett by the colour of the product. The Yett from Sangomar point and Pointe-Sarene appear to be particularly appreciated and recognized by consumers and small-scale processors.

 There are six main steps to production of processed Yett once the shellfish has been captured: shelling, cleaning, salting, fermentation, drying and slicing.  This process is identical in all Yett fishing grounds.  Once the shell is cracked open, the mollusc is buried under the sand for several days to season.  It is then washed with clean water four or five times, sliced and dried in the sun. The quality of the finished product directly depends on the duration of drying, as it should be left to dry as long as possible, up to two or three weeks. Drying results in a change in colour of the product which turns from whitish to a shade of red.

 Leaving the product out to dry in the open air is an essential phase in processing Yett, as sunlight is a natural characteristic essential to its production.

Geographical Identification of the production zone

Two ports play a major role in fishing and processing Yett: Joal and M'Bour; Joal is clearly the most important of the two.  These two ports combined account for about 70% of Senegal’s production of Yett.  Several geographical designations could thus be considered: Joal Yett, small-coast Yett, or Senegalese Yett.  In either case, the origin of catch remains to be certified, as it can sometimes be located very far from the port site.

Identifying key markets

About half the Yett caught in Joal is intended for the domestic market, and the other half is sent off to various export markets.  The main export markets of Joal Yett are Korea, China, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia.  It is worth noting that the Yett is not directly exported from Senegal to Europe; however, according to several sources, Yett exported to Asian markets could sometimes be re-exported to Europe, especially France, mainly to Senegalese expatriate communities.

According to Elim Pêches company officials, the quality of its product, especially the quality of the cymbium originating from Joal, is recognized by Asian consumers. Elim Pêches products appear to be extremely popular in Korea, and also have an excellent reputation in Japan.

Value chain analysis

There were about 700 boats engaged in fishing in Joal in April 2010.  A percentage of 99% of these boats belong to the fishermen themselves, and a few others belong to a fish wholesale trader or a private investor. 

In 2000, the total catch of cymbium represented a volume of 4916 tons for the whole of Senegal.

There is a small number of artisanal processors who pay the fishermen in advance, to buy exclusive access to the product caught. There are eight Yett specializing wholesalers trading in Joal. The sector has four cooking and freezing plants and some thirty private facilities implementing the same type of operation on a smaller scale.  These facilities have emerged more recently than the factories, and this emergence seems to result directly from the success of the product on the export markets.

Elim Pêches is the only factory located in Joal, it is the top exporter of the Senegalese Yett.  Elim Pêches collects Yett all along the small coast of Senegal, not only Joal.  The Company employs 20 permanent employees and about fifty other fixed- term employees.  It was  founded in 2004 as a partnership between Korean and Senegalese entrepreneurs. The Elim Pêches production is exported, mainly to Korean markets, which account for 62% of the company’s sales. The other export markets are Japan (22%) and China (5%).

Elim Pêches sells to importers on the various export markets, who in turn resell the product to individual traders and supermarket chains.

Elim Pêches has already identified imitations of its products in China and is convinced that establishment of GIs protection of the Senegal Yett is important.

 There are five major national organizations related to Yett fishing and processing: the National Collective of Fishermen of Senegal, the National Federation of Fisheries EIGs of Senegal (FENALGIE), the National Federation of Fish Wholesale Traders of Senegal, the National Federation of Fish Processors and Wholesale Traders of Senegal and, finally, the National Union of EIGs of Fish Wholesalers of Senegal. These five associations have grouped themselves into a single entity called the National Interprofessional Committee of Artisanal Fisheries of Senegal - CONIPAS (Comité National Interprofessionnel de la Pêche Artisanale du Sénégal).

Advantages, disadvantages and potential problems linked to GI protection of Yett

Stakeholders recognize the substantial potential benefit in establishing GIs protection for the Yett. The main potential benefits identified linked to a possible GI protection concern the impact of eventual labelling on development of infrastructure, stabilization, quantity and quality of production and, consequently, hopefully easier access for new funding. Funding is indeed a serious problem for the sector, as private and public institutions most often refuse to provide even limited support to further develop, or to even just maintain this activity.

Other expected benefits from protection of geographical indication include the opportunity to increase the selling price of the product, building awareness of the product in export markets, and stricter selection processes at the source, thus resulting in improved quality.

For small-scale processors, labelling could open new markets and assist them to develop their business towards export markets.

According to ELIM Pêches, protection of the Yett’s geographical indication could have a positive effect in improving production processes and final product quality. This protection could also be an important message to markets. However, the company possesses foreign capital, and faces no problem of funding - the introduction of protection of GIs would probably bring them no benefit in this sense.

According to Elim Pêches company officials, the impact of GI protection on sales volumes in key export markets could be significant (from a 50% increase to a doubling of exports).

Among the identified potential disadvantages of eventual geographical indication protection for the Yett, worth noting is the risk of exclusion of fishermen registered at secondary ports.

Another risk identified is that new investments will be required to qualify for certification for protection of geographical indication. Given the financing difficulties mentioned above, this could lead many players to exclusion from the system.

Industrialists, meanwhile, evoke the risk of being introduced to new health checks on the product, such as the microbiological controls that U.S. authorities demanded for each lot exported to the United States. This type of control is considered an unjustified administrative burden. However, the introduction of such protection would indeed probably lead to exclusion from the supply side; however, this is considered to be positive, as it would actually eradicate lower quality products from the market, which are currently tarnishing the reputation of the product.

The fact that the resource is already becoming scarce, means that there is an actual risk in terms of biodiversity. This should be specifically addressed and managed in any future system put in place to protect the Yett GI.

Other possible tools for protecting geographical indication

It is also worth noting that the two ports of Joal and M'Bour are the only two in Senegal to have been approved by the EU, allowing products reaching these ports to be sold onto the European market. A certification system on the landing location is being put in place following the relevant approval. This system can be considered a form of protection of geographical indication of the landing site (but not the fishing site) for the European market.

In Joal, the Fisheries Department is responsible for issuing certificates of origin and health to wholesalers, which shall include the registration number of the canoe. The implementation of this certification is thus accompanied by the establishment of a system of traceability from product capture to sale. The wholesalers must declare the nature and volume of their purchases to the Fisheries Service before they can in turn sell their products to processing plants in Joal or Dakar. This certificate is also required for the transport of cymbium to Dakar.


Tanzania

Zanzibar Cloves was chosen as a subject for the Tanzanian Case Study as it is a potential GIs-based product which can be used to retrieve Zanzibar’s market share in a declining and fluctuating market for its cloves.  In the best years prior to this, the price of cloves reached US $ 9000 a ton. With the entry to the market of other spice-producing countries, a glut in production reduced prices by 2002 to less than US $ 2000. The fall in price was accompanied by a steep drop in production in Zanzibar to below 50 tons in the 1999 crop season against a high of 24200 tons in 1958. It is estimated that there is an illicit export trade in smuggled cloves of around 5% depending upon available prices. Historically, the Zanzibari economy was almost exclusively been based upon its clove exports. Currently the major producers of cloves are: Indonesia, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Comoros, Sri-Lanka and Brazil.

The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (RGZ) has been considering how its clove industry could be revitalized. The reforms which have been recommended mainly involve liberalisation in the administration of the marketing of the crop, by allowing a greater role for private enterprise and improvements in growing and harvesting techniques. Not yet addressed is the way in which cloves might be promoted in world markets. Because of its climatic and agricultural situation, Zanzibar cloves have a number of unique features, which could underpin GIs protection. These include: (i) distinctive aroma and unique flavour, which makes it particularly appealing to consumers using the clove in cooking; (ii)  attractive reddish brown appearance, which makes it particularly appealing to the Indian spice market; (iii) distinctive size, enhancing its appeal to consumers, particularly for use in cooking; (iv) organically produced, enhancing its appeal for the growing international market for organic products; and (v) low oil content, making them particularly suitable for  the production of kreteks Indonesian (clove cigarettes).

The protection of cloves under GIs is a possibility because Zanzibar’s Industrial Property Law 2008 provides for the registration of GIs.

Interviews were conducted with clove producers in Zanzibar, including the Zanzibar State Trading Corporation - which currently acquires and sells all of Zanzibar’s cloves, representatives of  companies involved in processing clove oil, other qualified experts of the product surveyed and its markets (Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture,    Zanzibar Exporters Association) and the Registrar General’s Office - which is concerned with the administration of IPRs in Zanzibar, as well as the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Marketing, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. The interviews were informed by the administration of questionnaires.

The conclusions of this Case Study are as follows:

  • GIs have not materially affected sales or returns on the export of cloves because of the necessity to reform the way in which cloves are acquired and sold in the export market and the possibility of GIs protection is only very recent.
  • The responses to the questionnaire indicate that perceptions of the economic advantages of GI Protection are very positive with answers to most of the questions asked indicating a “high” value.
  • The disadvantages of GI Protection are considered significant in the following areas:
  • Lack of financial and human resources to engage in GI development.
  • The necessity for capacity-building among farmers.
  • Difficulties associated with the establishment of an appropriate certification structure for the GI.
  • Concern over how small producers could be excluded from the economic gains associated with this protection due to the difficulties of compliance and costs associated with production.
  • Concern over how the promotion of the GI might be undertaken and financed in overseas markets.

When asked what were considered to be the main drawbacks associated with the existing international GI protection regimes for the effective protection of African GIs, the main comments were the following:

  • Absence of a centralised African or regional protection system.
  • Lack of public knowledge about GIs.
  • Ignorance of sources of information covering GI information or Research on products and markets.

Costs associated with GI introduction and management in Zanzibar were reviewed and it was noted that a legal and administrative capacity for the registration of GIs had to be established and that there was a particular necessity to obtain assistance in drafting implementing regulations for the 2008 Law.

Other potential Products which could be included in a GI protection programme in Zanzibar range from Black Pepper, Cinnamon,  Ginger, Turmeric Vanilla, Kichaa Chilli and cash crops; including fruits like mango, bungo and papaya; spices, sea weed and other marine products and Zanzibar doors.

GI possibilities in mainland Tanzania which were identified are cut flowers and high value vegetables and sisal. Appropriate trademarks or GIs legislation are required for this form of protection.

 


8Other Studies

  1.  It should be noted that this project is one of a number of similar evaluations of GIs in Africa which could also be utilised in supporting the objective of the project. Principal among these are the evaluations of potential Kenyan GIs conducted in the context of the 2009 Swiss-Kenyan Project on GIs (SKGI). Kenya was also surveyed in a paper commissioned by the ACP-EU programme TradeCom and published in April 2010.[77] An ACP-EU Regional Workshop on the protection of GIs held in Cape Town with the collaboration of ARIPO, 10 – 11 May 2010 in considering “GIs Experiences in African ACP Member States”, received reports on Vanilla from Madagascar, Bark cloth from Uganda and Argane oil from Morocco. A similar workshop organised under the auspices of OAPI in Douala, Cameroon, 27 – 28 April 2010 received reports on the GIs potential of  Penja white pepper, Cameroon (Poivre blanc du Penja), Onions from Dogon, Mali (Echalote du Pays Dogon), Attiéké from Grand-Lahou, Côte D’Ivoire, Korhogo cloth - Côte d'Ivoire  and products of Argan trees  in Morocco. Also, as part of the ACP-EU programme a report was commissioned on potential GIs in Côte d’Ivoire.[78] This report considered the GIs possibilities for: cashew nuts, attieke of Grand-Lahou, Fakaha cloth (Toiles de Fakaha) and the Kent mango of Cote d’Ivoire, as well as the para rubber tree of Grand Boudoury,  Katiola pottery,  Tiebissou cloth, cocoa, the kponan yam of Bondoukou, savannah cotton and mountain rice. An “International expert consultation on Geographical Indications (GIs) for coffee and cocoa sectors in Cameroon” was organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), the Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (OriGIn) and the National Coffee and Cocoa Board of Cameroon (NCCB) in Yaoundé on September 28th – 30th 2010. Training on Legal Aspects of Trade Policy, Regional and GIs were also the subject of a Regional Workshop organized by Tradecom and ECOWAS on “Multilateral Trade Negotiations for the West African Region” held in Accra, Ghana on 8-12 November 2010.
  2. A workshop organised by INAO- the French national institute for designation of origin, the French Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries and the agricultural research institute CIRAD, and supported by OAPI was held  in Montpellier from 24 to 27 March 2009. It examined the challenges related to Geographical Indications (GIs) for ACP countries, considered the GIs potential of shea butter from Burkina Faso, shallots from the Dogon area of Mali,  rooibos tea from South Africa, argan oil from Morocco, Galmi onions from Niger, Fouta Djalon potatoes from Guinea and Madagascar Vanilla. Key issues for GIs protection in the member states of OAPI were addressed by the Director General of OAPI.
  3. Pursuant to Recommendation 37 of the Development Agenda, WIPO’s Committee on Development and Intellectual Property  has initiated a ”Project on Intellectual Property and Socio-Economic Development” to  conduct studies on the protection of intellectual property and to identify the possible links and impacts between IP and development. [79] projects among those which have been initiated are Needs Evaluation and Technical Support for the Development of a
    Sectoral IP Development Strategy to enhance the competetiveness of the cotton and clove sectors in Uganda and Zanziabar and improve income of small producers Small Scale Clove Producers in Zanzibar. These projects are considering, inter alia,  the utilisation of GIs to promote these various products.
  4. The FAO has also been executing a number of capacity building projects concerned with GIs in Africa.  In 2010, these included projects in Kenya and West Africa to improve the production and distribution of safe and high quality vegetables and a decision-making guide for African farmer organizations and exporters wishing to export organic and fair-trade certified products and for business support organizations. From 2005 to 2009, a project funded by the German government and executed in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone aimed at increasing incomes and food security of small farmers in West and Central Africa through exports of organic and fair-trade tropical products assisted farmer groups and small exporters to help them take advantage of remunerative markets.
  5. The most important precursor study to the current study is the 2008 report written for QUNO by Dr Sisule F. Musungu, The Protection of Geographical Indications and the Doha Round: Strategic and Policy Considerations for Africa.[80]  Dr Musungu’s study reported that “there are very few African products that are currently registered or are in the process of registration as GIs including through the use of collective or certification marks.”[81] His research indicated that Kenyan coffee and Kenyan tea had been registered in Kenya through certification and that there was a pending application for a GI on Argan Oil from the Souss Massa Dra region in Morocco.[82] He reported that through a cooperation agreement between the French National IP Institute and OAPI “the following products are being developed as GIs: Oku white honey and njombe pepper from Cameroon; Atcheke of Grand Lahou and the Khorogho garment from Coted’Ivoire; Diama coffee and the Mafeya pineapple from Guinea; and Massina Kwite butter and the Souflou green beans from Burkina Faso.”[83]  Dr Musungu’s report indicated that among African ACP members no GIs had been registered in third countries, including other African countries, other than the registration of two marks for Rwandan coffee, which had been registered by individuals in the USA as collective marks.[84] This might be contrasted with the GI “Champagne” which appears to have been registered in the 16 African countries that are members of OAPI.[85]
  6. Finally, in 2009 the EC’s Directorate General of Trade commissioned a “Study on the protection of geographical indications for products other than wines, spirits, agricultural or foodstuffs”. In the initial phase, the 17 local experts appointed by the tenderers, covering 21 Member States and 13 identified nearly 400 non agricultural GI products, eg. 79 non agricultural GI products in India.[86] Each of the products identified is to be independently studied.


9A Pragmatic Methodology for Assessing the Economic Impact of GIs Protection

This section aims at proposing a simple methodology for assessing the potential economic impact of a GI protection. After a brief review of the economic literature about the analysis of GIs, it will try to identify the major benefits and costs that are most usually attributed to a GI protection and will finally detail the quantitative and qualitative methods that can be implemented in order to assess these benefits and costs.

1. The economic analysis of GI Protection

From a theoretical point of view[87], a geographical indication can be considered as a club asset shared by firms acting on a specific territory in the production of a given and specified good. In the words of J. Charbonneau from ITC, a GI is a key tool for managing a product identity which itself relies on the two fundamental concepts of differentiation and value creation, the latest being seen as a dynamic political process. This identification relies on a link being established between a product and a territory, this link being at the core of the immaterial asset that a GI constitutes. Still, in many cases, the specificity of the product is as much the result of producers’ actions as a natural feature.

According to Buchanan (1965)[88], a club good is characterised by partial excludability, no or partial rivalry of benefits and congestion phenomena. Cornes and Sandler[89], on the other hand, define a club as a voluntary group deriving mutual benefit from sharing one or more of the following : production costs, the members’ characteristics or a good characterised by excludable benefits. In addition to excludability and rivalry, club goods hence share three key features : the membership to the club is voluntary, it involves sharing of benefits, without excluding partial rivalry, and the club has an exclusion mechanism at some cost. It is worth noting that even though the GI protection may constitute a club asset, it may well still be an asset of national interest, which means that the State may play a legitimate and important role in the definition and management of the protection.

Building on this theoretical background, the geographical indication can indeed be defined as an intangible asset which consists in an identifiable, non-monetary resource, not material or physical in nature, which constitutes a legal claim to future benefits[90].

This immaterial asset can appreciate or depreciate over time and, in particular, as a consequence of the behaviour of its owners, that is the members of the GI club, which can impact the reputation of the GI-labelled good in terms of quality and/or reliability. Collective action among GI-right holders thus appears to be critical in order to avoid problems attached to what is known in economic theory as free-riding, which consists in an opportunistic behaviour of one or several members of the GI club, benefiting from the club asset without respecting the constraints attached to it and putting the reputation of the GI good, that is the value of the club asset, at risk[91].

If this coordination is critical, another risk then nevertheless arises to see this coordination leading to anti-competitive behaviour[92]. Under an excessive coordination scheme, the market equilibrium for a GI-labelled product could well be similar to a cartel equilibrium, characterised by a higher producer surplus, a lower consumer surplus and a substantial reduction of the overall surplus, that is the global economic welfare.

A model developed by Winfree and Mc Cluskey on collective reputation effects can be profitably used in the analysis of the allocative, competitive and welfare effects of GIs[93]. This model considers reputation as a common property extracted by firms and builds on the previous model of Shapiro (1982) on individual reputation[94], on which basis Shapiro had shown that a price premium is a return on the asset value of reputation[95].

Benavente, building on the approaches of Shapiro (1982) and Winfree and Mc Cluskey (2005), develops a model whose main focus is to explore the relationship between the size of the membership to the GI club, the quality of the product and, in the end, the value of the club asset which the GI protection constitutes. This analysis thus aims at assessing club reputation dynamics when quality is considered as endogenous. In other words, the equilibrium level of quality is there a function of membership. Benavente shows that there could be an inflexion point in the size of the membership to a GI club of producers, up to which the equilibrium quality increases and after which it decreases.

The model also explores the respective impacts on quality and profitability of a bottom-up, firm-driven, approach to optimal membership versus those of a top-down, State-driven, approach. In the first case, it shows that, as long as the use of the GI name is restricted and as long as the GI product is highly valued and differentiated, the market equilibrium will command a higher quality level and a higher profit at the industry level than what would be observed in the absence of any GI. This means that countries would not need to impose cumbersome and expensive structures for the development of GIs for some, at least, of their potential to develop as a market outcome[96]. On the other hand, a top-down, State-driven, approach to optimal membership, based on the maximisation of the club profits in contrast to the maximisation of firm profits, which would characterise the bottom-up approach, will lead to a greater optimal level of membership and a lower level of quality than the bottom-up approach.

This dynamic analysis is complemented by a partial equilibrium approach in which quality is considered as exogenous under no rivalry or partial rivalry conditions. This approach allows to explore the impact of State subsidisation and the relation between geographical confinement and factor markets. It also explores the competition implications of GIs and, in particular, the risk of seeing a GI club evolve in a cartel-like group characterised by oligopolistic behaviour and the risk of observing the development of a monopsonistic behaviour. It is worth noting in particular that, beyond the direct economic impact on producers and consumers, a GI may also have an indirect but important impact on land and factor prices.

All these analyses developed in the economic literature give some insights into what kind of impact, in terms of premium price, volumes of production, producers and consumers surpluses, can be expected from the introduction of a GI protection and, above all, under which conditions and circumstances can such positive or negative impacts be expected. The key features in this respect relate to the market structure of the good considered and to the competition structure of its production sector. If some of these conditions and circumstances can be influenced or modified by a pro-active policy, many of them can be considered as exogenous, at least in the short term.

Other factors, of a strategic or social nature, should also be taken into account while striving to get an overall picture of the potential impact of the introduction of a GI protection. The following section tries to give a comprehensive picture of these factors while the following tries to define quantitative and qualitative methods that can be implemented in order to assess these factors.

2. Potential benefits and costs arising from a GI Protection

It should be first noted that, as shown in the case-studies performed in the framework of this project, a GI often has a public good dimension in the sense that a GI has a social and sometimes cultural impact that goes beyond its purely economic effect on producers and consumers, at home or abroad.

The probably most comprehensive analyses of the potential benefits and costs and of the broader socio-economic impacts that could arise from a GI protection have been developed by Jorge Larson on one hand and Sisule F. Musungu on the other[97]. These are summarised below.

2.1. Potential benefits of a GI protection

S.F. Musungu, based on an extensive literature review, has identified the main potential advantages and benefits related to a GI protection[98]. We should distinguish, for the purpose of the economic analysis, what is constituting an advantage of the GI protection, in comparison in particular with other potential protection systems regarding, for example, the conditions attached to its development or enforcement, and what can be considered as a potential economic benefit as such.

2.1.1. Potential economic benefits

A key aspect in this regard, which has been extensively developed in the previous section, is that a GI is constitutive of an immaterial asset, the reputation of the product, which constitutes a signal to the consumers regarding a specific quality, potentially drawing a higher price or, as it is often labelled, a premium price. Past experience suggests that this premium price could be a multiple of the basic price. This potential premium price has clearly to be assessed while taking due account of the absorption capacity of the market and of the characteristics of demand, in particular in terms of purchasing power.

According to Musungu, GIs could even be utilised to transform producers of generic goods into exporters of high-quality agricultural and handicraft products. The question of the impact of a GI protection on quality is, as seen in the previous section, one of the most researched in the economic literature. As said in this section, there appears to be specific conditions, related in particular to the membership of the GI community of producers and its size, which strongly affect this potential impact.

Musungu, again, considers that, as GI governing bodies are most often collective entities focused on regional identity, they could bring about the type of governance needed to transform supply chains into value chains that create value added. As seen in the previous section, this value added could take shape through increased volumes of production or through higher prices (premium prices) charged to the final consumer.

The collective approach to GIs could, on the other hand, benefit small producers that would normally not be able to finance marketing and brand development activities. This advantage is intrinsic to the club asset character of the GI as it was developed in the previous section. As shown therein, the value of this club asset can still increase or decrease depending on several factors and, in particular, on the size of the GI club membership and on the behaviour of its members.

Musungu also notes that, when reputation already exists, small farmers may benefit from a GI protection coupled with niche market development. This point raises the question of the prior reputation of any good considered for a GI protection. It seems indeed that this prior reputation might be a critical factor in the success of the GI protection. When it already exists, the GI label could be used to strengthen this reputation, formalise its quality basis and prevent any fraudulent use of it.

GIs have in addition the potential of being associated with other market incentives, such as organic or fair-trade certification. This label could hence be of particular interest for small producers of natural goods. In contrast, the convergence between a GI protection and a trademark raises some questions. As Benavente states[99], although it is conceivable that some production process related to a GI good might be patented, it is usually not the case and Benavente adds that since GIs are based on tradition, potential patents rights are probably forfeited or unclaimed.

Musungu also considers that a GI protection could have a kind of “spill-over” impact that could benefit small producers at no cost. Indeed, once small producers have achieved the quality standards required to access new markets, precise use of geographical information in labelling could, according to him, easily be implemented with or without GI registration.

GIs are also important to prevent delocalisation of production since a GI can only be produced in a given area or locality. In the words of Mr Massimo Vittori from OriGin, if the producers do not register their product, others may leverage and capture the value added before they do”. Still, this delocalisation remains a possibility and the GI specifications clearly have to strictly define the product and the production process in order to avoid such a delocalisation. A loose definition of these aspects could indeed allow some key operations, in particular those yielding the highest value added, to be delocalised while benefiting from the geographical indication.

Finally, beyond its potential impact on valuation (premium price) and quality, that is the nature of the good, a GI could also have an impact on the volume of the market. We should distinguish in this respect the impact on existing markets, in the form of an increased market share of the GI product, and the impact on other markets, in the form of penetration of new markets. It is worth underlining here that the GI may well have first an impact on the national and regional markets before having an impact on the international market. It is important in this respect, though, to make sure that the Introduction of a GI protection does not result in an increased volume of production which the current or potential markets could not absorb, which could result from a variety of reasons. In this case, indeed, the growth in production could have an adverse impact on the market and the value of the product. This point is of particular importance for intermediate products. Besides, in the terms of Mr Sisule Musungu from IQsensato, branding a product may have a different impact on different markets. It could indeed not increase the market share at the regional level, contrary to the potential impact on the international market. There should therefore be different strategies for the different target markets and a different approach for different kinds of products.

2.1.2. Broader advantages and benefits potentially attached to a GI protection

According to Musungu, GIs, unlike patents, would require very low levels of innovation, if any, which would allow a larger number of producers to apply for a GI protection without having to endure the costs and investments that could be related to innovation. It is indeed a well-documented feature of GI products that they relate, by nature, to tradition and cultural aspects and this feature could even be considered as antinomic with innovation. According to Musungu, since GIs predominantly apply to agricultural and cultural products, African and other developing countries would, in addition, have a natural comparative advantage in this respect.

GIs could also help prevent bio piracy of traditional knowledge as well as help protect or provide recognition to traditional production methods such as seed selection criteria and food conservation practices. This would permit the transformation of traditional knowledge into marketable products.

Relying on a bottom-up “federative” process, GI protection could help strengthen social cohesion and even local democracy.

GI production systems and processes based on well managed extractive activities would promote conservation of natural vegetation and forested areas which would, in turn, benefit ecosystem and landscape conservation. It could hence benefit the development of tourism activities. As we will see below, the impact of a GI on ecosystems may however not necessarily be positive and should be accurately assessed.

Finally, strong links between products and culture could, in addition, benefit rural development. Past experience suggests that GIs may have played an important role in the inversion of a tendency towards desertification of rural areas, bringing new and sustainable incomes and creating thousands of employments in the regions.

2.2. Potential costs, disadvantages and conditions attached to a GI protection and its success

This analysis mostly relies and builds on Musungu (2008) and Larson (2007)[100]. These authors identify several potential drawbacks of a GI protection which can consist in direct costs attached to the GI protection, in difficulties associated with its development, including the conditions of its success, in inherent limits and, finally, in potential negative effects of a GI protection.

2.2.1. Direct costs attached to the development and enforcement of a GI protection

According to Musungu, building on an analysis made by O’Connor & Insight[101], the main costs to be faced in both the domestic market and the export markets in relation with the registration and the enforcement of a GI protection are the following[102] :

  • Application fees ;
  • Search fees ;
  • Advertisement fees ;
  • Publication fees ;
  • Costs in opposition proceedings ;
  • Litigation costs ;
  • Renewal fees (mainly in cases of trademarks) ;
  • Fees for change of address or name ;
  • Fees in case of assignment ;
  • Fees for correction of clerical or other errors ;
  • Charges for amendment to application or registration ; and
  • Attorney’s fees for preparation and legalisation of documents.

It should be noted that this analysis does not take into account the costs that are related to the implementation of the GI system as such and to the development of a specific geographical indication. These will be considered below.

In addition, beside these institutional and organisational costs linked to the introduction of a GI protection, any detailed feasibility and economic interest study of a GI should take into account the promotional costs which will have to be borne in order to make the product known on its current and potential markets and to draw any advantage from its geographical indication. These costs are made of communication and marketing expenses which are crucial to the success of the GI protection.

2.2.2. Difficulties associated with the development of a GI protection and conditions for its success

For Larson[103], formal and well distributed knowledge and information about biological resources and cultural practices with GI potential seems generally be lacking in developing countries. Although these countries could have, as seen above, a comparative advantage in this respect, in consideration of the diversity of agricultural and handicraft products that could potentially benefit from a GI protection, a strong capacity building and, more generally, technical as well as financial assistance would thus be required in order to help these countries effectively seize these opportunities.

One specific problem is related to the fact that small farmers or producers cannot usually produce surpluses that would allow them to participate in market-oriented activities such as GI development. This underlines the need for a strong public, and probably international, support to such activities.

The basic economic logic of GI protection relies on a form of product differentiation. Such a differentiation is well known to have the potential to improve the situation of producers through both increased market shares and a higher value added content of their product. Still, differentiation of production processes, qualities and markets will be difficult to achieve without operating governance structures that are respectful of local culture. The organisational and institutional aspects related to the composition and working of the GI governance body will thus have a deep impact on the real benefits that can accrue from this particular form of differentiation. As Dr Delphine Marie-Vivien from CIRAD says, GI indication needs to encompass socio-economic constraints. Success stories related to GI protection clearly show indeed that these successes are, for a great deal, related to the existing good cooperation relations between producers and even, sometimes, to the existence of an historical organisational structure regrouping them all. This cooperation is crucial when the commitment of producers to quality is at stake.

It is essential, in this respect, to take into account the fact that complying with labelling, safety and traceability regulations requires significant organisation and technical effort which are challenging to small organisations. Capacity building and technical assistance to small producers all along the unfolding of the GI development and implementation processes will thus, once again, be critical to its success. The delineation of the technical specifications attached to the GI protection could in addition limit this potential exclusion effect. In the same order of ideas, it should be taken into account that a statutory declaration of GIs without the relevant operating bodies may fail to connect GIs to rural development policy.

More generally, GIs, especially where they are related to rural agriculture, may not succeed if their development is isolated from complementary agricultural and rural development policies including economic support.

Finally, the organisation and management of this support are also key to the success of the overall process. One could fear, indeed, that legal frameworks and support measures from different government arms may not be well coordinated, producing a complex scenario for GI development.

2.2.3. Limits of the GI protection

Clearly, a GI protection will not be able, most of the time, to radically change the situation and solve all problems faced by the farmers or producers concerned. Putting too much expectation on the GI protection only and neglecting other key aspects or strategies could even constitute a risk to the development of a given branch of activity or region.

More specifically, small producers are vulnerable in national and export markets for economic and scale reasons which cannot be addressed solely with GI differentiation.

In addition, although evidence of economic benefits from GI protection can be found in developing countries, the distribution of benefits within value chains is unclear and several cases point to concentration of power in transformers and distributors. The distributive effect of the introduction of a GI protection is an utmost important aspect which has to be addressed prior to any decision on the development of such a protection. It should be underlined in particular that, in the absence of democratic governance structures, the value added brought about by a GI may not be capitalised by regional interests or small farmers.

Finally, according to Musungu again, employment generated by GI may contribute to the rural economy but not necessarily generate benefits for biodiversity conservation and small farmers.

2.2.4. Potential negative effects of a GI protection

Under certain circumstances, the introduction of a GI may even have some negative, or perverse, effects which have to be carefully analysed and, if possible, neutralised, before any move in that direction.

According to Musungu (2008) and Larson (2007), linking a GI to a specific variety, breed or sub-species as a response to productivity and market demands may in particular marginalise other genetic resources that are biologically and culturally relevant. This means that the overall impact of a GI protection on biodiversity, and more generally on ecosystem and landscape conservation, could still be questioned as some arguments play in one direction, as seen above, and others in the opposite one.

A second potential negative effect lies in the fact that market segmentation that attends only to high end niches may generate economic exclusions or inhibit access to nutritious and culturally valuable resources by local or low income populations. These exclusion impacts on the demand side are clearly to be assessed prior any decision regarding the development of a GI protection, especially, of course, when first necessity products and low income populations are concerned.

Beside this exclusion impact on the demand side, the introduction of a GI protection may also have an exclusion impact on supply. In particular, it should be taken into account that formal definitions of quality imposed by external stakeholders could provoke exclusions of legitimate but culturally different producers.

Finally, the question of the ownership of the GI is a clearly very sensitive one which could condition its impact. It should be noted that ownership of culturally sensitive GIs by the state may in particular lead to conflicts with indigenous peoples.

What clearly comes out of this analysis of the potential benefits and costs associated with a GI protection is that these benefits and costs are of a very different nature, some of them being strictly economical while others have a broader socio-economic content, some of them being direct impacts to be witnessed in a pretty short period of time, others being indirect impacts that could be felt later. Only the purely economical, short-term or long-term, aspects are considered below.

3. A pragmatic approach to evaluating the benefits and costs of a GI protection

As seen above, the economic literature suggests that positive market and value impacts can be expected from the introduction of a GI protection. Still, these positive impacts highly depend on key characteristics of market and production structures, including features of the value added chain. These characteristics can be of a quantitative or qualitative nature. The following sections detail these features, the information required to assess them and the methods to be implemented in order to collect and treat this information.

3.1. Evaluation of benefits

The evaluation of the benefits potentially attached to a GI protection, as identified above, be it in terms of premium price captured by local producers, of increased market shares of their product on existing export markets or of development of new markets, requires a clear and comprehensive picture of the market and production structures, as well as of the nature and characteristics of the value chain. This characterisation should be primarily based on quantitative data, some qualitative information still being necessary to complement or help interpret this quantitative information. We will see successively what kind of quantitative information would be required in this assessment and how this quantitative information could be produced; then what kind of qualitative information would be required and how it could be produced.

3.1.1. The information required on the domestic sector of production

As said, this information is of a quantitative and of a qualitative nature.

3.1.1.1. The quantitative information required

A quantitative information is absolutely necessary to understand the market and production structures associated with the good considered. Before gathering, or producing any figure relating to these structures, a first necessary step consists in the identification of the value chain and of all the actors of this chain. This implies, in turn, to clearly define the product, or products, to be covered by the GI protection.

As products considered for a GI protection are, most of the time, natural products which undergo minimal transformation, this production chain may well, in most cases, consist in only one or two types of actors, i.e. primary producers (farmers, stockowners, fishers…) and transformers (craftsmen, dairy product producers, pork butchers…). On each of these specific components of the value chain, a string of information is required to assess the potential price and production impact of any substantive change in market configuration, like in particular the one involved by the introduction of a GI protection.

For each segment of the value chain, some key data is required in order to assess the potential economic impact of a GI protection on the sector. These data can relate to individual producers or to the economic sector as a whole. They can also consist in derived indicators.

  • Data required on individual producers
  • Turnover ;
  • Number of persons employed (total and full-time equivalent) ;
  • Number of employees (total and full-time equivalent) ;
  • Volume of production in real terms (tons, m3…) ;
  • Value of production ;
  • Value added ;
  • Volumes and values of exports by main export market.

 

  • Data required on the economic sector as a whole
  • Total number of producers ;
  • Size structure of the sector in terms of employees and production : the production of this picture of the size structure first supposes to define significant size classes in terms of both employees (or persons employed) and production value ;
  • Volume of production in real terms (tons, m3…) ;
  • Value of production ;
  • Value added ;
  • Volumes and values of exports by main export market.

 

  • Derived indicators to be calculated
  • Concentration ratio : based on the production values collected, this concentration ratio can be calculated in several ways. First, in a simple approach, it can be calculated as  a composite index based on the market shares of the single biggest producer, of the 5 biggest producers and of the 10 biggest producers. A more sophisticated concentration ratio is made of the so-called Herfindahl-Hirschmann index which is defined as the sum of the square of the market shares of every producer, expressed as a percentage. This ratio can vary between the values 0 and 10.000, 0 corresponding to a perfect competition structure and 10.000 to a monopolistic situation. Most important in the interpretation of this index is the possible divergence between the value of Herfindahl-Hirschmann index at one stage of the value chain and its value at another stage. This divergence could indeed indicate a market power of one segment (the most concentrated one) on the other (the most atomistic one)   ;
  • Average price and price index ;
  • Price-elasticity, that is the relative product demand evolution in relation with a given price evolution for this product ;
  • When the product considered for a GI protection is facing substitutable products on its market, the substitution price-elasticity, that is the relative demand evolution of one product in relation with a price evolution of the other, should also be calculated.

In addition to these key data, further quantitative information would be useful relating in particular to the cost structure of the production unit and of the economic sector as a whole, that is, chiefly, the main components of its intermediate consumption and the share of wages and salaries in total costs.

All this information is crucial to understand the nature of the value chain and, specifically, to answer to the key question of who controls this value chain. It is clear indeed that if this value chain is controlled by large distributors outside the country of production, then the producers may face big difficulties in distributing their product on their main markets and may not draw substantial economic advantage from the introduction of a GI protection.

3.1.1.2. A methodology for the production of quantitative information

The primary information detailed above should, in principle, be available at the National Statistical Office or at the Ministry in charge of the sector’s supervision. However, it can sometimes not be readily available or the available information can be partial or not fully reliable.

In this situation, it is highly recommended to engage in an exhaustive economic census of the producers that could be concerned by the GI protection. Three critical steps have to be performed before this economic census can be undertaken. These prior steps are the following:

  • A precise and unambiguous definition of the product(s) to be covered by the geographical indication ;
  • A precise definition of the area covered by the geographical identification ;
  • A clear identification of the value chain : identification of all economic activities implied in the production and distribution of the product(s) that would be covered by a GI protection.

 

The economic census itself should allow for gathering all the information identified in the section above directly from the producers. It should, in addition, allow for gathering additional information regarding :

  • the date of creation of the company
  • the evolution of the number of persons employed and of the number of employees of the unit since its creation ;
  • the evolution of the turnover and of the value added of the unit since its creation ;
  • the whole productive activity of the unit : kinds of products produced, share of the product considered for a GI protection in this total production.
  • The cost structure of the product considered for a GI : main elements of the intermediate consumption of the unit, costs associated, share of wages and salaries in the total production costs.

Once again, this exhaustive census is key to the understanding of the production structure. It should be greatly facilitated by the prior delimitation of the area to which the geographical identification would be attached. Still, a census or, at least, an identification of all the producers potentially competing with those in the GI area would also be very useful to understand the potential sideline effects of this GI.


3.1.1.3. The qualitative information required

Qualitative information is key to understanding and interpreting the quantitative information collected, both on production and on market structures. This qualitative information is critical in order to complement the quantitative information described above and to understand, in particular, the nature of the value chain at stake.

In this respect, it is worth noting that two main kinds of value chains are usually distinguished, the so-called product driven chains and consumer driven chains[104]. As Musungu states[105], in the context of a consumer driven chain, it is likely that the ultimate benefits of a GI may not go to the small producers but rather to the supermarket chains in the export market. Musungu considers that changing this might require intervention in the value chain. Still, we can consider that, in most countries, such an intervention can hardly be considered and, if possible, could only produce significant changes over a long period of time.

3.1.1.4. A methodology for the production of qualitative information

The production of relevant qualitative information that could complement and help interpret the quantitative information defined above, should rely on the identification of the key stakeholders and on the development of specific questionnaires aimed at these different groups of stakeholders. When possible, the analysis of past experience will also be instrumental.

The key stakeholders to be considered are first made, of course, of the producers, including both primary producers and potential transformers, but also of distributors of the products, local clients, exporters, exports of the product and its markets and national administrations in charge of the monitoring of the sector. Specific questionnaires have been developed in the framework of this study in order to collect information from these specific groups. They are reproduced in the annex of this report.

The collection and synthesis of this information is essential but it might, most often, not be sufficient to produce a consistent and reliable basis for understanding and completing the quantitative information. The individual interviews allow all of the stakeholders to deliver their vision of the sector, not to agree on a comprehensive and consistent picture.

In this respect, it is necessary to complete this first step of direct individual interviews by a kind of sharing exercise which could take the form of a sector workshop and should gather all the stakeholders met in the first step with the aim of producing a comprehensive, shared and reliable picture of the activity, of the production and of the market structures characterising the sector.

This workshop should also be instrumental in the decision-making and in the association of all the relevant parties to the decision regarding the launch of a process aiming at introducing a GI protection. It should be based on a synthesis of the quantitative information collected as above and of the qualitative information collected through the first step of this approach as well as of relevant case-studies.

Indeed, most of the time, the product considered for a GI protection may be similar to a product which is already covered by a GI protection and whose protection and its impact may already be well documented and analysed. It is of course essential that in the process of developing a GI protection, all this information regarding similar experiences, especially on the main export markets considered, be researched and carefully analysed.

3.1.2. The information required on the major export markets

In addition to this analysis of the domestic sector of production, the assessment of the potential benefit of the introduction of a GI protection clearly necessitates the analysis of  its potential impact on the main export markets of the product. Indeed, the potential benefit of the introduction of a GI protection chiefly relies on the impact this GI protection can have on the main export market(s) of the product. This implies the need to identify what are these main export markets and, for each of them, or at least for those for which a GI protection could be considered, it is necessary to undertake a market analysis so as to assess and quantify the following elements:

  • the existing knowledge and reputation of the product ;
  • its existing market share ;
  • the price-elasticity of the product on this market, or, in other words, the premium price that the consumer on this market would be ready to pay for a differentiated product based on a GI protection ;
  • the potential volume growth associated with a GI protection.

This market study should also allow the assessment of what are the key success factors on each of these main export markets and, if possible, their relative importance. These key success factors, which can consist in price competitiveness, differentiation, quality, brand reputation and still many other factors, can indeed clearly indicate whether a GI protection can yield a premium price, and to what extent, on this market.

The development of this analysis clearly requires the need to  collect specific and reliable information about the main export markets of the products, i.e.,the values and volumes of exports by destination and their evolution over a recent period (in practice, the last decade). This information should, in principle, be available at the Customs administration or, in some cases, at the Ministry in charge of the supervision of the sector.

Finally, a real experience could also be undertaken in order to assess the potential impact of a GI protection on a given export market. The potential economic benefit of a GI protection on a specific export market could indeed be assessed from a prior experience of GI marketing, without protection and hence without the costs attached to a formal protection. The reaction of the market, in terms of both possible premium price and increased market share, could be an indication of the value of the intangible asset that the geographical indication constitutes on this market and, hence, of the value of its protection.

3.2. Evaluation of costs

As seen above, the main costs to be faced in both the domestic market and the export markets in relation with the registration and the enforcement of a GI protection are the following[106] :

  • Application fees ;
  • Search fees ;
  • Advertisement fees ;
  • Publication fees ;
  • Costs in opposition proceedings ;
  • Litigation costs ;
  • Renewal fees (mainly in cases of trademarks) ;
  • Fees for change of address or name ;
  • Fees in case of assignment ;
  • Fees for correction of clerical or other errors ;
  • Charges for amendment to application or registration ; and
  • Attorney’s fees for preparation and legalisation of documents.

In the analysis of the costs associated with a GI protection, we should first distinguish between costs incurred at home and costs incurred abroad, that is in the main export market(s), the first ones including, in addition to those identified above, the costs of developing a GI protection system and the costs of developing a specific geographical indication. These two kinds of costs are considered successively herebelow.


3.2.1 Evaluation of domestic costs

According to Musungu, various factors may impact the cost of setting up and running a GI regime in African countries[107]. These include whether:

  • legal reforms related to GI protection are undertaken in isolation or as part of a broader IP and trade law reforms. In the latter case, the costs for a GI system are likely to be lower ;
  • the administration of the GI regime is integrated with overall IP administration or is distinct ;
  • the country is party to a regional or international registration system such as the OAPI and ARIPO systems or the Lisbon system ;
  • cost recovery from registration and renewal fees is feasible or not ;
  • the enforcement of GIs, especially through litigation, is part of the general law enforcement or is dealt with separately. The costs will inevitably be higher in the latter case.

From a pragmatic point of view, the most important costs to be considered at home probably relate to the following operations:

  • the development of a legal framework ;
  • the development of a specific GI ;
  • certification of individual producers ;
  • inspection of producers ;
  • inspection of retail outlets;
  • the cost associated with a possible litigation.

It should be reminded that, in most African ACP Countries which are members of either OAPI or ARIPO, the legal framework is already in place, even though this legal framework could, in some cases, be adapted and “nationalised” in a near future. This means that no specific cost is necessarily associated with the development of this legal framework.

The cost associated with the development of a specific GI clearly depends on the number of stakeholders involved and on the specificities of the product. It will thus be largely determined by both the complexity of the value chain and the number of producers at each step of this value chain. This information should be produced by the economic census described above.

This cost thus should be estimated as a function of the number of persons implied in the GI development process, its probable duration and the estimated number of days per person involved in the process over its whole duration. Case studies of past and similar GIs development processes could be instrumental in the evaluation of these various elements.

The cost associated with the certification of individual producers will clearly depend on the technical specifications included in the code of practice and/or product specifications associated with a particular GI registration. This means that there is probably no standard cost associated with this operation. Some indications have nevertheless been given regarding the potential costs that could be associated with the certification of individual producers in relation with the specific products analysed in the case studies performed for this  project.

The enforcement of the GI implies a regular, probably yearly, inspection of producers in order to make sure that all the producers benefiting from the geographical indication respect its technical specifications and do not develop a “free-riding” strategy, as mentioned above, which would allow them to benefit from the commercial signal that is attached to the geographical indication without supporting the technical requirements that it entails, thus lowering the quality of the GI product and affecting, in the end, its reputation, that is the value of the intangible asset that the GI protection constitutes.

The cost associated with the inspection of producers will again clearly depend on the number of producers first but also on the technical specifications attached to the GI protection and, more specifically, to the detail, or number, of these specifications as well as to their inherent complexity.

The enforcement of the GI also implies a regular, probably yearly again, inspection of retail outlets selling the product in order to make sure, in this case, that all the products sold under the GI label are effectively produced by one of the certified producers or, in other terms, that no product which is not entitled to bear the GI label is sold on the market while making a fraudulent use of this label. The cost of this inspection will clearly depend on the nature of the product, which can affect the potential for its falsification as well as the complexity of its identification, and on the number of selling points through which the product reaches the consumer.

Finally, individual producers or, most often, the governance body of the GI, that is an association of producers including, most probably, representatives of the State and of local and regional authorities, could have to support costs of legal action in order to enforce the respect of the GI label before the courts. Such a procedure could be considered in either of the two cases mentioned above, that is the non-respect by one producer of the GI region of the technical specifications associated with the geographical indication on one hand, or the fraudulent use of the GI label by one producer which is not entitled to this indication. In the first case, the legal action could aim at the exclusion of the free-riding member from the GI club. In the second, it could aim at the condemnation of the fraudulent user of the label and at the financial compensation of the GI members by this fraudulent user.

The costs associated with such legal procedures clearly depend on the legal system in place in each country and on the complexities of this legal system which could be assessed by the number of possible appeals and the average duration of a legal procedure at each of these levels. Still, it should be noted that this cost should be borne, in the end, by the offender, who should indemnify the defendants in case, of course, he would be found guilty of the charge put against him, even though the defendants would have to bear the advance payment for these costs.

It should be noted that the costs analysed above will not be incurred by the same entities. Some of them are to be borne by the State or other public entities, like local or regional authorities. This is the case of the development of a legal framework and of the inspection of producers and retail outlets. Others are to be incurred by individual producers or groupings of producers, groupings which could include, in some cases, some public entities. This is the case of the costs related to certification and of those associated with a possible litigation. Finally, the cost of developing a specific GI would probably, in most instances, be shared by the public and private entities concerned.

3.2.2. Evaluation of costs incurred abroad

As said above, the costs associated with the registration and the enforcement of a GI are of the same kind in the export markets and in the domestic market. These costs will obviously greatly vary from one country to another and the detailed evaluation of these should thus rely first on the identification of the major export markets of the product considered that is of the markets on which a protection of its geographical indication would be most important.

The evaluation of these specific costs on each of these major export markets would require a specific study. Still, some data on these costs may be readily available. O’Connor and Insight[108] thus provide a comprehensive picture of the various fees detailed above in 160 countries including 47 African countries.


10  Peer Review

A Peer Review of the study and the methodology was undertaken by Delphine Marie-Vivien and Didier Chabrol, Researchers at Cirad, UMR Innovation, Montpellier, France and completed May 30th, 2011. This Peer Review is reproduced below with the responses of the authors of this report in italics.

Issue:

Shall African ACP countries implement geographical indications (GIs) protection systems? Will the benefit compensate the costs? The study is expected to give some clues about the criteria of success for GIs from African ACP countries whether on the domestic or the international markets. Without doubts from the report it appears that there are many opportunities for origin reputed products from African ACP countries to be differentiated. One crucial element to maximize the benefits of implementing a GI system is the level of protection conferred: the additional level of protection will allow African ACP producers to fight against misuse easily and to really build a sustainable strategy whereas the standard protection means that there will be always uncertainty about the validity of their GIs which might jeopardize all efforts consented to build GIs. Thus the additional level of protection is not an additional burden for ACP countries aimed to protect foreign GIs in ACP countries but is first of all an essential condition to protect efficiently GIs in both domestic and export markets.

The reviewers address the general question of whether African ACP countries should implement GIs protection systems. This is obviously an important general question, but the principal objective of the project was to address the negotiating objectives of African ACP countries participating in the GIs extension debate. This negotiating issue is canvassed in chapter 3 of this report. The general question as to the utility of GIs in promoting trade is of interest to African ACP countries and the report and peer review make useful comments in this regard.

To better assess the opportunities of GIs in ACP countries, the reviewers make the following comments, being anyway concerned about the very short delay which was given to the consultants to work on such a complex issue.

The peer reviewers make an important point about the limited time which they had to address the report. The same qualifications can be made about the project as a whole in which the technical mission was constrained by tight deadlines. It has to be acknowledged that the case studies may have been more comprehensive if greater time had been allowed, but given the urgency of the negotiating time-table at the WTO, the case studies must be regarded as pilot surveys.

  1. Link between the quality/characteristic/reputation of the product and its geographical origin

a) Distinction between GIs and other schemes of certification

The report should better distinguish between GIs and other schemes of certification such as FSC, organic or fair trade standards as they do not certify the same aspects of a product. For example there is some confusion about specific and generic quality for Coffee from Ethiopia (p.84). The same confusion appears in the case of Yett (p.272). Generic quality refers to mandatory standards for all products, like for example the SPS requirements, whereas specific quality refers to a specific quality only obtained by specific producers such as quality attributable to the geographical origin.

The concern of the reviewers about the lack of distinction between GIs and other certification schemes such as FSC and SPS may be misplaced, because they identify as their concerns evaluations of Ethiopian coffee and Senegalese Yett. However, Ethiopian coffee was not the subject of a case study in the report. Ethiopian coffee is referred to only in the context of suggesting one country’s response to the issue of maintaining producer standards. In this draft final version of the report, the chapter on the Ethiopian Fine Coffees scheme has been dropped and replaced with a chapter on the recent EU foodstuffs certification initiatives. As for Yett, obviously sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certification will have to be obtained and this could be the subject of a project on food standards.

Indeed, GIs will not exempt producers from complying with safety rules, such as chocolate definition in Europe, and other mandatory rules which are decided at the national or international level. Organic or fair trade standards are defined by third parties, the choice of producers being to go trough this method of production or not. On the contrary, GI specifications shall be decided by the producers and shall result in obtaining the product already reputed thanks to ancient and shared practices. GIs are an endogenous tool, whose standard is decided by the producers; the reputation of the product being the consequence of the practices. As the report points out, there can be interesting combinations between all the strategies of differentiation which, however, shall not lead to a risk of confusion of the consumers. For example a GI on Okoumé in Gabon can include more producers than those certified under FSC scheme (p.147), but indeed there should not be any risk of confusion between what is behind a GI and what is behind FSC.

The point which was made in the report in relation to Okoumé from Gabon is that producers having become familiar with forest products certification standards (FSC), should be able to accommodate the certification of product standards associated with GIs.

b) Analysis of the reputation of the goods

The report is useful regarding economic data about supplies chains and markets of important commodities and other products, but there is little cross analysis with the concept of GIs. For example, the questionnaires are representative of a methodology of standard economy whereas the issue behind GIs is related to quality economy. Therefore, the report should address more deeply the main issue of how to determine the given quality, reputation or other characteristics of products attributed to their geographical origin. Indeed, there is a lack of discussion in the report about the reputation, quality or characteristics of the product which can support a GI. The perspective of the study is mainly about the major productions in terms of quantity and not the major «origin based» products. Therefore all the macroeconomic data are useful but not enough to assess the opportunity of GIs.

If the objective of the report was to discuss the general principles of GIs protection it could have gone into further detail about the techniques of evaluating the quality of products. There are numerous reports on this issue, referred to in the peer review[109] which could be accessed by those ACP African countries interested in this subject.

On the other hand, some interesting origin based products might not be commodities but deserve some attention. In considering the link with the geographical origin, the concept of natural and/or human factors seems relevant to be used instead of the concept of biological attributes used in the report which is more restricted than natural factors.

This comment ignores the various handicraft products mentioned in the report such as Kente cloth from Ghana and a number of handicraft products from Kenya, as well as Zanzibar doors from Tanzania.

Below are some examples for which the assessment of a link between the product and its origin shall be better analysed to avoid the situations where the denomination is more an indication of source than a GI. To back up this point, it is suggested to use the methodology of «inventory». - Okoumé of Gabon: What is the specificity of Okoumé timber of Gabon compared to Okoumé from neighbouring countries? What is the product bearing reputation? It seems that Okoumé of Gabon refers to two kinds of products - raw log and panels - but it is not clear which of them shall be designated by the GI. To get an answer, attention should be turned to which product is reputed. If the reputation is attached to the process of making panels, it means that only the panels could benefit from the GI.

This inventory could be conducted as a supplementary national project.

- Demerara sugar of Mauritius: the specificity of the sugar from Mauritius is not clear. Moreover, it seems that the name Demerara is widely recognised as generic, so the report should be more detailed on what might be the GI: “Demerara sugar” or “Demerara sugar from Mauritius”, and look at its specificity.

Demerara sugar of Mauritius has been registered as a certification mark in Mauritius.

- Flowers from Kenya: is there any reputation?

This could be documented in a national project, as proposed in the Swiss-Kenya bilateral GIs agreement.

- Coffees from Rwanda: what are the specificities of coffees labelled “Bourbon Kivu” or “speciality Arabica coffee from the shores of lake Kivu”? The report should give more details about the specialities coffees in Rwanda: what are they? What is their price compared to others? Are the premiums for speciality coffees in Rwanda due to the geographical growing area or to other factors?

                This is a useful suggestion which could be followed up.

- Cloves from Zanzibar: is there any reputation?

The fact that Zanzibar cloves can command a premium price in Europe, suggests that it has a reputation. The objective of the report was to identify products which had a GIs potential. Obviously market survey work needs to be undertaken in target markets.

- Cocoa from Ghana: what are the reputations of the six growing regions (see p.164)? Is the

specificity of the cocoa due to the plant variety or to the geographical environment where the plant variety is cultivated?

This could be detailed in a supplementary national project.

- Kisii Soapstone: on which product would be a GI? On the raw material or on the handicraft goods obtained from the stone?

The handicraft goods were proposed as suitable for GIs protection.

- Wild silk: why isn't there any market analysis?

This has been identified in the Swiss-Kenya GIs project as a product worthy of further market research

- Bois Cherie tea: does it refer to a geographical area? What is the reputation?

Yes, it refers to a geographical area and has a distinct commercial reputation.

- Kola from Nigeria: what is its specificity? Does it have any reputation? Which name shall be

registered as a GI, Kola alone or Kola from Nigeria?

 

Kola from Nigeria seems to be the logical GI as Kola alone is merely the name of a nut which grows also in other countries. Work is required to quantify the commercial reputation of Nigerian Kola.

- Joal Yett in Senegal: what is the specificity of the product? Is this specificity obtained whatever the process is or is the quality obtained only with the traditional processing? What are the consequences of the fact that traditional quality aspects are no longer respected (p.266)? Is there any shared knowhow among the stakeholders of the supply chain? It seems that the exporters have industrialised the process whereas for the local market it is an artisanal process and that both processes do not conduct to the same product (see presentation of Mr Fall), which is an issue regarding what could be the content of a GI specification.

The “specificity” of this product is identified in the report, but could be clarified in a supplementary national study.

c) Analysis of the risk of misuses

In the report, there is little emphasis on the risks of misuses, whether on the international or

national/local market, whereas it helps to determine the existence of a reputation of a good and justifies the need of a protection. For example, the report writes that Yett faces some imitations from China but no details are given about what the imitations are (p.270). The same happens with Kente cloth (Ghana p.152) which is said to be highly abused internationally but without details: are the imitations made out of synthetic or raw material? Or is it just that those imitations are machine made instead of handmade (p.172)? What is the name used to designate the imitations? Such details are very helpful to determine what the specificity of the product bearing the GI is and therefore the content of the GI specification. Indeed, GIs are intellectual property rights and the existence of misuse is a criterion to demonstrate the reputation and the need to protect the name.

The reviewers make the important point that further information is required on the trade in products which imitate the products studied. The information which the reviewers received was anecdotal. Without the appropriate legislative infrastructure there can be no reported cases on infringements. Without an extension of the additional protection for GIs envisaged in Article 23 of the TRIPS Agreement, there is no possibility for the institution of infringement proceedings. It has to be acknowledged that even in Europe, where GIs have an extensive history there is very little data on the extent of the trade in infringing products.

d) Reputation of non end products

The report should point out the challenge of successful GIs for raw material such as green coffee. Such GIs are possible if exporters and customers consider that the quality of green coffee will impact the final product offered to the consumers. It is here necessary to analyse the interest of the exporters in GIs. For example, in the case of coffee from Rwanda, how do the exporters label the coffee? The same issue arises for Okoumé: how will the final consumer influence the intermediary operator?

The report makes the point that in relation to the products which it identifies as potential candidates for GIs protection, research has to be undertaken in target markets as to the feasibility of this protection as a promotional aid.

e) Umbrella GIs

The report focuses mainly on «umbrella» GIs which are GIs at the level of a country whereas it might also be very interesting to get more details about regional and locals GIs. For example, it seems that more restricted areas of growing coffees can be identified in Rwanda (p.248).

The report focussed on those certification or collective marks which had been registered. These tended to be umbrella marks, eg Coffee Kenya, but as the report points out GI mapping projects are under way to identify regional and local GIs.

II. Different markets

The study focuses mainly on products for the export market with the idea that GIs for local markets are ineffective (p.73) but on the contrary, GIs can first be a very useful tool for the domestic market, as is shown by the example of white honey from Oku. In that sense, GIs shall not always focus on the exportation demand which can indeed be a threat for local culture, whereas the local demand will support the traditional process. For example, in the case of Yett from the little coast in Senegal, the report writes that GI is a reinforcement of the exporters and therefore the exporters’ process and is a threat of the local culture and know-how. But the concept of GI means that the content of the specification is decided by producers and the method of production embedded in the specification shall lead to the reputed product so in this case it might well be the traditional process which gives the products its quality.

It is conceded that the main interest of those interviewed was in using GIs to obtain access to lucrative markets such as the EU, where consumers have a familiarity with GIs. However, in the case studies on Oku honey, Yett, yams and Kola nuts, reference is made to local niche markets and to the markets for expatriate nationals.

Another consideration is that depending on the volumes of production, markets are not the same. For small volumes, it might be a niche market whereas for big volumes it can be a mass market including new markets. There is literature on the interest of GIs in an overabundant market or on the contrary in scarce market. Still, the question arises of the interest of a GI for a product which might disappear as might be the case of Yett.

The case studies identified products with a GIs potential. After market feasibility studies are conducted, some of these may be discarded.

GIs are a way to increase the volume of production but they can also help producers by increasing the price and not the volume (p.56, 58, 64). The issue of not increasing the volume but the prices might be very important for products whose increasing production is a threat to biodiversity (Rwandan coffees p.260).

This point is made in the Mauritian sugar case study, as well as the case study on Zanzibar cloves, in which it is proposed that GIs have utility in defending declining markets.

Proliferation of GIs is not a systematic problem (p.73). As for trademarks, it is sufficient that the GI is recognized in its market, whatever is its size. For example Yett is unknown in Europe whereas it is famous in Korea, Japan and West Africa.

Noted

The report points out the risk of exclusion on the consumer’s as a consequence of the rise of prices: it might not be a problem if substitutable goods exist. GIs shall only apply to niche markets for specific products of quality and benefiting from a premium price (p.59).

Noted

The report recommends a comparison with similar product benefiting of GIs for the same kind of

product (p.64): this comparison is very useful for the export market but is not so efficient for the domestic market. The comparison could also up to look at differences between trademarks, certification trademarks and GIs for same kind of products (coffees, cacao, honeys…). But an issue is that the reputation might be completely different even for the same kind of products: for example it is difficult to compare the experience of Blue Mountain coffee with Indian coffee. It shall also be kept in mind that GIs are not an export tool as such but first a protection tool, an intellectual property right which protects the reputation of the good and supports its position in the market but is not an automatic door to the market, as marketing actions have to complement GI protection.

The comment that GIs are a protection tool, understates the practical function of GIs, which is to facilitate the marketing and promotion of goods. The report points out that in some markets such as the EU, products marketed under a GI can command premium prices. This would seem to be of significant interest to traders in the countries studied. We have not much data on whether the products studied are faced with competition from foreign products in their home markets. The information obtained on the relative lack of familiarity with GIs of consumers in home markets, suggests that there will have to be significant awareness-raising before GIs are used as promotional tools in these markets.

III. Coordination between stakeholders of the supply chain

A good share of the added value will depend on how the content of the GI specification, the code of practices, has been negotiated among the stakeholders of the supply chain. The report should focus more on the essential aspect which is that the content of the GI specification shall be decided by the producers and is usually examined by public authorities in GI sui generis systems. Therefore there should be a limitation of the risk of exclusion on the producer side: GIs should not be imposed by external stakeholders (p.60) and producers shall participate to the definition of the GI specification.

The methodology proposed in the report describes the necessity to know about the complexity of the value chain and the number of producers (p.66) but it should also mention that an important aspect for GIs is the coordination between producers. Moreover, the collective building and management of a GI is an opportunity to specify more and more precisely the product. This effect is only sensible in the middle/long term, but can be of great importance. But it is not granted from the beginning, and depends on many factors.

The peer review here addresses the methodology of constructing and managing a GI it would be useful to address this issue in a general project on best practices for the establishment of GIs, in the event that extension is decided upon.

The feedback on experiences on collective/certification trademarks could help to assess the issue of coordination between stakeholders. For example, how is the use of the US collective trademark “Silverback coffee of Rwanda” (p.52) managed: who is the owner, who can use the trademark, under which conditions is obtained the right to use the trademark? For example, is there a risk of exclusion of producers who are not members of any producers’ associations/cooperatives even if they respect the GI specification and what are the conditions to become members of cooperatives?

As the report points out, all of the collective/certification trademarks identified are very recent and consequently, there is not much data on experiences with these trademarks.

In the case of Demerara sugar, are all the producers members of Mauritius Sugar syndicate? What are the conditions to become member of the syndicate?

As was mentioned, for Mauritius Demarara sugar to be developed as a GI, the method of purchasing and selling sugar will have to change to enable premium prices secured for such sugar to be shared with farmers.

In the case of Yam from Nigeria is the trademark “PEPA Yam” an individual trademark or a collective/certification trademark? What is the link between the State, owner of the trademark and the producers? How can the producers use the trademark?

This yam is marketed by a state instrumentality and is offered as an example of geographical marketing in Europe by a Nigerian enterprise

The coordination of stakeholders is a key element of the GI system which shall be properly looked at.

This is true for a project on how to construct a GIs system.

IV. National framework and role of the State

a) Different national frameworks

The study should strengthen the analysis on the different systems existing to protect GIs, whether it is through trademark system or any sui generis GI system (p.72) and it should give some clues about what shall be the different options suitable for African ACP countries. For example there is little emphasizing on the need of examination capacities in case of sui generis GIs which are different than for trademarks (see for example the national committees for OAPI countries). The technical aspects behind GIs shall be looked at in the country of origin. Beyond this is the issue of which institution shall welcome such examining expertise and monitoring of GIs: Intellectual property offices, Ministry of Agriculture, of Commerce, of Industry. The cost of running and training of such examination experts shall be considered together with the advantages and benefit given to producers by a sui generis system (p.66).

The countries surveyed indicated that the technical requirements for examining GIs would be the subject of capacity building assistance from the EU and countries which have developed the requisite expertise. As for the examination of foreign GIs, the approach taken in EU member states  and in the European Court of Justice is that the validity of a foreign GI is accepted, once it has been registered in the home country. In other words examiners do not go behind the home registration.

b) Risk of conflict between public authorities and producers regarding the ownership of GIs

The risk of conflict between public authorities and producers is identified in the tables summarizing for each case the advantages and disadvantages of GIs but it shall be more surveyed. For example, what could be the learning of the case of Ethiopian coffees where the State is the owner of the trademarks: how did the State decide about the conditions embedded in the proclamation? In the case of Coffee from Rwanda, Rwanda Development Board says that public authority shall manage GIs on coffee but this is not asserted by the study. In the case of Zanzibar cloves it is stated that the Zanzibar Clove Board could be the owner of the GI but the GI Act (section 60) provides that only farmers can apply for GIs.

A number of the countries studied are in transition from state marketing of products to a greater involvement of the private sector. The GI management proposals made in the report recognise this transition by proposing a possible role for state instrumentalities which have developed some expertise with the relevant products

The study could also point out the issue of the risk of corruption of public authorities for example during controls.

This is probably beyond the scope of a report on GIs extension.

V. Traceability and controls

Traceability and controls are key elements of a GI system. The study should look more at those very important aspects. For example there are plenty of data on Rwanda coffee, but little about the source of coffee marketed with a geographical name such as “Bourbon Kivu” or “speciality Arabica coffee from the shores of lake Kivu”: Does this coffee come from Kivu? What are the traceability procedures to guarantee the origin of coffee regarding in particular the problem of blending (p.252, 256)? Another example is given by the product labelled « 100% Okoumé of Gabon » where there are no details about how the labelled product is traced and controlled.

Once a GI has been registered and the rules of the body responsible for administering the GI have been filed as part of the registration, traceability is left to the registered proprietor of the GI, just as it is in Europe.

The study should place more emphasis on which scheme of certification and control is possible in African ACP countries: by public authorities and/or by private bodies, by producers or third parties, regarding the realities in the countries and provisions of legal texts. The report also fails to point out who will bear those costs (p.67).

The question of who bears the costs will be one of the subjects of a national feasibility study.

Regarding the inspection of retail outlets, it might be under frauds repression and it seems quite unrealistic to do it yearly (p.66, 67).

No alternative inspection period is suggested by the peer reviewers.

The report could make more valuable use of the data generated by other schemes of certification to understand better how a GI control system could work efficiently. When there are collective or certification trademarks, data on the traceability and controls could usefully give some ideas of what a GI certification and control scheme could be. For example, how does the actual scheme of certification of Yett from little coast in Senegal function? Can the same system be used for the GI control?

 

There is as yet insufficient data on the recently-registered certification marks.

VI. Consumers

The study could analyse more precisely the role of consumers who support the demand for origin products and are a criterion for the success of GIs. In the report, the impact of a consumer driven value chain is presented in a confused way which shall be explained (see p.10 and p.63). For example, in the case of Ethiopian coffee, the strategy was built up following the action of the NGO Oxfam against Starbucks.

For the most part, the relevant consumers will be outside the countries studied. The state of consumer demand will be the subject of marketing feasibility studies for the relevant products.

VII. Outcome from already existing GIs

The report should have easily identified 3-5 cases of economically significant African products that currently enjoy GI protection through certification trademarks even if those are not sui generis GI systems and even if the trademarks are very recent. For example, coffee and tea from Kenya are already protected as certification trademarks. In particular, the following outcome could emerge: who is the owner of the trademarks, what is specified in the certification/collective trademarks rules, how is the use of such marks regulated, who is entitled to use them, how many producers have been certified...Why have they been abandoned in the US? (In many countries, descriptiveness is normally not a criterion for certification or collective trademarks).

As is mentioned above, the registration history of certification/collective marks in Africa is quite recent. The registration particulars of these marks is already fdetailed in the report.

VIII. Additional protection

The concerns expressed by the peer reviewers on this subject, which actually goes to the heart of the project are addressed in chapter 3 of this report.

The report should further discuss the interest of the additional protection compared to the standard protection for African ACP GIs and make a link between the economic data on origin based products and the negotiations at the WTO. First, the report could list the countries within the African ACP group which do or do not provide for additional protection. For example, the description of the Mauritius GI Act draft shows that it does not provide for additional protection. On the contrary, the Bangui Agreement provides for the additional protection to all GIs whatever the products designated are.

Then, the report should highlight that the additional protection will help protecting GIs registered for African ACP products and not only for foreign products. As African countries do not produce wine and spirits, the current situation of additional protection conferred only to wine and spirits is one that does not benefit them directly. It does not seem either that African companies may claim “prior rights” against GIs from foreign countries, so there is no risk of loss of domestic industry related to a product which they could consider as generic and that could be threatened by an additional protection of foreign GIs. For example, if we take the hypothesis of “Okoumé” alone being the denomination protected as a GI - which is not certain regarding the fact that Okoumé is the name of a plant variety which might be used in other countries - the use of the indication “Okoumé wood from Morroco” cannot be prohibited under the standard protection, whereas it can be prohibited under the additional protection.

Moreover, in the report there is no reference to the decision of the WTO panel to provide for the possibility to introduce the principle of co-existence between prior trademarks and GIs to national legal frameworks. This possibility could be mentioned to solve some problems emerging in the case of cocoa from Ghana where there are many prior trademarks (p.166) or on coffees from Kenya or coffees from Rwanda.

The report should also highlight the interest for ACP African countries to have both the additional protection for GIs and the mention of the source of the generic resources in patents as it is now under negotiation at the WTO.

 

The above is analysed in chapter 3 of this report

IX. GIs, biodiversity and traditional knowledge (TK)

GIs can be a useful tool to promote the TK and to preserve it, but it protects a name and will not protect TK as such against misuse. It is a tool for its preservation as it helps to maintain the method of production of goods which are traditional. Such goods are maintained in the market thanks to their added value which can be increased with a GI protection strategy (see for ex Oku honey p.126). But GI will not help to fight against usurpation as such of traditional knowledge as the traditional method of production - the know-how - can be reproduced elsewhere, even if it is assumed that when reproduced elsewhere, the traditional knowledge, which can be combined to the geographical environment, shall give birth to different products which cannot be named with the denomination protected as a GI.

GIs can be very useful for biodiversity conservation, but it has to be surveyed case by case. For example, the report does not highlight that Oku honey is very specific because it comes from an ecosystem which is a biodiversity high spot with specific birds and trees. The reputation of Oku honey is directly attributable to the high level of biodiversity of the ecosystem supporting the production of honey. On the contrary, the increase of demand following a GI registration can be a threat for biodiversity (example of the case of Rooibos).

GIs, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Protection of Traditional Knowledge (TK) is addressed in chapter 3  of this report.

X. Factual comments

From our knowledge on some of the cases, we make the following comments on the cases:

a) Okoumé from Gabon

It appears that "Okoumé wood" is designated as "gabun" ou "gaboon" wood in Germany, Sweden, USA, UK, Nederland which means that there is strong link between Okoumé and Gabon (L'okoumé (Aucoumea klaineana): monographie, Nogent-sur-Marne : CIRAD-CTFT, 1990 . - 102 p.). This fact allows drafting the hypothesis of a GI « Okoumé ».

                Noted

b) Demerara sugar

Demerara is widely recognised as generic, and is originating from Guyana, which is a strong

argument against a potential GI on Demerara sugar from Mauritius.

“Demerara” may be generic, but Mauritius Demerara is not.

c) Coffees from Ethiopia

Ethiopian coffees trademarks Harrar, Yirgacheffee and Sidamo, owned by the State are regular trademarks and not certification trademarks contrary to what is in the report, which is quite important in terms of strategy and right conferred. For example, it seems that those trademarks were registered in Europe only because the examiners did not know they were geographical names, otherwise they might have been considered as descriptive and refused. According to Mr Getachew Mengistie Alemu, the trademarks correspond to coffee profiles which are not linked to geographical area. Such data are very important in order to discuss the strategy of registration of regular trademark.

The Ethiopian example was included in the report as a suggestion as to how to proceed with quality control and the certification of standards. As confusion has arisen from the use of this example, it has been removed from this draft final report.

d) GI Act in Rwanda

GIs in Rwanda shall benefit producers but not necessary small producers (incorrect statements p. 262).

This is a matter which has to be taken into account.

e) GI Act in Kenya

The delegate from Kenya mentioned there was a factual error in the report regarding the GI Law and the assertion that tea industry was in decline.

This is not a comment on the report as such. The technical mission met with the Kenya IP Office and was given a copy of the GIs Bill currently before the Kenyan Parliament. If a delegate suggested this information was incorrect, then they need to communicate with the IP Office.

f) Bois Cherie tea

It seems that Bois Cherie is a trademark owned by the Aubin family.

This does not mean that a GI cannot co-exist with the trademark.


g) GI protection in EU and US

The list of products protected under EU regulation is not definitive as it might be amended (p.80). This list should be used to assess whether the products of the case studies can be protected in the EU. For example Okoumé wood or handicraft goods can not be registered as GIs in the EU. US regulation on certification trade marks is for any kind of goods and not only food or agricultural products.

It is conceded that EU law is narrower than US law and narrower than the Bangui Agreement. If extension is successful, then the EU will have to bring its law into line with TRIPS.

h) Oku white honey

More information could have been found in the article: Indications géographiques en Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre : raisonner la diversité (in L. SEINY-BOUKAR, P. BOUMARD (éditeurs scientifiques), 2010; Actes du colloque « Savanes africaines en développement : innover pour durer », 20-23 avril 2009, Garoua, Cameroun. Prasac, N'Djaména, Tchad ; Cirad, Montpellier, France, cédérom.

[http://hal.cirad.fr/docs/00/47/43/25/PDF/020_bridier.pdf ]

The relevance of the Cirad publication will be noted by the ACP

Here only the main points which have to be more detailed or corrected are recalled. The report states that

“the specificity of Oku white honey is attributed to the climate of this region. Oku and Ijim, two villages located at a high altitude, have a particularly cold climate and very distinctive vegetation, a constitutive material crucial to producing the white honey (p. 121)”.

The specificity of Oku honey can clearly be attributed to the vegetation of the forest, mainly three special trees: Croton macrostachyu, Nuxia congesta, Scheflera abyssinica. If the climate remains the same, but the forest is destroyed, there will no longer be White honey in the surroundings. The report continues with

“the specific production area of Oku white honey, currently under delineation, is focused on the slope of the Oku Mountains on which the village lies (p 121)”.

Mount Oku presents two slopes called Kilum and Ijim. Thus the forest is called « Kilum Ijjin forest ». This forest has a very high biodiversity interest. It is now managed by the communities themselves. This management helped to reduce the destruction rate of the forest. But demographic pressure is very high and the destruction of the forest remains a very important risk. Main towns or villages for honey production are Oku and Jakiri (Kilum slope), and Belo, Njinikom, Fundong (Ijim slope). The report states that

“...in terms of technique, production of white honey is identical to the production of ordinary honey. [...] Oku white honey is produced based on know-how of the particular placement of the hives. [...] The people of Oku village seem to have particular expertise…”

These affirmations lack in consistency and accuracy. There is indeed a special know how involved, especially concerning the colonization of bee hives in the plain, their transport to the” forest, and their installation.

The report goes on to point out that

 

“…the production of white honey originated in Oku […] white honey from Cameroon is known beyond the country borders as “Oku” white honey; […] producer groups and cooperatives are based in Oku”.

The affirmation that “…the production of white honey originated in Oku” should be better founded, as it is not the shared opinion (shared by whom?). Some collective organizations are based in Oku, but not the majority. The report comprises some contradictory statements about whether many producers are members or not of cooperatives or to producer groups (p.123).

As is suggested in the report in chapter 8, there are other studies which can be consulted by the ACP to produce an aggregate position on extension. The Cirad report, referring to Oku is obviously one such study.

i) OAPI: The Bangui agreement and the PampIG project

The Bangui agreement (1977) was revised in 1999. The Annex VI, which was devoted to “appellation of origin” (Lisbon agreement definition) was replaced by a new text about “geographical indications” (TRIPS definition). It constitutes the common IP law for the 16 countries providing that no national legislations have to be implemented. Is so, it should be consistent with the Bangui agreement. According to Annex VI, indications for any product can become a GI: agricultural, artisanal, natural or industrial…There are few provisions on the process of recognition. Additional protection is provided. Taking into account the fact that no African GI has been registered by OAPI until now, a project is currently being implemented by OAPI. Funded by AFD and supported by Cirad, the project covers the years 2008-2012. Following the preparatory work (meeting, studies, etc.) of the years 2000-2007, the project aims to help the recognition of 4 pilot products in 3 countries: Oku honey and Penja pepper in Cameroon, Korhogo clothes in Ivory Coast and Ziama coffe in Guinea. A common methodology is used for each of these products adapted to each case. The support is brought to the products stakeholders through national (mainly) and international consultants. The following fields may be concerned by this support:

- Rising awareness of producers, reinforcing structures, helping in creation of a collective

- Marketing strategy, promotion

- Writing of the code of practices

- Delimitation of the area

- Definition of the control plan and process

- Writing of the GI application

The project takes into account the fact that the GI concept is not common in Africa. Training

capacities are an important part of the project, in the perspective of identifying products eligible to become a GI. As the concept is not common, the project asks to find products « that are not the same elsewhere ». Member countries are requested to fill of a form describing each local product. It supposes to mobilize ground level skills. The project team then screen the forms and eventually asks for more information. Some of the more promising products will receive a mission by an international expert, and an action plan will be devised for the recognition of the product as a GI.

The above information, which identifies a Cirad project which has been running for over 10 years to establish GIs for Oku honey and Penja pepper in Cameroon, Korhogo clothes in Ivory Coast and Ziama coffee in Guinea (none of which has yet been registered) illustrates the problems with a project which seeks to analyse the extension debate in 10 countries, concerning at least 10-15 products within a six month time-period. Obviously the data which is generated by Cirad on this project will be utilised by the ACP countries as and when it becomes available.

XI. General comments on the study

a) Bibliography

The reviewers were surprised that very few considerations have been taken regarding previous research or dissemination projects in the field of GIs. Other recent documents of a different kind have not been used, which impedes the global quality of the work.

Unfortunately, the peer reviewers will not have seen a copy of the Inception Report for this project which at annex 2 contained a bibliography which was consulted by the technical mission. This bibliography has been reproduced again as annex 6 to this report.

For instance, at least two important research projects were funded by EU in the last ten years:

- Dolphins: 1998-2002 (Development of origin labelled products, humanity, innovation and

sustainability (Dolphins: http://www.origin-food.org/index_dolphins.htm)

- SINER-GI: Strengthening INternational Research on Geographical Indications (SINERGI:

http://www.origin-food.org/2005/base.php?cat=20) whose FINAL CONFERENCE took place in Geneva on June 23-24 2008.

No reference is made either to the Quality & Origin program of the FAO : FAO is implementing a program to support the development of procedures focusing on origin-linked specific quality that will contribute to rural development (http://www.foodquality-origin.org/eng/index.html). This program organized regional seminar, funded case studies, published a Guide: “Vandecandelaere, E., Arfini, F., Belletti, G. and Marescotti, A., Linking people, places and products: A guide for promoting quality linked to geographical origin and sustainable Geographical Indications, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and SINER-GI, 2009, 220 p”.

Another useful work was carried out by CTA (ACP/EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation) who organized on March 24th-27th, 2009, an expert seminar about “Challenges related to geographical indications (GIs) for ACP countries”. Although it was mostly oriented towards the role of GI in rural development than towards international negotiations, the cd-rom compiled on this occasion gathered nearly 20 product information sheets, as well as expert conferences. All this information material is written both in French and English, and would have been precious for the authors and participants of the conference: http://www.cta.int/en/Aboutus/What-we-do/Agricultural-Trade-Programme/Main-areas-of-work/Product-differentiation/CTAAFD- CIRAD-Workshop-on-GIs.

On this occasion, a 25’ film was produced, presenting existing GIs as well as main concepts, and reactions / thoughts from the participants. A synthesis article (« Protected Geographical Indications for ACP Countries: A Solution or a Mirage?» http://ictsd.org/i/news/tni/52376/) was published by ICSTD (ICTSD - International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development). Moreover, one of the outputs of this seminar had been the setting up of an internet forum, which would have been a good way to find stakeholders active in the field of GI. The information about the CTA 2009 Seminar was easy to locate (google search: “indications géographiques”, the ICSTD article about this seminar giving the address of the forum about GIs: www.dgroups.org/cta/GI can be found in first position).

We cite extensively the case of this CTA seminar, but there are other examples of studies or

meeting about GIs, like the seminars organized by Trade Com in Douala, Capetown, Port of Spain and Brussels.

Similarly, more information about the case studies could have been gathered before the field trips. To type « OAPI IG » on Google would have allowed the consultant to find in 8th position; the “Guide du demandeur d’Indication géographique…”, whose reading would have allow less approximate information about the OAPI GI project and the recognition process.

It would also have been very easy to find more information about some products. To type « Miel Oku » would have allowed to find an article by Bridier & Chabrol, where would have been found information that consultant did not find: volume of production, link to the origin (the forest), prices… (Indications géographiques en Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre : raisonner la diversité http://hal.cirad.fr/docs/00/47/43/25/PDF/020_bridier.pdf

Out of all these resources, we also suggest the following papers and documents from the academic literature:

Barjolle D., Sylvander B. 2000. “Some factors of success for Origin Labelled Products in Agri-Food supply chains in Europe: market, internal resources and institutions”, in: Sylvander B. Barjolle D. Arfi ni F. (Eds), “The socio-economics of Origin Labelled Products in Agri-Food

Supply Chains: Spatial, Institutional and Co-ordination Aspects”, INRA Actes et Communications, n.17-1, pp.45-71.

Bérard, L. Marchenay, P. 2008. From Localized Products to Geographical Indications. Awareness and Action. Ressources des Terroirs – CNRS, 61 p. Available at www.ethno-terroirs.cnrs.fr/IMG/pdf/Localized_Products_to_GI.pdf

Bramley, C., Biénabe, E. and Kirsten, J., "The economics of geographical indications: Towards a conceptual framework for geographical indication research in developing countries", Geneva, 26 and 27 November, 2007, International Roundtable on the Economics of Intellectual Property Rights, WIPO, 44 p.

Bowen S., Ana Valenzuala Zapata A. 2008. Geographical indications, terroir, and socioeconomic and ecological sustainability: The case of Tequila. Journal of Rural Studies (2008).

Van de Kop, P. Sautier, D. Gerz, A. 2006. Origin-based Products: Lessons for pro-poor market development. Bulletin 372, KIT ( Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam) and CIRAD (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development).Available at www.kit.nl/net/KIT_ Publicaties_output/ShowFile2.aspx?e=921.

These 5 studies can be added to the bibliography of 36 studies contained in annex 6.

b) Lack of quotation of sources

There are too few references for the cases studies which lead to unclear statements. The list of persons interviewed is presented at the beginning of each case, but it could be useful for each statement within the description of the case to quote the source and then get an explanation of some contradictory statements. For example, it is not clear - regarding Okoumé wood - when the ban on raw log was implemented and what the consequences were (why then are there still taxes on exports, see p.143).

This is a stylistic issue. The report was prepared for WTO negotiators and an attempt was made to avoid cluttering the report with references.

c) GI= Club good?

The study takes the hypothesis of GI being qualified as a club good which is still a controversial view. For example, regarding legal actions (p.67), no legal framework provides for the exclusion of the producer from any “club” - whether being the association owner of a collective trademarks or a GI group - which is an internal matter and variable depending on the statutes of the association. But legal frameworks provide for the prohibition of using the GI when not complying with the specification or rules of use. Indeed, the use of the name is not restricted in certification trademark system and in the sui generis GI system by something other than the respect of the GI specification, which shall be open to anybody. The extra condition of access to a club shall not define a GI system. Literature also discusses this concept in light of the participation of the public authorities in determining the scope of the GI specification in case there is a substantive examination (sui generis GI systems).

The application of club good analysis to GIs is becoming accepted among GIs scholars. The most recent authoritative study in this regard is Dwijen Rangnekar, Geographical Indications and Localisation: A Case Study of Feni, University of Warwick School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series, 2009, available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm

d) Methodology

There is maybe a gap between the details of the questionnaires - which are very good - and the realities in the countries. Regarding the methodology for production of quantitative data, the hypothesis of the study has been to start from an already defined GI to see its economic impact (p.62) which might be replaced by a reverse methodology, i.e. to first look at the value chain whose analysis can help to define the GI specification and scheme of control.

Noted

XII.Conclusions

How can the identified ACP origin based products fit into the WTO debate on GIs? African / ACP countries are late comparing to India, Indonesia, China, Brazil…The concept is still to be promoted and explained. Therefore there is a need to build capacities (public AND private sector: producer’s organisations, consultants, etc.). There should also be more pilot projects to be implemented, and monitored. Though the study already shows that there are real opportunities for some African ACP countries products linked to their origin to benefit from a GI system. Implementing a GI system at the national and product level requires some effort and costs on producers and State’s side. All efforts to build a GI can be rewarded and all the benefit can be maximised only if there is the guarantee of a sufficient level of protection and facilities to protect the GI at the domestic and international level.

Certainly, capacity-building and awareness-raising  on GIs is required in African ACP countries. However, the thrust of this project was whether the ACP African countries could profitably support the extension of additional protection and the multilateral register to products other than wines and spirits. The peer review only tangentially mentions extension, confining itself to the problems which will be met in establishing GIs systems. The reviewers have considerable experience in this more general area as Cirad has been involved in a project since 2000 to establish GIs for Oku honey and Penja pepper in Cameroon, Korhogo clothes in Ivory Coast and Ziama coffee in Guinea. The first GIs registrations for these products are expected in the near future.


11Conclusions

Introduction

The Terms of Reference at paragraph 1.2.2 identify four specific objectives of the project. The second of these is to: “Identify and study the performance of 3-5 economically significant African products that currently enjoy GI protection either through a sui generis system, other specific laws, and case law or through the registration of collective or certification trademarks.” The 2008 QUNO report referred to above indicated that certification marks had been obtained in Kenya for its coffee and tea, but it was unable to identify any registered GIs. The QUNO report mentioned a pending application for a GI on Argan Oil from Morocco and the development of GIs through a cooperation agreement between the French National IP Institute and OAPI for: Oku white honey and njombe pepper from Cameroon; Atcheke of Grand Lahou and the Khorogho garment from Cote d’Ivoire; Diama coffee and the Mafeya pineapple from Guinea; and Massina Kwite butter and the Souflou green beans from Burkina Faso. Our discussions with OAPI indicate that to date no GI has been registered with it for an African product and there have been no African GIs registered in any other African country. Consequently, it has not been possible in this report to “Identify and study the performance of 3-5 economically significant African products that currently enjoy GI protection”.

The remaining three objectives of the project, identified in paragraph 1.2.2,  are the subject of this report, namely to:

Identify 10-15 economically significant (ACP-based) African products that have the greatest potential to benefit from GI protection.

Identify the main challenges facing African producers or businesses, as well as governments, in using GI protection effectively in local and international markets.

Assess the suitability of existing international GI protection regimes for the effective protection of African GIs and provide recommendations for needed changes.

The identification of the economically significant products was based on a preliminary desk study of the countries to be surveyed, advice from experts in those countries, field level data collection and analysis of the product market structure; the production and distribution value chain; the availability of government support for development and marketing; and cost estimates for developing, registering and enforcing GIs on these products. The seven case studies annexed to this report identify an economically significant product in each country, as well as up to 10 other products in some countries which might be suitable for GIs protection. Two further case studies will be added to the Report before its finalisation.

The expected results of the project are identified in paragraph 1.3 of the Terms of Reference as producing three main results:

A replicable methodology for analysing the dynamics of capturing economic value out of GIs; access to GI-protected products by local populations; the role of government in the GI  framework; the costs of establishing and administering a GI regime in a country; and the costs of developing, registering and enforcing individual GIs which can be reused by non-African ACP Countries to support the identification and development of GIs.

An empirical study based on country/product level case studies providing practical information and evidence regarding the dynamics of capturing economic value out of GIs; access to GI-protected products by local populations; the role of government in the GI framework; the costs of establishing and administering a GI regime in a country; and the costs of developing, registering and enforcing individual GIs as well as recommendations on the optimum international framework to enable African countries capture value out of GIs.

A replicable methodology for this study which can be used in other ACP regions.

The previous chapter, as well as the checklist in the final chapter are the basis of a replicable methodology for analysing the dynamics of capturing economic value out of GIs; access to GI-protected products by local populations; the role of government in the GI  framework; the costs of establishing and administering a GI regime in a country; and the costs of developing, registering and enforcing individual GIs which can be reused by African ACP Countries to support the identification and development of GIs. This methodology can be used in other ACP regions.

Other expected results of the project are listed below. The extent to which this project has achieved them are also listed:

Capacity of officials involved in the enforcement of GIs improved.

Constraints and impediments hampering the implementation of GIs protection identified and measures to address them proposed;

Institutional capacity for  and strengthen coordination of officials involved in the enforcement of GIs in ACP countries built;

The general public, in particular the private sector and persons involved in the production of agricultural goods and handicrafts informed of the benefits of GIs.

Legal Infrastructure

Cameroon, Gabon and Senegal, as signatories of the March 1977 Bangui Agreement on Intellectual Property which set up the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) that governs the protection of intellectual property rights in 16 countries of Western and Central Africa, have in place regional legislation for the protection of GIs. Annex VI of the Bangui Agreement, as last amended in February 1999. The scope of application of the GI Law under Article VI is more extensive than the scope of the EC system, as it applies to all agricultural, craft or industrial products (Article 1).

Ghana passed a Geographical Indications Law in 2003 and Zanzibar enacted the Industrial Property Act 2008 with Gis provisions, but neither have promulgated implementing regulations. Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania have no national GIs legislation, with the exception of Zanzibar. In general, geographical marks are not registrable under the trade marks legislation of the three countries, although collective marks are registrable in Mauritius and collective and certification marks are registrable in Tanzania  under the Banjul Protocol on Marks in the framework of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). In Zanzibar, the 2008 industrial property law  provides for protection of collective and certification marks Draft Bills on GIs were prepared in Kenya in 2001 and in Mauritius in 2002 and 2009, but neither have been enacted.

Motivating Factors for GIs Protection

The various case studies found that the promotion of products through GIs or equivalent protection was under consideration in each of the countries surveyed. Motivating factors varied, but common considerations included the necessity to promote new or existing industries because of the stresses caused by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), climate change, the cost of oil and significant changes to existing markets through the reformulation of trade arrangements.

Respondents were particularly apprehrensive about the potential impact upon their exports of the reforms to the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) beyond 2013, the EU’s denunciation of the various commodity protocols under the Cotounou Agreement and the impact of the EUs FTAs with certain Andean and Latin American countries.

However, because the GIs negotiations under TRIPS were seen to be of particular importance to the EU, some respondents considered that their adoption of GIs was a means of trade promotion might provide marketing opportunities in the EU. The reciprocal recognition of GIs with the EU was acknowledged to have some significance in this regard.

In all countries surveyed, the use of GIs in promoting the uniqueness of their climatic advantages and local knowledge was identified as particularly advantageous to them. Additionally, in those countries where fertiliser and pesticides use is minimal some advantage is seen in the use of GIs to promote organic agriculture.

Similarly, GIs protection was seen as a means for the promotion of products as “Fairtrade”. The certification criteria of the Fairtrade system was seen to be analogous to the certification criteria in GIs systems.

The choice of the GI protection regime

The Francophone countries: Cameroon, Gabon and Senegal, as members of OAPI are signatories to Annex VI of the Bangui Agreement which implements a regional GIs instrument. In Kenya and Mauritius where GIs Bills have been drafted largely as a result of the activities of WIPO missions to review the IP laws of both countries but neither the Kenya Bill of 2001, nor the Mauritius Bill of 2002 has been enacted. Both countries are reviewing the possibility of implementation, but neither country has implemented a cost-benefit analysis of this legislation.

The Zanzibar Industrial Property Law 2008 is the only piece of GIs legislation which has been promulgated in the countries surveyed. The form of the law is identical to the Mauritius Bill. This was self-consciously adopted to support the declining cloves market and to take advantage of any supplementary markets primarily for agricultural products which may be developed. Although the incorporation of geographical indications into the 2008 Industrial Property Act of Zanziabar is positive, the law is not yet implemented due to absence of implementing regulations.

All countries surveyed have trademarks regimes - the Francophone countries through the Bangui Agreement and the Anglophone countries via national trademarks laws. As a matter of general trademarks principle, geographical names are not registrable because they are considered insufficiently distinctive, but Kenya and Mauritius currently permit the registration of collective marks which allow the registration of geographical names.

Of course the choice of GI protection regime will depend in part on the legal regime which is obtained in target markets. For example, the EU is quite familiar with GIs and African countries seeking to take advantage of GI registration in the EU  and who may establish national GI regimes to take advantage of protection under the EU foodstuffs regulation 510/2006 which in Article 9 provides for the registration of GIs in areas  situated in a third country, on the basis of  proof of protection in its country of origin.. On the other hand in the USA, collective and certification mark protection of GIs is the norm.

Costs and Benefits of GIs Protection

Ultimately, the question of which GI protection system to adopt will depend on a cost benefit analysis. The analysis of the benefits to be derived from GIs has to take into account the relevant value chains in the subject country. In most of the countries surveyed, there are producer driven chains where dominant processors control the production of the product (eg the 5 sugar mills in Mauritius servicing in excess of 90,000 farmers)  or where the products are acquired in the country of production by a single acquirer (eg the Ghana Cocoa Board, which acquires all of the cocoa produced in Ghana or the Zanzibar State Trading Corporation which acquires all of the cloves produced in Zanzibar and Pemba) or by a few large purchasers in the country ( eg the Mauritius Sugar Syndicate, the Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited) who then sell usually to a few large purchasers. In these types of markets, GIs play only a small direct role. This style of production is currently under threat because of the decline in prices for sugar, cloves, tea and coffee. GIs are more influential in consumer driven value chains where consumer taste and preference drive the market and enterprises that directly supply the final consumer, such as retailers are the dominant actors. GIs are being looked to as a means of defending or enhancing existing markets by shifting to consumer-driven markets.

In each of the countries surveyed there are many small scale producers with limited market power. The lion’s share of the income derived from the products which they produce is enjoyed by the few distributors and the few purchasers. The potential premium price benefits of GIs will therefore be primarily enjoyed by these few beneficiaries, but the costs of a GIs certification system will be borne in the first instance by the many small scale producers. For such a system to be feasible a means must be developed for the producers to share the benefits of any enhanced revenues enjoyed by the distributors.

A particular problem, identified in a number of the case studies referred to in this report is the fact that the traditional ways in which products have been sold is as undifferentiated produce, which is then branded by the purchasers for on-selling in overseas markets. This has enabled purchasers to select the relevant product from the lowest priced markets. If GIs are to be established for these products the existing purchasing arrangements will have to be substantially changed. If the producers are to benefit from a premium price which will be attracted by a GI, either they will have to enter directly into the end markets as advertisers and vendors or some mechanism will heve to be devised by which the producers can share the promotional costs in the end markets with the current purchasers and by which producers can share in the premium attracted by the GI.

The advertising and promotional costs for GIs would be expected to be quite substantial in the initial stages as a market identity is established for products not previously branded as GIs. The FAO Committee on Commodity Problems’ Intergovernmental Group on Tea has pointed out that:

As much as the concept of GIs may appear attractive, there are situations in which they may be unnecessary or ineffective. GIs established by small groups of producers, with limited international trade links, are at most likely to influence only local markets. The protection of such indications should not give rise to false hopes in terms of rising market shares and prices, except in niche markets where they may have a role. In addition the proliferation of GIs, including from little-known areas, are held responsible for consumer confusion and inability to associate preferences with the products concerned. [110]

The FAO’s Tea IGC points out that In order for a product of a specified GI to obtain favour in the market, there is a need to insure that it meets consumer expectations with regard to quality, consistency and price. There are thus costs of the geographical indication that go beyond it establishment and registration. The indication must be properly managed, with appropriate controls and certification. Part of these may be offset by license fees from producers. In addition, there are costs for monitoring correct use of the geographical indication and for legal challenges. Lastly, as for all marketing efforts, promotion of the geographical indication is needed to enhance consumer awareness.[111]

A potentially substantial cost which will have to be carried under a GIs system is that of policing and enforcing IP rights in relation to the GI. For example it has been reported that in order to protect the ”Darjeeling” mark and logo, over a four year period, the Tea Board of India spent approximately US$ 200 000 on legal and registration expenses, costs of hiring an international watch agency and fighting infringements in overseas jurisdictions, as well as the significant administrative and other expenses incurred for the monitoring mechanisms employed by the Board.[112]

The FAO’s IGC on Tea observed that the realization of premium prices for products from a specified location does not derive solely from the establishment of a GI. In the long run a package of coordinated actions is required including: (i) clear approval and monitoring procedures; (ii)  reliable inspection and certification to monitor the full traceability of the path of the product from the area of production to the final product on the market.; (iii) the need to strengthen promotion, advertising and education to improve and maintain the perception of quality by consumers; and (iv) to challenge any improper usage of the GI.[113]

The 2008 QUNO Study[114] indicates that lessons from the case studies and the literature review suggest that, for a GI to be successful, four components are essential:

  • Strong Organizational and Institutional Structures to maintain, market, and monitor the GI. The core processes of: (i) identifying and fairly demarcating a GI (ii) organizing existing practices and standards and (iii) establishing a plan to protect and market the GI all require building local institutions and management structures with a long-term commitment to participatory methods of cooperation.
  • Equitable Participation among the producers and enterprises in a GI region. Equitable is here defined as the participating residents of a GI region sharing reasonably in not only costs and benefits but also in the control and decisions regarding their public assets.
  • Strong Market Partners committed to promote and commercialize over the long term. Many of the GI market successes are the result of mutually beneficial business relations via which consistent market positioning and effective commercialization have led to a long-term market presence.
  • Effective Legal Protection including a strong domestic GI system. Carefully chosen protection options will permit effective monitoring and enforcement in relevant markets to reduce the likelihood of fraud that can compromise not only the GI’s reputation but also its legal validity.

Costs and benefits of a GIs system in the countries surveyed

For the purposes of this report the costs of GIs referred to in the previous chapter may be classified as infrastructural, organizational, and promotional. The benefits identified in these studies can be classified as commercial and non-commercial. These costs and benefits as they apply to the current study are considered below.

Infrastructural costs

The primary infrastructural costs are those involved in establishing a GIs registration system. In Cameroon, Gabon and Senegal the infrastructural costs of the GIs system is part of the general costs of OAPI, which are carried by Member States as part of their membership obligations were incurred when OAPI was established. In Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania, the infrastructural costs are those required to establish GIs registries. As registries already exist in those countries for trademarks, and for certification and/or collective marks, the expense of an additional register for GIs is not going to be prohibitive. Training will be required for registry officials. Costs will also be incurred in the administration of the system. Some of these costs will be defrayed from the costs which are charged to users. In the case of OAPI these costs are: application for registration: F.FCA 90.000 (€ 137); publication of the application for registration: F.FCA 55.000 (€ 83); application for opposition: F.FCA 150.000 (€ 228). In Kenya, Mauritius and Zanzibar the current charges for trademark applications range from (€ 100-150).

Organizational costs

GIs systems require a body which will certify and police the quality of the products which are to be protected by the GI. In all countries surveyed, collectives of farmers already exist. These collectives could equally function as certifying bodies for GIs purposes. Training will be required for the administrative officers of those collectives and educational expenses will be incurred in informing the farmers about the functioning of the GIs system and the certification standards that are to be followed. Another option is to buy in the certification services from third party providers. Funding would have to be secured for this approach to certification from appropriate donors, eg as a UNDP or FAO project.

Promotional costs

In all countries surveyed, the main advantage of GIs protection is to secure access to overseas markets. This will entail registration costs for exporters seeking to obtain reciprocal GIs protection in overseas markets. Associated with this will be the costs of promoting the GI. Given the multifunctionality of GIs, for example their role in supporting tourism through the preservation of local landscapes, these costs might be absorbed within the budgets for the promotion of tourism.

Commercial benefits

The primary benefits of GIs in all countries surveyed were their potential for establishing new markets (timber, honey, organic fruits and vegetables) and in offsetting the declines in traditional markets (sugar, cloves, tea). The successes in the marketing of organic and Freetrade products in developed counry markets was identified as an encouraging indication of the likely success of a GIs-based promotional scheme.

The underlying rationale of GIs protection is that premium prices can be charged for GI-protected products. This has been the European experience over many years. GIs in capturing the distinctive aspects of a product that emerge from a terroir and its associated traditional methods of production and processing that are often difficult to duplicate in other regions or countries functions in the same way as a prestige brand.[115]

This study was tasked with addressing the GIs potential for products in the selected countries. As most of the products identified have not yet been sold under GIs there is insufficient data on whether those products have attracted premium prices. If those products are sold into the EU, it would be expected that they could command the premium prices which are a feature of that market. In non-EU markets, the association of GIs with organic or Freetrade products would assist in securing premium prices.

A more indirect commercial benefit of GIs is there role in maintaining and increasing rural employment.  They can have an impact on the supply other products and services in a region and thereby foster business clustering and rural integration. For example, the development of the various organic agricultural sectors in Rodrigues, will also involve the development of various agricultural skills such as composting, pest management and water management which will have spill-over effects for other industries. 

Other indirect commercial benefits are that in preserving rural employment, GI-based industries can discourage the drift of rural workers to urban centres, which can cause strains upon urban facilities and also the maintenance of rural industries will preserve rural landscapes, which can be important for tourism, such as the maintenance of the sugar landscapes in Mauritius and the cloves landscapes in Zanzibar and Pemba.

Non-commercial benefits

In the absence of international agreements providing for the protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, GIs can provide a legal structure to affirm and protect the unique cultural values embodied in traditional artisanal and agricultural skills that are valued forms of expression for a particular community.[116]

The preservation of rural landscapes through the establishment and maintenance of rural landscapes also has important environmental impacts and is an important means for the conservation in situ of landraces which might otherwise disappear.

Reasons for Extension of the Special Protection for Wine and Spirits GIs

The underlying objective of this project is the empowerment of ACP country negotiators in the debates around the possible extension of the special protection currently provided under TRIPS for wines and spirits to other products. A useful compendium of the advantages to African countries on the expansion of the scope of GI protection in the TRIPS Agreement was identified by Agnes Nyaga, then Vice President of OriGin[117] as contributing to sustainable development in the following ways:

  • GI protection would transform the African farmers from raw material producers to exporters of differentiated products easily identifiable in the global market.
  • The development of traditional rural products through GI protection would provide an efficient means to prevent relocation of production and would help retain and sustain workers in the rural areas thus reducing rural urban migration.
  • GI products are the results of regional products ingenuity which deserves to be better preserved at an international level and maintain a strong global link.
  • GI protection would assist the African economics, which are largely dependent on agriculture, to realize the full value of their quality products and this would translate to better living standards of the producers.
  • GI protection would assist African producers to unlock the value of their products by promoting them as origins
  • Protection would ensure better market access by creating a niche for GI product producers.
  • Enhanced GI protection would ensure that blending and branding of GI protected products results into income earned by the producers of the goods. For example, with regard to Kenyan tea and coffee with distinctive quality and flavour, traders and blenders in pursuit of higher margins from the sale of inferior tea and coffee do blend these with Kenyan tea or coffee. This has denied farmers the high premium prices realized but also identity in the global market.
  • At the given geographical location, GI protection is a tool for attracting premium price and to protect local know-how and natural resources.
  • GI protection prevents standardization of food by providing a wider choice for consumers.
  • GI protection contributes to biodiversity conservation by encouraging localized production of distinct products with diverse qualities. It thus protects traditional cultures and enhances national identity.
  • GI protection can be used as a means to increase production and create local jobs.
  • GI protection can be used as a tool for adding value to land under GI territory.
  • GI protection has a positive impact on tourism. For example, the wine routes in Cape Town in South Africa and the Argane Oil cooperatives in Morocco attract several tourists per day.

GI extension enhances global prospects of having quality products. GI is thus a standard and quality raising tool for development.The underlying objective of this project is the empowerment of ACP country negotiators in the debates around the possible extension of the special protection currently provided under TRIPS for wines and spirits to other products. The evidence collected in the course of this Study leads us to recommend that the the potential benefits to African  from GIs protection, outlined above outweigh the potential costs. Further studies should be undertaken in Caribbean and Pacific ACP Member countries to verify these results.


12Checklist of Matters to be Considered in Establishing a GIs System

Introduction

Ultimately, the decision for a country to establish a system for the registration of GIs is going to depend upon whether the benefits of such a system outweigh its costs. These costs and benefits are outlined above. Additionally, of course the relevant product has to meet the statutory definition of a registrable GI in the producer country and in the countries in which it is to be marketed. Additionally, there must be a system for controlling and assuring the quality of the protected products to ensure that the production standards comply with the certification which stands behind the GI.

Is there a Market Case for GIs Protection?

It must be determined whether a product has sufficient level of differentiation in the market place to attract consumer preference and whether the stakeholders are interested in the long-term commitment of resources and cooperation. Best practices suggest that there should be broad participation, and leadership to permit optimal benefits to the diverse stakeholders of the region. Careful structuring in the initial phase will also reduce disharmony and ensuing difficulties as a GI grows. This includes conducting a feasibility analysis to determine likely marketability and the types of legal structures and protection that will be needed.

Does the product meet the definition of a GI in the relevant law (national or overseas)?

Geographical indications (GIs) are defined as “indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.” This means that a geographical indication is a sign used to indicate the regional origin of particular goods/services and that there must be a link between some characteristic of the good and the particular region where it was produced. The first question therefore is whether this linkage can be established.

Does the product meet the legal definition of products that can be GIs under the relevant legislation?

The relevant legislation will be the home legislation as well as the GIs legislation in overseas countries in which the products are intended to be marketed. Eg in the EU products covered by Regulation (EEC) No 510/06 and Regulation (EEC) No 509/06 are:

  • Fresh meat and meat based products (cooked, salted, smoked, etc.)
  • Products of animal origin (cheeses, eggs, honey, cochineal, milk products excluding butter, etc.)
  • Oils and fats
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Cereals, bread, pasta, pastry, cakes, confectionery, biscuits
  • Fish, molluscs, crustaceans
  • Spices
  • Beer and beverages made from plant extracts
  • Natural mineral waters and spring waters
  • Natural gums and resins
  • Essential oils
  • Cork
  • Wool

In the US any food or agricultural product, including all of the above, will be considered for registration as a certification mark or as a collective mark.

Has the GI been registered in the home country?

In most overseas countries the protection of foreign GIs is contingent upon them having been registered in the home country. Overseas registries do not tend to go behind the home registration, but to accept the home registration as evidence that it meets the criteria for protection.

In which Foreign Countries will the GI be registered?

The 167 countries that actively protect GIs fall into two main groups: 111 nations with specific or sui generis systems of GI laws and 56 that prefer to use their trademark systems. The decision must be taken about in which countries the GIs should be registered. These will inevitably be potential market countries. These costs will include search fees, registration fees and the fees of trademark agents.

Has a certifying authority been established?

A body will have to be established to ensure that the conditions upon which GI certification are based, such as location of producers, methods of production, method of processing etc are met. This may be done by an existing producers’ collective, by a government instrumentality or by a third party certification body. The role of this body will include to: (i) establish and maintain quality standards; (ii) educate producers about the way in which standards are to be maintained; (iii) to police those standards among producers; (iv) to secure registration of the GI; and (v) monitor the possible use of the GI by unauthorised third parties; (vi) initiate enforcement action against unauthorised third parties.

Is there a source of funds to support the certifying authority?

The determination with stakeholders along the supply chain of the quality or process standards that will apply to a protected GI together with the process of educating stakeholders and building GI capacity within an industry will involve a considerable investment, prior to the marketing of any protected products.


13Certification and Quality Control

In 2010, the EU best practice guidelines for voluntary certification schemes for agricultural products

and foodstuffs were announced by the European Commission as part of its initiatives on product quality. The guidelines were designed to help improving the transparency, credibility and effectiveness of voluntary certification schemes which already existed within the EU and highlighted best practice in the operation of such schemes. The guidelines were directed primarily to scheme developers and operators. The guidelines provide a useful precedent for ACP countries seeking to establish certification schemes as part of a GIs system.

In the EU the guidelines are voluntary and have no legal status.  They are applicable to voluntary certification schemes covering agricultural products, whether or not intended for human consumption (including feed) and foodstuffs and – processes and management systems related to the production and processing of agricultural products and foodstuffs. The guidelines do not apply to official controls carried out by public authorities.  An edited version of the relevant provisions of the guidelines is reproduced below.

Rules governing conformity assessment, certification and accreditation

Rules on the organisation and operation of accreditation of bodies performing conformity assessment activities in the regulated area have been laid down in Regulation (EC) No 765/2008. In addition, the internationally recognised rules for operating product/process or system certification schemes are set out in the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Guide 65 (EN 45011) or ISO 17021, respectively. While product/process or system certification schemes are voluntary initiatives, to deliver product/process or system certificates under accreditation, in the EU certification bodies have to be accredited against EN 45011/ISO 65 or ISO 17021.

However, the above is without prejudice to all applicable EU food law requirements, including the general objectives laid down in Article 5(1) of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002:

"Food law shall pursue one or more of the general objectives of a high level of protection of human life and health and the protection of consumers' interests, including fair practices in food trade, taking account of, where appropriate, the protection of animal health and welfare, plant health and the environment".

The guarantees given by the official control activities are the baseline, on top of which specific certification schemes may operate on a voluntary basis, bearing in mind that any breach is liable to food law. Assessment of conformity with baseline requirements through certification schemes does not exempt the official control authorities from their responsibility.

Recommendations Regarding Scheme Participation and Development

(1) Schemes should be open under transparent and non-discriminatory criteria to all participants willing and able to comply with the specifications.

(2) Schemes should have a supervisory structure which allows for the contribution of all concerned stakeholders in the food chain (farmers and their organisations, agricultural and agri-food traders, food industry, wholesalers, retailers and consumers, as appropriate) in the development of the scheme and in decision-making in a representative and balanced way. Mechanisms for participation by stakeholders and the organisations involved should be documented and publicly available.

(3) Managers of schemes operating in different countries and regions should facilitate the participation of all concerned stakeholders from those regions in scheme development.

(4) Scheme requirements should be developed by technical committees of experts and submitted to a broader group of stakeholders for inputs.

(5) Managers of schemes should ensure the participation of concerned stakeholders in the development of inspection criteria and checklists, as well as in the design and determination of thresholds for sanctions.

(6) Managers of schemes should adopt a continuous development approach where feedback mechanisms exist to regularly review rules and requirements in a participatory manner. In particular, scheme participants should be involved in the future development of the scheme.

(7) Changes to scheme requirements must be made only when justified, so as to avoid unnecessary adaptation costs for scheme participants. Scheme participants must be given appropriate notice of any change to the scheme requirements.

(8) Schemes should include contact information on all documentation associated with the scheme (including on a website) and establish a process to receive and reply to comments on the scheme.

Recommendations Regarding Scheme Requirements and Corresponding Claims

1. Clarity and transparency of scheme requirements and claims made

(1) Schemes should clearly state the social, environmental, economic and/or legal objectives.

(2) Claims and requirements should be clearly linked to the objectives of the scheme.

(3) The scope of the scheme in terms of products and/or processes should be clearly defined.

(4) Scheme specifications, including a public summary, should be freely available (e.g. on a website).[118]

(5) Schemes operating in different countries should provide translations of the specifications if a duly justified request is made by potential participants or certification bodies.

(6) Scheme specifications should be clear, sufficiently detailed and easily understandable.

(7) Schemes using logos or labels should provide information about where consumers can find further details on the scheme, such as a website address, either on the product packaging or at the point of sale.

(8) Schemes should clearly state (e.g. on their website) that they require certification by an independent body and provide contact details of certification bodies which provide this service.

2. Evidence base of scheme claims and requirements:

(1) All claims should be based on objective and verifiable evidence and scientifically sound documentation. These documents should be freely available, e.g. on a website.[119]

(2) Schemes operating in different countries and regions should adapt their requirements in line with the relevant local agro-ecological, socio-economic and legal conditions and agricultural practices, while ensuring consistent results across different contexts.

(3) Schemes should clearly indicate (e.g. on a website) whether, where and to what extent their specifications go beyond the relevant legal requirements, including in

the areas of reporting and inspections, if applicable.

Recommendations Regarding Certification and Inspections

1. Impartiality and independence of certification

(1) Certification of compliance with the scheme requirements should be carried out by an independent body accredited:

– by the national accreditation body appointed by Member States according to Regulation (EC) No 765/2008, in accordance with relevant European or International standards and guides setting out general requirements for bodies operating product certification systems or

– by an accreditation body signatory to the multilateral recognition arrangement (MLA) for product certification of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).

(2) Schemes should be open to certification by any qualified and accredited certification body, without the imposition of geographical restrictions.

2. Inspections

As a general principle, inspections should be effective, clear, transparent, based on documented procedures and relate to verifiable criteria underlying the claims made by the certification scheme. Unsatisfactory inspection results should lead to appropriate action.

(1) Regular inspections of scheme participants should be carried out. There should be clear and documented procedures for inspections, including frequency, sampling and laboratory/analytical tests in parameters related to the scope of the certification scheme.

(2) The frequency of inspections should take into account previous inspection results, inherent risks posed by the product or process or management system, as well as the existence of internal audits in collective producer organisations which can complement third-party inspections. A minimum inspection frequency for all scheme participants should be determined by the scheme supervisor.

(3) There should be a systematic evaluation of the results of inspections.

(4) Unannounced inspections and inspections at short notice should be used as a general rule (e.g. within 48 hours).

(5) Inspections and audits should be based on publicly available guidelines, checklists and plans. The inspection criteria should be closely linked to the requirements of the scheme and the corresponding claims.

(6) There should be clear and documented procedures for dealing with non-compliance which are effectively implemented. Knock-out criteria should be defined which could lead to:

– non-issue or withdrawal of the certificate,

– withdrawal of membership, or

– reporting to the relevant official enforcement body.

These knock-out criteria should include at least non-fulfilment of basic legal requirements in the area covered by the certification. Cases of non-compliance with adverse implications for health protection should be notified to the relevant authorities in accordance with regulatory requirements.

(7) Inspections should focus on analysing the verifiable criteria which underlie claims made by certification schemes.

3. Costs

(1) Scheme managers should make public the membership fees (if any) and require their certification bodies to publish the costs associated with certification and inspection for different types of scheme participants.

(2) Possible discrepancies in fees charged to different scheme participants should be justified and proportionate. They should not serve to deter certain groups of potential participants, e.g. from other countries, to join the scheme concerned.

(3) Any cost savings arising form mutual recognition and benchmarking should be passed on to the operators subject to inspections and audits.

4. Qualification of auditors/inspectors

As a general principle, auditors/inspectors should be impartial, qualified and competent. Auditors carrying out the certification audits should have the relevant knowledge in the specific sector and should work for certification bodies that are accredited under the relevant European or international standards and guides for product certification schemes and for management system certification schemes. The required auditor skills should be described in the scheme specifications.

5. Provisions for small-scale producers

Schemes should include provisions enabling and promoting the participation of small-scale producers (especially from developing countries, if relevant) in the scheme.

Recommendations Regarding Mutual Recognition and Benchmarking/Overlap With Other Schemes

(1) Where schemes are entering a new sector and/or expanding in scope, the need for the scheme should be justified. Where possible, scheme managers should make explicit reference (e.g. on their website) to other relevant schemes operating in the same sector, policy area and geographical region and identify where approaches converge and agree. They should actively explore possibilities for mutual recognition for parts or all of the scheme requirements.

(2) In areas where schemes have been identified to have partial or total overlap with the requirements of other schemes, schemes should include recognition or acceptance partially or totally of inspections and audits already carried out under those schemes (aiming to not re-audit the same requirements).

(3) If mutual acceptance cannot be achieved, scheme managers should promote combined audits based on combined audit checklists (i.e. one combined checklist and one combined audit for two or more different schemes).

(4) Managers of schemes that overlap in their requirements should as much as practically and legally possible also harmonise their auditing protocols and documentation requirements.

 


 Annex 1              Draft Workplan and Mission Schedule

WEEK

Expert 1 Michael Blakeney

  • Expert 2 Thierry Coulet

Week 1

(w/c 30 August 2010)

  • Desk Study
  • Documentation Review
  • Desk Study
  • Documentation Review

Week 2

(w/c 6 September 2010)

  • Mission planning
  • Preparation of Inception Report
  • Mission planning
  • Preparation of Inception Report

Week 3

(w/c 13 September 2010)

  • Travel to Geneva
  • Kick-off meeting with ACP Secretariat,  PMU, WIPO, WTO
  • Travel to Geneva
  • Kick-off meeting with ACP Secretariat,  PMU, WIPO, WTO

Week 4

(w/c 20 September 2010)

  • Preparation of questionnaire
  • Preparation of questionnaire

Week 5

(w/c 27September 2010)

  • Identification and recruitment of African experts
  • Identification and recruitment of African experts

Week 6

(w/c 4 October 2009)

  • Identification of organizations to be surveyed
  • Preparation of field trips
  • Identification of organizations to be surveyed
  • Preparation of field trips

Week 7

(w/c 11 October 2010)

  • Identification of organizations to be surveyed
  • Preparation of field trips
  • Planning of launching workshops
  • Identification of organizations to be surveyed
  • Preparation of field trips
  • Planning of launching workshops

Week 8 – Week 14

(w/c 18 October 2010 –

w/c 29 November 2010)

 

  • Preparatory Work for the field missions

 

  • Preparatory Work for the field missions

Week 15

(w/c 6 December 2010)

  • Preparatory Work for the field missions along with Regional Experts
  • Field trip to Senegal 

Week 16

(w/c 13 December 2010)

  • Preparatory Work for the field missions along with Regional Experts 
  • Collation and evaluation of results of field trip to Senegal 

Week 19

(w/c 3 January 2011)

  • Field trip in Tanzania
  • Field trip to Gabon

Week 20

(w/c 10 January 2011)

  • Field trip in Kenya
  • Field trip to Cameroon

 

Week 21

(w/c 17 January 2011 )

  • Review of data

 

  • Review of data
  • Collation and evaluation of results of field  missions

Week 22

(w/c 24 January 2011)

  • Field trip to  Zimbabwe
  • Preparation of field trips

Week 23

(w/c 31 January 2011)

  • Field trip  to Mauritius
  • Field mission to  Rwanda

Week 24

(w/c 7 February 2011)

  • Coordination meeting in Lyon

Coordination meeting in Lyon

Week 25

(w/c 14 February 2011 )

  • Field trip to Tanzania
  • Collation of data

Week 26

(w/c 21 February 2011)

  • Field trip to Kenya
  • Collation of data
  • Preparation of Draft Study

Week 27

(w/c 28 February 2011)

  • Collation of data
  • Preparation of mid-term progress report
  • Collation of data

Preparation of mid-term progress report

Week 28

(w/c 7 March 2011)

  • Collation of data
  • Preparation of mid-term progress report
  • Collation of data
  • Preparation of mid-term progress report

Week 29

(w/c 14 March 2011)

  • Collation of data
  • Preparation of mid-term progress report
  • Collation of data
  • Preparation of mid-term progress report

Week 30

(w/c 21 March 2011)

  • Participation in Peer Review
  • Preparation of National Stakeholder Seminar

Week 31

(w/c 28 March  2011)

  • Preparation of National Stakeholder Seminar
  • Preparing and Drafting Mid-term progress Report
  • Preparation of National Stakeholder Seminar
  • Preparing and Drafting Mid-term progress Report

Week 32-33

(w/c 4 April 2011

w/c 11 April 2011)

  • Collation of data
  • Preparation of mid-term progress report
  • Submission of the report on 15/04
  • Collation of data
  • Preparation of mid-term progress report
  • Submission of the report on 15/04

Week 34-35-36

(w/c 18 April 2011)

w/c 25 April 2011)

(w/c 2 May 2011)

  • Preparation for the GIs Conference
  • Preparation for the GIs Conference

 Week 37

(w/c 9 May 2011)

  • Conference to present and discuss findings
  • Conference to present and discuss findings

Week 38-40

(w/c 16 May 2011)

(w/c 23 May 2011

(w/c 30 May 2011)

  • Prepare draft final report
  • Prepare draft final report

Week 41

(w/c 6 June  2011)

 

  • Submission of draft Final report
  • Submission of draft Final report

Week 42

(w/c 13 June  2011)

 

  • Publication and dissemination of Final Study
  • Publication and dissemination of Final Study

Week 43

(w/c 20 June 2011)

  • De-briefing in Brussels
  • De-briefing in Brussels

 

 


Annex 2          Questionnaires

 

  1. For organisations of producers, transformers, distributors and exporters of the product surveyed ; Other qualified experts of the product surveyed and its markets, relating to products that are already the object of a GI protection in one form or another.

 

  1. Statement of background to the study

This study is performed in the framework of the “Technical Assistance to the Integration to the Multilateral Trading System and Support to the Integrated Framework” Programme (9th EDF). The beneficiary countries are all ACP Countries.

It aims at enhancing the negotiating capacities of these countries in the current international negotiations on the protection of geographical indications (GIs) by generating empirical evidence at country and product level about the advantages, costs and difficulties associated with the implementation of a GI protection regime, as well as the conditions to be met for this regime to benefit the local producers and the country of origin at large.

In this context, the overall objective of this study is to generate empirical evidence, based on country/sub-regional and product case studies, regarding the benefits that African members of the ACP Group can obtain from enhanced multilateral Geographical Indication protection.

You have been identified as one of the key stakeholders and/or expert of the product selected for the conduct of this analysis in your country. Your opinion will be critical in determining the advantages, disadvantages and problems associated with the GI protection of this product for its producers and your country as a whole.

This questionnaire includes eight parts which relate to:

  • The definition of the product;
  • The choice of the GI protection regime
  • the analysis of the competition structure;
  • the analysis of the market structure;
  • the analysis of the value chain ;
  • the analysis of the economic gains associated with the GI protection;
  • the analysis of the cost of the GI protection;
  • the existing sources of information.

It includes a total of 86 questions and the face-to-face interview agreed to complete it with you will last about 3 hours.

Your responses will be used exclusively for the purpose of this study and your opinions will be only directly attributed to you if you so wish.

Name of the respondent:

Organisation:

Position:

Contact details:

Definition of the product

  • How is the product analysed defined in terms of characteristics and geographical origin ?
  • What is the specificity of the product in terms of natural characteristics and/or process which is attached to its geographical origin ?
  • What are the main export markets for the product ?
  • What was, in your opinion, the current stage of reputation of the product in its main export markets before the introduction of the GI protection (please give an answer for each of the main export markets identified in 1.3.) ?
  • inexistent/low/emerging/average/well established/very strong
  • How has, in your opinion, the reputation of the product evolved since the introduction of the GI protection on each of these main export markets ?

The choice of the GI protection regime

  • The choice of the GI protection regime
  • What kind of GI protection applies to the product analysed in its country of origin (i.e. GI protection sui generis, individual trademarks, collective trademark, other : please specify) ?
  • When was it established ?
  • Who was at the initiative of the GI protection ?
  • What have been the main stages in the implementation and development of this GI protection from this initiative until now in terms of :
    - legal acknowledgement;
    - membership;
    - organization;
    - volumes of production;
    - volumes of export;
    - prices paid to the producer.
  • Have other GI protection regimes been considered before choosing this particular regime ?
  • Which were their main advantages ?
  • Which were their main disadvantages ?
  • Which problems and/or key success factors were associated with these different regimes ?
  • Are other GI protection regimes applied to the product analysed in its main export markets ?
  • What were the reasons for the choice of these particular regimes in these export markets ?
  • What are the advantages, disadvantages, problems and key success factors associated with these regimes ? Please give an answer for each of the main export markets identified.
  • What are the costs associated with the GI protection of the product in each of its main export markets ?
  • Has there any governance structure of the GI been implemented ?
  • If yes, please give full details of its composition, organization, objectives, means and methods.
  • Please indicate any publicly available document or information source, including websites, that could encompass further details about the GI protection (legal document, presentation of the product, the governance structure etc.)

Analysis of the competition structure

  • How many producers are there currently active in the production of the considered product ?
  • How has this number evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What is the typical size of a producer in terms of number of employees ?
  • How has this size evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What is the maximum/minimum size observed among the producers in terms of number of employees ?
  • How has the maximum size evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What is approximately the distribution of the producers between these two extremes ?
  • Among them, how many producers can be considered as dominant producers ?
  • How has this concentration evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What are approximately their global/individual share of the total production ?
  • How have these market shares evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Are there any significant differences among the producers with regard to their selling prices ?
  • How have these differences evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Is there any existing association or organization of producers ?

Analysis of the market structure

  • What is the average producer price of the product for the domestic market ?
  • How has this price evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What is the average consumer price of the product on the domestic market ?
  • How has this price evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • How has the domestic demand evolved in parallel ?
  • What share of the production is exported ?
  • How has this share evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What is the total value of the exports ?
  • How has this value evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Is there any international spot market for the product ?
  • Is there any international futures market for the product ?
  • What is the average producer price of the product for export (Ex Works) ?
  • How has this price evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What are the main export markets for the product ?
  • What are the sales volumes on each of these export markets ?
  • How have these sales volumes evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Have new main export markets appeared since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Who are the main distributors of the product on each export market ?
  • What are the market shares of the dominant distributors on each of these export markets ?
  • How have these market shares evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Do you know what is the consumer price range of the product on each of the export markets ?
  • How has this price range evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Are there any significant prices variations between the major distributors ?
  • Are there any significant prices variations over a period of one year ?
  • On each of these markets, what has been the evolution of prices since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Are there any substitutable products to the product considered ?
    What is the size of the global market for the whole set of substitutable products ?
  • What is the size of the market for the whole set of substitutable products on each of the main export markets of the considered product ?
  • Are any of these substitutable products protected by any kind of GI protection ?
  • If yes, does it concern :

           - a few susbstitutable products ?
           - many susbstitutable products ?
           - most or all susbstitutable products ?

Analysis of the value chain

  • Who are the intermediaries between the producer and the final consumer (abroad) of the analysed product ?
  • Have new intermediaries appeared in this value chain since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What is the typical price of the product at each stage of the value chain ?
  • Has this value chain been modified after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What is the level of competition at each stage of the value chain ?
    No competition : full monopoly
    Little competition : oligopoly (please specify the number of suppliers)
    Effective competition
    Fierce competition : atomicity of the supply
  • How has this competition evolved at each stage of the value chain since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • At what stage of the value chain is the product exported ?
  • Has this changed after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Has any producer (or group of producers) undertaken a downstream vertical integration since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Has any other individual, group or institution, undertaken a downstream activity in the country since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Are there any cases of vertical integration in the value chain ?
  • Has any of these cases appeared after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Are there any cases of vertical cooperation in the value chain ?
  • Has any of these cases appeared after the introduction of the GI protection ?

 

Analysis of the economic gains associated with GI protection

  • What have been, according to you, the main kinds of economic gains associated with the introduction of the GI protection ?
    - for the producers;
    - for the domestic consumers;
    - for transformers;
    - for distributors;
    - for other intermediaries (please specify);
    - for consumers abroad.
  • Please rate the following potential gains and advantages associated with the GI protection as : inexistent/low/average/high/very high
    - widespread access of the producers to the protection;
    - enhancement of the quality level of the product;
    - improvement in the production process;
    - marketing and branding capacity building and spreading;
    - better cooperation between producers;
    - access to new financial resources;
    - prevention of delocalisation;
    - prevention of piracy of traditional knowledge;
    - possible combination of the GI protection with other market incentives (e.g. organic certification);
    - signal to consumers about the reputation and quality of the product;
    - possibility to increase the producer’s price;
    - development on existing markets;
    - access to new markets;
    - rural development;
    - protection of ecosystems and landscapes.

Analysis of the cost and potential disadvantages of GI protection

  • What disadvantages or problems have appeared to be attached to the GI protection of the product ?
  • Please rate the following potential disadvantages and problems as : inexistent/low/ average/high/very high
    - difficulty attached to the formalisation of the specific biological or cultural specificity of the product;
    - legal and administrative complexity related to the development of a GI;
    - lack of financial and human resources to engage in a GI development;
    - difficulties associated with the implementation and management of an appropriate governance structure of the GI;
    - inability of the GI protection to meaningfully help small producers;
    - marginalisation of other important products and productions in the region;
    - appropriation of the economic value created by the GI protection by the transformers and distributors;
    - generation of economic exclusion on the supply side : exclusion of producers by the definition of the characteristics of the product or by the requirements in terms of labelling, safety and traceability;
    - generation of economic exclusion on the demand side : denial of access to nutritious and/or traditional goods by local and low-income populations;
    - conflicts on the ownership of the GI, including between the national authorities and the local populations or authorities;
    - risks on biodiversity conservation;
    - risk of denaturing the local culture.
  • Please give an as accurate as possible evaluation of the following costs relating to the development, registration and enforcement of a GI protection :
    - Application fees;
    - Search fees;
    - Advertisement fees;
    - Publication fees;
    - Costs in opposition proceedings;
    - Litigation costs;
    - Renewal fees, if any;
    - Fees for change of address or name;
    - Fees in case of assignment;
    - Fees for correction of clerical or other errors;
    - Charges for amendment to application or registration; and
    - Attorney’s fees for preparation and legalisation of documents.


Analysis of the existing sources of information

  • What have been, according to you, the main kinds of economic gains associated with the Do you know any national or international organization that could be an important source of information or research on the product considered and its markets ?
  • Do you know any national or international source of statistical data on the product considered and its markets ?
  • Do you know any article, document or research paper dealing with the product considered and its markets ?

Final question

Do you wish that the opinions expressed in your responses be directly attributed to you in the study that will be produced ?

Many thanks for your kind and crucial cooperation.

 

  1. For IP bodies and public administrations dealing with the protection of the geographical indication of the product surveyed ; Other qualified experts of the product surveyed and its markets, relating to products that are already the object of a GI protection in one form or another.

Background

This study is performed in the framework of the “Technical Assistance to the Integration to the Multilateral Trading System and Support to the Integrated Framework” Programme (9th EDF). The beneficiary countries are all ACP Countries.

It aims at enhancing the negotiating capacities of these countries in the current international negotiations on the protection of geographical indications (GIs) by generating empirical evidence at country and product level about the advantages, costs and difficulties associated with the implementation of a GI protection regime, as well as the conditions to be met for this regime to benefit the local producers and the country of origin at large.

In this context, the overall objective of this study is to generate empirical evidence, based on country/sub-regional and product case studies, regarding the benefits that African members of the ACP Group can obtain from enhanced multilateral Geographical Indication protection.

You have been identified as one of the key stakeholders and/or expert of the product selected for the conduct of this analysis in your country. Your opinion will be critical in determining the advantages, disadvantages and problems associated with the GI protection of this product for its producers and your country as a whole.

This questionnaire includes five parts which relate to :

The existing GI protection regimes in your country;

The economic impact of a GI protection;

The cost and the potential disadvantages of a GI protection;

The costs associated with the establishment and administration of a GI protection regime;

the existing sources of information.

It includes a total of 43 questions and the face-to-face interview agreed to complete it with you will last approximately 1 hour and a half.

Your responses will be used exclusively for the purpose of this study and your opinions will be only directly attributed to you if you so wish.

Name of the respondent:

Organisation:

Position:

Contact details:

The existing GI protection regime

  • What kinds of GI protection regimes do exist in your country (i.e. GI protection sui generis, individual trademarks, collective trademarks, others : please specify) ?
  • When was the GI sg regime established ?
  • What has been the reason for establishing this regime ?
  • Who was at the origin of this initiative ?
  • What have been the main stages in the implementation and development of this GI protection regime from its creation until now in terms of :
    - legal developments;
    - organization and management of the system;
    - number of products protected;
    - number of producers concerned;
    - values of production concerned;
    - values of export concerned.
  • Have other GI protection regimes been considered before choosing to develop this particular regime ?
  • Which were their main advantages ?
  • Which were their main disadvantages ?
  • Are there any specific conditions associated with the possibility to register a GI under the current regime (e.g. in terms of governance structure, socio-economic impact etc.)
  • Please indicate any publicly available document or information source, including websites, that could encompass further details about the GI protection regime in your country (legal basis, presentation of the GI regime, presentation of the institution(s) managing the GI protection, presentation of the procedures for applying etc.)

 

The economic impact of the GI protection regime

  • How many products do currently benefit from the GI sg protection ?
  • How has this number evolved since the introduction of the GI regime ?
  • How many producers are concerned by this GI protection ?
  • How has this number evolved since the introduction of the GI regime ?
  • What is the total number of persons employed by these producers ?
  • How has this number evolved since the introduction of the GI regime ?
  • What is the total value of the production of the products protected under this regime ?
  • How has this total value evolved since the introduction of the GI regime ?
  • What is the typical size distribution of the producers in terms of number of employees ?
  • How has this size distribution evolved since the introduction of the GI regime ?
  • Has a general impact on the prices of the protected products been witnessed after the introduction of the GI protection ? Please distinguish :
    - on the domestic market : price paid to the producer and consumer price.
    - on the export market : price paid to the producer and FOB value.
  • How has the domestic demand evolved in parallel ?
  • Has a general impact on the revenues of the producers been witnessed after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Has the share of exports in the total production evolved since the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What is the total value of the exports of the protected products ?
  • How has this value evolved since the introduction of the GI regime ?
  • What are the main export markets for the products concerned ?
  • How have these markets reacted in terms of sales volumes after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What evolutions in terms of consumer prices have been observed on these markets after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Have new main export markets appeared after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Have new intermediaries appeared in the value chains of the protected products after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Has there been a change in the stage of the value chain at which the products are exported after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Has there been any example of a downstream vertical integration after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • Has there been any example of an individual, a group or an institution, undertaking a downstream activity in the country after the introduction of the GI protection ?
  • What have been, according to you, the main kinds of economic gains associated with the introduction of the GI protection ?
    - for the producers;
    - for the domestic consumers;
    - for transformers;
    - for distributors;
    - for other intermediaries (please specify);
    - for consumers abroad.
  • Please rate the following potential gains and advantages associated with the GI protection as : inexistent/low/average/high/very high
    - widespread access of the producers to the protection;
    - enhancement of the quality level of the product;
    - improvements in the production process;
    - marketing and branding capacity building and spreading;
    - better cooperation between producers;
    - access to new financial resources;
    - prevention of delocalisation;
    - prevention of piracy of traditional knowledge;
    - possible combination of the GI protection with other market incentives (e.g. organic certification);
    - signal to consumers about the reputation and quality of the product;
    - increase in the producers’ price;
    - growth on existing markets;
    - access to new markets;
    - rural development;
    - protection of ecosystems and landscapes.


The cost and potential disadvantages of  GI protection

  • What disadvantages or problems have appeared to be attached to the GI protection of the products concerned ?
  • Please rate the following potential disadvantages and problems as : non-existent/rare/ occasional/frequent/very frequent
    - difficulty attached to the formalisation of the specific biological or cultural specificity of the product;
    - legal and administrative complexity related to the development of a GI;
    - lack of financial and human resources to engage in a GI development;
    - difficulties associated with the implementation and management of an appropriate governance structure of the GI;
    - inability of the GI protection to meaningfully help small producers;
    - marginalisation of other important products and productions in the region;
    - appropriation of the economic value created by the GI protection by the transformers and distributors;
    - generation of economic exclusion on the supply side : exclusion of producers by the definition of the characteristics of the product or by the requirements in terms of labelling, safety and traceability;
    - generation of economic exclusion on the demand side : denial of access to nutritious and/or traditional goods by local and low-income populations;
    - conflicts on the ownership of the GI, including between the national authorities and the local populations or authorities;
    - risks on biodiversity conservation;
    - risk of denaturing the local culture.
  • Please give an as accurate as possible evaluation of the following costs relating to the development, registration and enforcement of a GI protection :
    - Application fees;
    - Search fees;
    - Advertisement fees;
    - Publication fees;
    - Costs in opposition proceedings;
    - Litigation costs;
    - Renewal fees, if any;
    - Fees for change of address or name;
    - Fees in case of assignment;
    - Fees for correction of clerical or other errors;
    - Charges for amendment to application or registration;
    - Attorney’s fees for preparation and legalisation of documents.
  • The costs associated with the establishment and administration of a GI protection regime
  • Please give an as accurate as possible evaluation of the following costs relating to the establishment and administration of a GI regime :
    - number of employees required by level of qualification;
    - annual corresponding wages and salaries;
    - office space required;
    - annual corresponding price of office accommodation;
    - IT equipment required;
    - annual corresponding IT expenses;
    - other charges (please specify);
    - annual corresponding expenses.


Analysis of the existing sources of information

  • Do you know any national or international organization that could be an important source of information or research on the product considered and its markets?
  • Do you know any national or international source of statistical data on the product considered and its markets?
  • Do you know any article, document or research paper dealing with the product considered and its markets?

Final question

Do you wish that the opinions expressed in your responses be directly attributed to you in the study that will be produced?

Many thanks for your kind and crucial cooperation.

  1. Questionnaire for: Organisations of producers, individual producers, processors, distributors and exporters of the product surveyed ; Lawyers and other qualified experts of the product surveyed and its markets, relating to products that are not currently covered by any kind of GI protection but for which a GI protection has been considered as being of potential interest.

Background

This study is performed in the framework of EU assistance.

The overall objective of this study is hence to generate empirical evidence, based on country/sub-regional and product case studies, regarding the benefits that African members of the ACP Group can obtain from enhanced multilateral Geographical Indication protection.

You have been identified as one of the key stakeholders and/or expert of the product selected for the conduct of this analysis in your country. Your opinion will be critical in determining the potential interest of a GI protection of this product for its producers and your country as a whole.

This questionnaire includes seven parts which relate to :

  • The definition of the product;
  • the analysis of the competition structure;
  • the analysis of the market structure;
  • the analysis of the value chain ;
  • the potential advantages, disadvantages and problems attached to a GI protection ;
  • the other potential tools of protection and their respective advantages and disadvantages ;
  • the existing sources of information.

It includes a total of 55 questions and the face-to-face interview agreed to complete it with you will last about 2 hours.

Your responses will be used exclusively for the purpose of the study produced and your opinions will be only directly attributed to you if you so wish.

Name of the respondent:

Organisation:

Position:

Contact details:


Definition of the product and analysis of its reputation on its main export markets

  • GIs protect those products in which the quality of products is attributable to their place of production. For example because of the unique climate or local knowledge where they are produced. Are involved in the production of any products of this kind?
  • What products do you produce which are influenced by climate or other natural characteristics and/or process which is related to their geographical origin?
  • What products do you produce which are influenced by local knowledge which is related to their geographical origin ?
  • How would you define the geographical area to which this product is associated ?
  • What are the main export markets for the product ?
  • What is, in your opinion, the current stage of reputation of the product in its main export markets (please give an answer for each of the main export markets identified) ?

    Please add any comment you would like to include with regard to the definition of the product and its markets

Analysis of the competition structure

  • How many producers are there currently active in the production of the considered product ?
  • What is the typical size of a producer in terms of number of employees ?
  • What is the maximum/minimum size observed among the producers in terms of number of employees ?
  • What is approximately the distribution of the producers between these two extremes ?
  • Among them, how many producers can be considered as dominant producers ?
  • What are approximately their global/individual share of the total production ?
  • Are there any significant differences among the producers with regard to their selling prices ?
  • Is there any existing association or organization of producers ?
  • Has there already been any discussion between producers about the opportunity to protect the considered product under a GI regime ?
  • Has there already been any individual initiative taken by any of the producers to look for any kind of GI protection for his product ?

Analysis of the market structure

Domestic Market

  • What is the average producer price of the product for the domestic market ?
  • What is the average consumer price of the product on the domestic market ?
  • What is the typical price-elasticity of the product on the domestic market ?

Export Markets

  • What share of the production is exported ?
  • What is the total value of the exports ?
  • Is there any international spot market for the product ?
  • Is there any international futures market for the product ?
  • What is the average producer price of the product for export (Ex Works) ?
  • Do you know what kind of GI protection, if any, exists on the main export markets as identified?
  • Do you have an idea of the sales volumes on each of these export markets ?
  • What could be, in your opinion, the impact of a GI protection on the sales volumes on each of these export markets ?
    Please specify : very little (less than 10 % of additional market), little (11-25%), average (26-60%), strong (61-100%), very strong (more than 100%).
  • Do you know who are the main distributors of the product on each export market ?
  • What are the market shares of the dominant distributors on each of these export markets ?
  • Do you know what is the consumer price range of the product on each of the export markets ?
  • Are there any significant prices variations between the major distributors ?
  • Are there any significant prices variations over a period of one year ?
  • On each of these markets, what is the trend of the price over a period of :
    - 1 year
    - 5 years
    - 10 years
  • Do you have an idea of the typical price-elasticity of the product on each of these export markets ?
  • Are there any substitutable products to the product considered ?
  • What is the size of the global market for the whole set of substitutable products ?
  • What is the size of the market for the whole set of substitutable products on each of the main export markets of the considered product ?
  • Are any of these substitutable products protected by any kind of GI protection ?
  • If yes, does it concern :
               - a few susbstitutable products ?
               - many susbstitutable products ?
               - most or all susbstitutable products ?

Analysis of the value chain

  • Who are the intermediaries between the producer and the final consumer (abroad) of the product considered ?
  • What is the typical price of the product at each stage of the value chain ?
  • What is the level of competition at each stage of the value chain ?
    No competition : full monopoly
    Little competition : oligopoly (please specify the number of suppliers)
    Effective competition
    Fierce competition : atomicity of the supply
  • At what stage of the value chain is the product exported ?
  • Would any producer be able to consider a downstream vertical integration ?
  • Would any other individual, group or institution be capable of developing a downstream activity in the country ?
  • Are there any cases of vertical integration in the value chain ?
  • Are there any cases of vertical cooperation in the value chain ?
  • The potential advantages, disadvantages and problems attached to a GI protection
  • What are the potential advantages of a specific GI protection of the product ?
  • Please rate the following potential advantages as : inexistent/low/average/high/very high
    - widespread access of the producers to the protection;
    - enhancement of the quality level of the product;
    - improvement in the production process;
    - marketing and branding capacity building and spreading;
    - better cooperation between producers;
    - access to new financial resources;
    - prevention of delocalisation;
    - prevention of piracy of traditional knowledge;
    - possible combination of the GI protection with other market incentives (e.g. organic certification);
    - signal to consumers about the reputation and quality of the product;
    - possibility to increase the producer’s price;
    - development on existing markets;
    - access to new markets;
    - rural development;
    - protection of ecosystems and landscapes.

What are the potential disadvantages or pro

  • What are the potential disadvantages or problems attached to a specific GI protection of the product ?
  • Please rate the following potential disadvantages and problems as : inexistent/low/ average/high/very high
    - difficulty attached to the formalisation of the specific biological or cultural specificity of the product;
    - legal and administrative complexity related to the development of a GI;
    - lack of financial and human resources to engage in a GI development;
    - difficulties associated with the implementation and management of an appropriate governance structure of the GI;
    - inability of the GI protection to meaningfully help small producers;
    - marginalisation of other important products and productions in the region;
    - risk of appropriation of the economic value created by the GI protection by the transformers and distributors;
    - generation of economic exclusion on the supply side : exclusion of producers by the definition of the characteristics of the product or by the requirements in terms of labelling, safety and traceability;
    - generation of economic exclusion on the demand side : denial of access to nutritious and/or traditional goods by local and low-income populations;
    - possible conflicts on the ownership of the GI, including between the national authorities and the local populations or authorities;
    - risks on biodiversity conservation;
    - risk of denaturing the local culture.

The other potential tools of protection and their respective advantages and disadvantages

What are the other tools that could be used with a view to protecting the geographical indication of the product (e.g. trademarks, collective trademarks, other) ?

What are the main advantages, disadvantages and problems attached to each of these other tools ?

Analysis of the existing sources of information

Do you know any national or international organization that could be an important source of information or research on the product considered and its markets?

Do you know any national or international source of statistical data on the product considered and its markets?

Do you know any article, document or research paper dealing with the product considered and its markets?

Final question: do you wish that the opinions expressed in your responses be directly attributed to you in the study that will be produced ?

Many thanks for your kind and crucial cooperation.


Annex 3          Persons Met

 

Cameroon

Institution

Name

Function

Contact

African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI)

Mr. Paulin Edou Edou

Director General

paulindoudou@yahoo.fr

African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI)

Mr. Cece Hehe Kaamon

Head of Geographical Indications

hkaamon@yahoo.fr

Ministry of Industry, Mines and Technological Development

Directorate of Technological Development and Industrial Property

M. Richard Elek

Deputy Director of Industrial Property

Elerich2007@yahoo.fr

Alphinoor & Co

Patent Attorneys

OAPI certified

Ms. Jacqueline adiabatic

Patent Attorney

Shareholder

alphinoor@hotmail.com

Center for International Migration

Dr. Moses Tita Njoya

Beekeeping Expert

njoyamoses@yahoo.com

HONCO (Northwest Bee farmers Honey Cooperative)

Mr Constantin Jumbam

Shareholder

 

ANCO

NGO for Apiculture and Nature Conservation

 

Secretary General

 

 

 


Gabon

Institution

Name

Function

Contact

Institution

Name

Function

Contact

 Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry

 Martin Mabala

 Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry

 

 Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry

 Mr. Bertin Nguema Oyono

 Diplomatic adviser, in charge of economic issues and relations with social partners with the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry

 bertinnguema @ yahoo . com

 Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry

 Sylvain Nze Nguema

 Director, Management and Sustainable Development

 Adouma.2008 @ gmail.com

 Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry

 Mr. Nsitou Mabiala

 Director of Industry Development and Mapping

 nmabio@yahoo.fr

 Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry

 Ms. Felina Mabiala

 Director of Production

 Felina_mabialas@yahoo.fr

 Ministry of Economy, Trade, Industry and Tourism

 Jean-Marie Ntoutoume Essone

 Director General

 ntoutoumeessone @ yahoo . com

 Centre for Industrial Property in Gabon

 Mr. Chamba Bondji

 Deputy General Manager

 

 (CEPIG)

 Ms. Metulla Medza

 Head of Geographical Indications

 

 Ministry of Economy, Trade, Industry and Tourism

 Ms. Celestine Ntsame Okwo

 Regional Delegate for Africa

 nocmc @ yahoo . com

 Centre for Industrial Property in Gabon

 Mr. Joseph Mayombo

 Responsible for Communication

 jmayombo @ wwfcarpo . org

 (CEPIG)

 Gerard Moss

 Secretary General

 Secretaire.general UFIGA @ . com

 Ministry of Economy, Trade, Industry and Tourism

 Ginette Lalet

 Commercial Director

 Ginette.lalet @ SNBG -gabon.com

 Centre for Industrial Property in Gabon

 Mr. Bruno Lardit

 Director of Operations

 Lardit @ group -rougier.com

 (CEPIG)

 Mr. C. Maurus  Decurtins

 Director General

 Maurus.c Decurtins @ . com

 International Tropical Timber Organization

 Mr. Gerome Tokpa

 Certification Manager

 Gerome.tokpa preciouswoods @ . com

 WWF

 Mr. Abar

 Director General

 

 Union of Forest Industrialists and Forest Management Operators of Gabon

 Mr. Miko

 Financial Officer

 

 (UFIGA)

 Mr. Simba

 Responsible sector "Patents and Trademarks"

 


Ghana

Institution

Name

Function

Contact

Mrs Grace Issahaque

Principal State Attorney

 

graceissahaque@hotmail.com

Mr. Samuel Quarshie Anum

Local Coordinator

Swiss/Ghana Intellectual Property Project

 

Mr. K. AOhene-Obeng

Deputy Registrar General

 

Registrar General’s Department

 

Dr. K Opoku Ameyaw

 Principal Research Officer

Cocoa Research Institute

kameyaw@yahoo.co.uk , phone 233-244- 531950

Mr John Defor

Policy Officer

Association of Ghana Industries

jonndee@hotmail.com,

phone 233-243 -645088.

Mr  Sal .D. Amagavie

Member

Ghana Chamber of Commerce

sdamagavie@yahoo.com, phone 233-244-341950

Mr Gerald Nyarko Mensah

 

Ghana Export Promotion  Center

gepcnyarkomen@yahoo.com, phone 233-244-818734

Dr. Hans Adu Dapaah

Director/Chief Research Scientist

Crops Research Institute, Kumasi

hadapaah@yahoo.com, hadapaah@cropsresearch.org,

Mr Kwame Fosu

Director Legal

Ministry of Trade & Industry

fosu02@yahoo.com,

Mr Addai

Group Director

Ministry of Food and Agriculture

gpdirector@yahoo.com

Mrs Sophia Amissah- Laryea

Senior associate

 Lexconsult,  (Trademark & Patent Agents)

polipapa@yahoo.com.

 

Mrs. Bridget Kyerematen-Darko

Executive Director

Aid To Artisans Ghana

 

Mr David Ousu-Mensa

Programme Specialist

Aid to Artisans Ghana

 

 


Kenya

Name

Designation

Institution

Contact details

 

John Onyango

Acting Managing Director

Kenya Industrial Property Institute

Popo Road, Nairobi South “C”

P.O.box: 51648-00200, Nairobi

Tel: +254206002210

Fax: + 254206006312

Email:kipikenya@gmail.com

 

Mboi E. Misati

Senior Patent Examiner

Kenya Industrial Property Institute

Popo Road, Nairobi South “C”

P.O.box: 51648-00200, Nairobi

Tel: +254206002210

Fax: + 254206006312

Cel:+254710891918

Email:misati.mboi@yahoo.com

 

Sylvance A. Sange

Principal Examiner

Kenya Industrial Property Institute

Popo Road, Nairobi South “C”

P.O.box: 51648-00200, Nairobi

Tel: +254206002210

Fax: + 254206006312

Email:sangesy@yahoo.com

 

Joshua Okwako

Trademark Assistant

Kenya Industrial Property Institute

Popo Road, Nairobi South “C”

P.O.box: 51648-00200, Nairobi

Tel: +254206002210

Fax: + 254206006312

Cel:0733908954

Email:Jokwako@kip.go.ke

 

Elvine Apiyo

Legal officer

Kenya Industrial Property Institute

Popo Road, Nairobi South “C”

P.o.box: 51648-00200, Nairobi

Tel: +254206002210

Fax: + 254206006312

Cel:+254723774734

Email:eberyl@kip.go.ke

 

Geoffrey M. Ramba

Senior Trademark Officer

Kenya Industrial Property Institute

Popo Road, Nairobi South “C”

P.o.box: 51648-00200, Nairobi

Tel: +254206002210

Fax: + 254206006312

Email:gmrmbal@kip.go.ke

 

Eunice Njuguna

Chief legal Officer

Kenya Industrial Property Institute

Popo Road, Nairobi South “C”

P.o.box: 51648-00200, Nairobi

Tel: +254206002210

Fax: + 254206006312

Cell: +254736002020

Email:eunicenl@kip.go.ke

 

Charles

N. Bariti

Chief Information & Documentation

Officer

Kenya Industrial Property Institute

Popo Road, Nairobi South “C”

P.o.box: 51648-00200, Nairobi

Tel: +254206002210

Fax: + 254206006312

 

Simon Kibet Kogo

Head –Seed Certification & Plant Variety Protection

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service

Olooula ridge-karen

P.o.box:49592,00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: 2540203536171

Fax: 2540203536175

Mobile: 0722516221

Email: skibet@kephis.org

 

Patrick Malauku

 

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service

Olooula ridge-karen

P.O.box:49592,00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: 2540203536171

Fax: 2540203536175

Email: pmaluku@kephis.org

 

Mzee Mohamed

 

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service

Olooula ridge-karen

P.O.box:49592,00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: 2540203536171

Fax: 2540203536175

Email: onsandij@kephis.org

 

J.K Muchae

Attorney

& Tea Farmer

J.K & Company Advocates

Elgon Court, Flat No.D 2

Ralph Bunche road

Tel: 254-20-2712769

Fax: 254-20—27127765

Cel: 0733-796335

P.O.box 68664 (00200) Nairobi- Kenya

email: muchae@wananchi.com

 

Bernard Gichovi

Coffee Advisor officer for central region/ Vice president for sub-Saharan African origin

Coffee Board Kenya/ Origin

Email:bengichori@ymail.com

 

Anthony Wanaina

Head of Marketing & Business Development

Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited

KTDA Farmers Building, Moi Ave.

P.O.box: 30214 GPO 00100 Nairobi

Tel: + 254 20 3227000

Fax: +2540202210636

Mobile; 0722952407

Email: awainana@ktdateas.com

 

Vincent Mwingirwa

Quality Assurance & new Products Development Manager

Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited

KTDA Farmers Building, Moi Ave.

P.O.box: 30214 GPO 00100 Nairobi

Tel: + 254 20 221441

Fax: +2540202210636

Mobile; 0722303267

Email: vmwingirwa@ktdateas.com

 

David B. Opijah

Adocate

Swanya & Swanya Advocates

Agip House, 6th floor

Entrance B, Suite 8

Haileselassie Avenue

P.O.box: 50557-00200

Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: + 254202218195

Fax: +254202230974

Cell: 0723720348

Email: swanyaadvocates@gmail.com

Prof. Otieno Odek

Dean

School of Law

University of Nairobi

P.O. box 30197 Nairobi-00100

Tel: 254-721-602529

Email: otienoodek@yahoo.com

Wekesa C. Khisa

 

Trade & Promotion Executive

The Tea Board of Kenya

Tea Board House

Naivashs Rd. off Ngong Rd.

P.O.box/; 20064-00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel; +254 203872421

Fax: +254203862120

Mobile: +2540722892747

Email: cwekesa@teaboard.or.ke

                 

 


Mauritius

Name

Designation

Institution

Contact details

 

Assad Bhuglah

Director,

Trade Policy Unit,

International Trade Division

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration & International Trade

 

3rd Floor, Fooks House, 24, Bourbon Street, Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius

Tel: (230) 213 8236

Fax : (230) 213 8273

E-mail: directortrade@yahoo.com

 

Ranjive Beergaunot

Acting Controller

Industrial Property Office

7th Floor Moorgate House

Sir William Newton Street, Port Louis

Tel. (230) 208 5714

Fax (230) 210 9702

Email. rbeergaunot@mail.gov.mu

 

Emmanuel Chesami Mbah

Commonwealth Trade Expert, international Trade & Policy Management Consultant

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

3rd Floor, Fooks House, 24, Bourbon Street, Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius

Tel. (230) 2138239, Mob: (230) 7467314

E-mail:emchesami@gmail.com

 

Anjana khemraz

Analyst, Legal & Business Facilitation Division

Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry

3 Royal Street Port Louis Mauritius

Tel- (230) 2083301, Fax-(230) 208 0076, e-mail-akhernraz@mcci.intnet.mu

 

Laurent Law

Legal and International Affairs

Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture

Plantation House

Port-Louis

Tel: (230) 208 0747 / 208 0812

Fax : (230) 208 1269 / 213 6474

Email : laurent.law@intnet.mu

 

Jean Noel Humbert

Chief Executive Officer

Mauritius Sugar Syndicate

Plantation House

Port-Louis

Tel: (230) 210 7100

Fax: (230) 211 0855

Email: kmanna@mail.gov.mu

 

Anjana Khemraz

Analyst, legal and business facilitation division

Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry

3 Royal street

Port-Louis

Tel: (230) 212 0814

Fax : (230) 208 8757

Email : MSSyndicate@mss.intnet.mu

 

Luc Sollier-Bresset

Centre Européen d’Enterprise et d’Innovation, (CEEI)

Director-General

20, rue Benoît Lauras, 4200 Saint Etienne

Tel +33 47791 0191

Email lsb@ceeiloire.org

c/o Ministry of Finance and Economic Empowerment (Decentralized Cooperation Program)

Dev Chamroo

Board of Investment

Director, Planning & Policy

10th Floor, One Cathedral Square Building, 16 Jules Koenig Street, Port Louis

Tel. (230) 203 3871

Fax-(230) 208 2924

Email;- dchamroo@investmaurius.com

Hemraj Pallut

Board of Investment

Manager, Agri-business, Energy & Environment

10th Floor, One Cathedral Square Building, 16 Jules Koenig Street, Port Louis

Tel. (230) 203 3800

Fax-(230) 208 2924

Email;- pallut@investmaurius.com

Ashween K.Bunwaree

Enterprise Mauritius

Sector Manager

7th Floor, St. James Court

St Denis Street, Port Louis

Tel- (230)212 9760/2137760

Fax- (230) 2129767

Mob- (230)7937077

E-mail-asweenbunwaree@em.imtnet.mu

 

Kalyanee MANNA

Industrial Analyst

Ministry of Industry, Science & Research

6th Floor, Air Mauritus Building, Pr.John Kennedy St, Port-Louis

Tel-(230) 2107100

Fax- (230) 2110855

Email:kmanna@mail.gov.mu

Dr.Arjoon SUDDHOO

Mauritius Research Council

Executive Director

La Maison de Carne, Royal Road, Rose Hill

Tel: (230)4651085

Fax: (230)4651239

Email:asuddhoo@mrc.intnet.mu

Dr.Nitin Kumar GOAPAUL

Mauritius Research Council

Research Coordinator

La Maison de Carne, Royal Road, Rose Hill

Tel: (230)4651235

Fax: (230)4651239

Email:nitingopaul@mrc.intnet.mu

Nitin Chikhuri

Senior Agricultural Planning Officer, APAU

Ministry of Agro Industry, Food Production and Security

Sterling House, Lislet Geoffroy street, Port-Louis

Tel: (230) 2115623

Email: apau@ymail.com

Natasha Ponen

Trade Policy Unit, International Trade Division

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration & International Trade

 

3rd Floor, Fooks House, 24, Bourbon Street, Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius

Tel: (230) 213 82

Fax : (230) 212 6368

Email:nponen@mail.gov.mu

 

Roomesh BEEHARRY

Scientific Officer

Ministry of Agro Industry, Food Production and Security

Agricultural Services

Reduit

Tel: (230) 464 0114

Email: robeeharry@mail.gov.mu

Laurent Law Toon FONG

Legal & International Affairs

Mauritius Chamber of Agriculure

Plantation House

Place d’Armes, Port Louis

Tel-(230)2080747/2080812

Fax-(230) 208 1269/2136474

E-mail-laurent.law@intnet.mu

Jocelyn KWOK

General Secretary

Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture

Plantation House

Place d’Armes, Port Louis

Tel-(230)2080747/2113031

Fax-(230) 208 1269/2136474

E-mail-mca312@intnet.mu

Raifa BUNDHUN

Secretary General

Association of Horticulture Producers & Exporters

PO Box 1197 Port Louis

Mahatama Ghandi Avenue, Moka

Tel: (230)4334906

Fax: (230) 433 4862

Email: apexhom@intnet.mu

Nitin K. CHINTIN

Senior Agriculture Planning Officer

Minstry of Agro Industry

apan@gmail.com

cknitin@yahoo.com

Dr Nirmala Devi Ramburn

Principal Research Scientist

Agricultural Research & Extension Unit, Ministry of Agriculture

:nirmala.ramburn@gmail.com

Vivek Lochun

Managing Director

 

Secretary General

Lochun Agro Products

Litchi du Paradis Ile Maurice Cooperative Society Limited

 

               

 


Senegal

Institution

Nom

Fonction

Coordonnées

ASPIT
Agence Sénégalaise pour la Propriété Industrielle et l’Innovation Technologique (Ministère des Mines, de l’Industrie, de la Transformation Alimentaire des Produits Agricoles et des PME)

M. Abdourahmane Fady Diallo

Directeur Technique

asit@orange.sn

ITA
Institut de Technologie Alimentaire

Dr Ababacar Ndoye

Directeur Général

Ababacar.ndoye@gmail.com

ITA
Institut de Technologie Alimentaire

Dr Amadou Kane

Directeur de la Recherche et du Développement – Chef de la Division Contrôle de Qualité

Amadoukane1@yahoo.fr

Direction de l’Industrie
Ministère des Mines, de l’Industrie, de l’Agro Industrie et des PME

M. Mamadou Syll Kebe

Ingénieur – Chef de Division

syllkebe@yahoo.fr

Centre de Recherche Océanographique
ISRA
Ministère de l’Agriculture

Mr Mustapha Deme

Coordinateur de programme de recherche

Mustapha.deme@gmail.com

Direction de Joal
Ministère de la Pêche

M. Faye

Contrôleur des Pêches

 

Comité des Pêches de Joal

M. Lamine N’Diaye

Président

 

Comité des Pêches de Joal

M. Abou Mohammed Fall

Comptable – Responsible de gestion

 

 

M. Dethie Seck

Pêcheur professionnel à Joal spécialisé dans la pêche au cymbium

 

 

 

Transformatrice à Joal-Elkhoum

 

 

M. Mamadou Dieng

Mareyeur à Joal

 

Société Elim Pêches

M. Ernest Mohammed Diam

Responsable de la Qualité et du Suivi des process

 

Société Elim Pêches

M. Park

Directeur de la Production

 

 


Nigeria

Name

Designation

Institution

Contact details

A.M Lawal

Director

Nigerian Export Promotion Council,

40 Blantyre St. Wuse II PMB 133, Garki-Abuja aliyulion56@yahoo.com/enquiries@nepc.gov.ng

Paul B. Ajayi

Packaging & Labeling Specialist

Nigerian Export Promotion Council,

b.ajayi@nepc.ng.com

Engr. Umar B. Bindir

Director General/CEO

National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion

No. 4 Blantyre Street, Wuse II, PMB 5074 Wuse Nigeria email: ubindir@yahoo.com

Engr. Okon E. Essien

Executive Chairman

Nigeria Association of Inventors

No. 4 Inalegwu, Adoka St. Suite 01, Jikwoyi P.O. Box 239 Old Karu FCT Abuja Nigeria, email okon_essien@yahoo.com/gabentlt@yahoo.com

Dr. Bankole Sodipo

Managing Partner

Chief G.O. Sodipo & Co. Barristers & Solicitors

27/29 King George V Road Onika, Lagos, Nigeria. P.O. Box 3134, Marina, Lagos. Email b.sodipo@gosodipo.com

Shafiu Adamu Yauri

Principal Assistant Registrar

Trademarks, Patent and Designs Registry- Federal Ministry of Commerce & Industry

Old Federal Secretariat, Area 1, P.M.B 88 Garki- Abuja email: sayauri@yahoo.com.

             

 


Rwanda

Name

Designation

Institution

Contact details

Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock

Mr. Raphael Rurangwa

Director General of Planning

 

Department of Trade and Industry

John Mwesige

Trade Negotiator

Mwesigejohn10@yahoo.co.uk

Department of Trade and Industry

Miss Peace Baseme

Trade Negotiator

 

OCIR-Café 

Mr. Pontian Munyanicera

Head of Planning

+250 788 30 37 09

OCIR-Café 

Maurice Habyambere

Head of Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

 

Rwanda Development Board (RDB)

Louise Kanyonga

Registrar General

 

 

Louise.kanyonga @ rdb.rw

Rwanda Development Board (RDB)

Yves Sangano

Senior Registration Officer

 

Rwanda Development Board (RDB)

Mr. Blaise Ruhima Mbaraga

Intellectual Property Officer

rhblaise@rwandainvest.com

Rwanda Development Board (RDB)

Mr. Désiré Makuza

Intellectual Property Officer

 

Coffee of Rwanda Cooperatives Federation

Gilbert Manigabe

President

rccfes@yahoo.fr

Coffee of Rwanda Cooperatives Federation

Bernard Bariyanga

Executive Secretary

bbariyanga@yahoo.com

ISAR

Dr. Celestine M. Gatarayiha

Head of Research Program on Coffee

 

gatarayiha@hotmail.com

 

         

 


Tanzania

 

Name

Designation

Institution

Contact details

 

Mohamed M. Taimur

Director

Zanzibar Spices Producers Ltd (ZASPO)

P.O.box 76, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Email:zaspo_zanz@yahoo.com

Cell:+ 255777476644/0655476644

 

Tafia Masheko Ali

Director of Trade

Ministry of Trade, Industry & Marketing

Tel: 077393236

Email:taifamasheko@yahoo.com

 

Salmin Sherif Khatits

Director of Planning, Policy & Research

Ministry of Trade, Industry & Marketing

Tel: 0776420627

Email:salmin29@yahoo.com

 

Ali H. Vuai

Executive Secretary

Zanzibar Business Council

Tel: 0773736386

Email:alihvuai@yahoo.com, zbc_zanzibar@hotmail.com

 

Mohammed H. Rajab

Chief Government Statistician

Office of Chief Government Statistician

P.O.box-2321, Zanzibar-Tanzania

Tel: +255242231869

Fax-+255242231742

Email-zansta@zanlink.go.tz

 

Gharib Seif Abdi

Planning officer

Ministry of Agriculture

Email:abidg_1999@yahoo.com

 

Mohammed Mbuarak

Chief Planning Officer

Ministry of Agriculture

Email:makame77@yahoo.com

 

Nassor S.Mkarafu

Planning Officer

Ministry of Agriculture

nmkarafu@yahoo.co.uk

 

Mzee Mohamed

Planning Officer

Ministry of Agriculture

mzeemohammed@hotmail.com

 

Asha Hassan Nassor

Marketing Officer

SAM Essential Oils & Local Foods

P.o.box 1889, Mkele, Zanzibar- Tanzania

Mobile:+255773911009

Email:samessoilf@ymail.com

 

Mwito Mgeni

Commissioner of Economy

Ministry of finance

Tel: + 255777417048

Email: mmgeni@hotmail.com

 

Ali Aboud Mzee

Vice President

Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture

Ist floor , room no.7, ZSTC investment Building

p.o.box 2431, Malawi Road Kinazini Unguja, Zanzibar

Email: alimzee@hotmail.com

 

Moeni Hassan

Member

Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture

+0773186760

 

 

Asaa  A. Rashid

Ministry Of Justice And Constitutional’s Affairs

Principal Secretary

0777 471947

 

Abdulla W. Ramadhan

Registrar General’s Office

Registrar General

0777 415031

 

Khamis J. Mwalim

Registrar Geeneral’s Office

Head Of Ip Section

0777 462800

 

Ramadhan Kombo Feruzi

Essential Oil Distillery

Manager

0777 428442

 

Khalifa A. Khalifa

Clove Stem Distillery

Accountant

0777 477608

 

Habib A. Moh’d

Clove Stem Distillery

Plant Engineer

0777 431734

 

Ali Moh’d Ibrahim

Clove Stem Distillery

Head Of Department

0777 039076

 

Aboubakar M. Ali

Zanzibar Clove Producers Organisation

Executive Director

0777 499234

 

Talib Ali Rajab

Zanzibar Clove Producers Organisation

Chairman

0777 420014

 

Asha Salim Khamis

Zanzibar Clove Producers Organisation

Accountant

0774 226322

 

Bakia A. Moh’d

Zanzibar Clove Producers Organisation

Staff

0778 461845

 

Moh’d Mbarouk Said

Zanzibar Clove Producers Organisation

Chairman

Chakecheke

District

O777 425500

 

Kassim Khamis

Zanzibar Clove Producers Organisation

Chairman

District Area

0777 432726

 

Bakar Mshamata Bakar

Pemba Hygenic Fruits And Spices

Secretary

0777 428493

 

Khamis Mshamata Bakar

Pemba Hygienic Fruits And Spices

Member

0773 730758

 

Mkubwa Shaib

Pemba Hygienic Fruits And Spices

Member

0773 180953

 

Julian  B. Raphael

Ministry of Trade, Industry And Marketing

Principal Secretary

0713 259105

 

Rashid A. Salim

Ministry of Trade, Industry And Marketing

Deputy Principal Secretary

0777 428892

 

Hussein M. Khatib

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Marketing

Senior Officer

0777 476196

 

Suleiman J. Jongo

Zanzibar State Trade Cooperation

Manager

0777 417999

 

Dkt. Moh’d Hafidh Khalfan

Zanzibar Business and Academic Consultance (Zabacco)

Business Consultant

0777 414187

 

Affan O. Maalim

Ministry of Agriculture

Principal Secretary

0777 420186

 

Juma Ali Juma

Ministry of Agriculture

Deputy Principal Secretary

0777 414574

 

Shaaban  S. Jabir

Ministry of Agriculture (Livestock)

Executive Director

0777 476189

 

Khatib Juma Khatib

Ministry of Agriculture (Kizimbani Research Station)

Chief Research Officer

0777 416497

 

Salum Rehani Mwinyi

Ministry of Agriculture (Kizimbani Research Station)

Farm Manager

0772 817777

 

Makame Mbaraka

Ministry of Agriculture

 

Executive Director

(Policies & Plannings)

0777 506585

Zainab S. Abdallah

Ministry Of Agriculture

 

Head Of Plant Protection Department

0777 432523

 

Othman Moh’d Ahmed

Ministry Of Agriculture

Registrar

0777 427384

 

Ahmed Moh’d Haji

Ministry Of Agriculture

(Plant Protection Department)

Researcher

(Research Section)

0777 460824

 

Yussuf K. Juma

Commission Of Agriculture

Seed Production

0777 868625

 

Moh’d Fakih

Zanzibar Social Security Fund

Legal Officer

0713 061865

 

Khamis M. Omar

Ministry Of Finance And Economic Affairs

Principal Secretary

0777 435369

 

Mgeni H. Nassor

Sam Essential Oil

Member

0773 186720

 

Asha Hassan

Sam Essential Oil

Member

0773 911009

 

Moh’d M. Taimour

Zanzibar Spice Producers Organization

Director

0777 476644

 

Mgeni Rajab

Zanzibar Bookeeping Association (Zaba)

Director

0777 854571

 

 

Iddi Othman Idd

Zanzibar National Chamber Of Commerce, Industrial And Agriculture

Membership Services Manager

 

0777418205

 

Zubeir J. Khamis

    Zanzibar Exporters Association  (Zexa)

Member

0777 802763

 

Hamad Kh. Said

Zanzibar Business And Academic Consultance (Zabaco)

Member

0777 430694

 

Husna Ahmed Moh’d

Zanzibar National Chamber Of Commerce, Industrial And Agriculture

Member

0773 6409003

 

Amour H. Bakar

Office of Chief Government Statistician-Zanzibar

Head Of Economic Statistics Section

0777 419467

                   

 

 


Annex 4          Case Studies

Cameroon: The case of Oku white honey

Product registration and protection of geographical indications falls directly under the African Intellectual Property Organisation- OAPI, based in Yaoundé, responsible for these issues on behalf all its Member States, including Cameroon. However, it should be noted, that to date the OAPI is competent only in principle, as until now no Cameroonian product, or of any other member of the OAPI, has been granted protection of geographical indication.

The OAPI has created national liaison structures in its Member States; a preliminary investigation of the approach to protection of geographical indications could be developed through consultation with these national representatives. The national liaison structure representing Cameroon is the Directorate of Technology Development and Intellectual Property of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Technological Development.

For Cameroon, as for most Member States of the OAPI, the legal framework for the protection of geographical indication is laid out in Annex VI of the Bangui Agreement establishing an African Organization of Intellectual Property; See Annex VI, which focuses on geographical indications, but has not been transposed into national law. Perhaps the newly created National Committee on Geographical Indications could eventually be tasked with the development of a specific legal framework for Cameroon, on the basis of this Annex.

It is worth noting that natural products may actually be granted protection of geographical indication under the Bangui Agreement, which is not the case in other legal systems.

For over ten years, the OAPI has been leading a policy of actively promoting geographical indication protection within its sixteen Member States, and has ambitious goals in this area.  This zeal has recently resulted in the implementation of a pilot study, aiming to identify eligible products for protection within three of its Member States . Oku white honey is one of the two Cameroonian products identified in this study.

 According to Mr. Edou Edou, OAPI Director General, the implementation of geographical indication protection in OAPI Member States is now entering the operational phase.  As a result, one of the two (i.e. Oku white honey and Penja white pepper) Cameroon products identified, should be awarded GI protection within 2011.  Specifications are being developed for both products by a National Committee consisting of competent national authorities and representatives of the producers concerned.  This Committee is tasked in a  broader sense with the development of the institutional and legal framework for geographical indication protection of the products.

The establishment of this National Committee in charge of developing the specifications was charged, with a first phase of systematic identification of all products eligible for GI protection, followed by profiling or selection based on a set of criteria allowing for the evaluation of the feasibility and economic interest of protection.  The National Committee established in Cameroon in December 2010   will be supported in the development of specifications of Oku white honey by various local consultants, as well as by CIRAD .

The entire process, from identification to registration of geographical indication protection, will extend over a period of approximately four years.  In many cases, if not all, the process is inherently confrontational: area delimitation and technical clauses of the specifications could lead to the exclusion of some producers, or require investments in new equipment, which some producers will not have the capacity to accommodate.

More specifically, elements such as identification of products and stakeholders, producers, distributors and intermediaries active in the sector - wholesalers, for instance- will be included within these specifications.

Once the specifications have been officially adopted, and the selected products registered in the OAPI, there will obviously be need to set up a monitoring system to ensure compliance.  This system will be established, managed and, of course, financed by the respective OAPI Member States concerned.

Developing Geographical Indications Protection by the OAPI includes promoting the product on export markets through participation of the OAPI in various trade fairs hosted in the products’ major importing countries.

The mere concept of geographical indication is very new to beekeepers and Oku white honey producers in the province of the North-West in general; the situation is similar within the Oku honey cooperative, despite OAPI efforts to raise producers’ awareness through experts’ attendance in meetings and seminars.

Despite several meetings with experts of the OAPI and though the geographical indication protection process for Oku white honey has been officially launched, producers are still inquiring about the impact of this protection in their daily activity, especially regarding the possible impact on their income.

At this stage, many stakeholders are involved in the process of protection of geographical indication development for Oku white honey: producer groups , cooperatives, individual beekeepers, the Government of Cameroon through its Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, international development organisations, various national development agencies such as SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation) or AFD (French Development Agency), and the OAPI.

It should be noted that beekeepers, and in particular ANCO, an NGO that is one of the main active cooperatives in Bamenda, are very positive towards the prospect of  GI protection for Oku white honey.  However, very few stakeholders actually have a clear image of what geographical indication is, not to mention what its impact may be on their everyday activities.

  1. Oku White honey, natural proprieties and know-how related to its production

1.1          Oku White honey

The main qualities of Oku white honey, apart from its distinctive colour, are taste and a particular softness.  According to our interlocutors, the distinct features of  colour and taste could be a result of the local vegetation.

The production of honey and consequently its availability on the market is strongly seasonal with a peak in annual production around the month of June.

1.2          Natural proprieties of Oku white honey, related to geographical origin

Oku white honey has a strong geographical identity, as it is produced exclusively in this specific region.

Oku is a village located in the province of the North-West, about a hundred kilometres from the town of Bamenda.  The specific production area of Oku white honey, currently under delineation, is focused on the slope of the OK mountain on which the village lies.

The specificity of Oku white honey is attributed to the climate of this region.  Oku and Ijim, two villages located at a high altitude, have a particularly cold climate and a very distinctive vegetation, a specific factor crucial to producing the white honey.  Definition of these natural conditions are essential in the designation of the product, since in terms of technique, production of white honey is identical to the production of ordinary honey.

1.3          Beekeeping, white honey production and local expertise

Oku white honey is produced based on know-how of the particular placement of the hives.  The hives for production of white honey are mounted in specific locations, so as to be colonized by bees pollinating very targeted vegetation.

The rest of the white honey production process is itself is identical to how ordinary honey is produced.  Honey is collected by the beekeeper to then be extracted and refined.  It is sold to a cooperative through a producer group, packaged in turn by the cooperative and finally sold to the end users, mostly through cooperative-owned stores in Bamenda.

In general, the cooperative collects honey from producer groups once it is extracted and refined. Tests are administered and a second refining is made within the cooperative, to remove foreign particles and any possible presence of mould before bottling the honey and packing it for commercialisation under the name of the cooperative.

 1.4.       Identification of the geographical area of production

During a recent meeting in Bamenda regarding the implementation of geographical indication protection of Oku white honey, the main issue that emerged involved the specific designation to be officially attributed under the protection.  This meeting, actually initiating the process for geographical indication protection of Oku white honey, was organized by the OAPI, and other partners such as SNV, AFD and various cooperatives also attended.

A specific problem arose through the reaction of Ijim, the nearby village of Oku, which also produces white honey; its representatives strongly opposed to the designation of the product as “Oku” white honey.  However, after lengthy discussions, consensus was reached as to the fact that the production of white honey originated in Oku, and that white honey from Cameroon is known beyond the country borders as “Oku” white honey; furthermore, the Oku origin seems to be a selling point in international markets; also, producer groups and cooperatives are based in Oku.  On this basis, an agreement was reached on the name:  “Oku Honey White”, followed by the words “product of”, and the precise name of the village of production, such as “Ijim”.

 1.5.       Identifying key markets

Oku  white honey is mainly intended for consumption in the domestic market, where it is renowned for its quality and is consumed as a food product.  It should be noted however, that an NGO in Kumbo uses this white honey in the preparation of medicinal products.

 1.6.       Reputation of Oku white honey

Internationally, the product has not yet clearly established a reputation; however, this is very much the case in Cameroon, where it owes its reputation primarily to the medicinal properties attributed to white honey, and is reflected in the use of the product for medical purposes.

Currently, cooperatives are commercialising the honey collected using their respective names.  For the time being, the honey production is therefore mainly differentiated by this name.

II.         Analysis of the competition structure

2.1.        Value chain analysis

Hundreds of producers are active in the production region.  Most of these producers, however, are isolated and do not belong to any cooperative.  All are individual producers, with no employees.

Interestingly, the production of white honey is most often a secondary activity for these producers, the principal activity being within another agricultural or commercial domain.

2.2          Sector organizations

Currently, there are more than ten cooperatives active in the production and commercialisation of Oku white honey.  Therefore, there is no single organization bringing together all producers. Some individual producers do not even belong to a cooperative.

As far as NGOs are concerned, ANCO  is active in Bamenda.  This NGO aims to combine beekeeping, honey production and biodiversity conservation, thus supporting sustainable beekeeping, biodiversity protection and the fight against poverty.

ANCO brings together more than 6,000 producers, all of which are members of producer groups . The key criterion for eligibility of a CIG to become a member of ANCO is that it has at least ten members.  Over 120 groups are members of ANCO, each featuring between 10 and 70 members.

ANCO processes over 50 tons of honey a year, but keeps no precise statistics.

The groups produce very different volumes, depending on the size of the group and the efforts of its members.

It is worth noting that ANCO buys honey exclusively from its members.  The purchase and selling price are negotiated and agreed at the Managing Committee meeting.

HONCO is another cooperative that brings together groups of honey producers in the North West.  HONCO has about 3,600 members belonging to various groups, but only twelve of these groups are active in the production of Oku white honey.  On average, HONCO affiliated producer groups have no more than two members.

HONCO purchases honey exclusively from its members and does not involve any intermediary.

III.        Analysis of market structure

3.1          The domestic market

Oku Honey is considered a rare product in Cameroon.  This honey can be purchased in the region of production itself, Oku, in Kumbo, and in Bamenda, Bamenda is considered the main centre for the sale of Oku honey, along with two major urban centers, Yaounde and Douala, and certain other cities like Buea, the capital of the South West.

According to ANCO officials, the domestic honey market could increase through awareness campaigns to attract consumers attention to the nutritional qualities and medicinal properties of the product.  According to ANCO executive secretary, increased consumption could entail lower prices and render Oku white honey accessible to all levels of society.

 3.2.       Export Markets

The export market of Oku white honey is still poorly defined.  A study should be undertaken to assess the scale and development potential.  However, it seems that white honey is exported from Oku to Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria, but producers and cooperatives in Bamenda are not aware of the prices charged for export.

Cooperatives often deal with wholesale buyers, but they do not know the price at which these intermediaries sell the honey in the domestic or export markets.  Cooperatives also seem not to be interested in obtaining this information; their concern is merely to sell their produce and ensure a stable income for their members.

IV.       Value chain analysis

 4.1.       Analysis of the value chain

Stakeholders are structured and interlinked as follows: individual producers are organized into CIGs, which are themselves grouped into cooperatives, such as HONCO or ANCO.  Producers sell their produce to cooperatives and through their associations.  In most cases, cooperatives operate selling points in Bamenda where the product is sold to consumers.  Some bulk buyers order directly from cooperatives and pick up their order from the cooperative shops in Bamenda.  Cooperatives organize the collection of honey from groups, along with the transport to Bamenda for refining and packaging.  As previously mentioned, Oku white honey is primarily intended for the domestic market.

Prices quoted by our various interlocutors, each representing a separate stage of the value chain, are usually quite different.  It is therefore difficult to draw conclusions as to the precise configuration of this chain.  Nevertheless, details of prices quoted are herebelow presented.

It seems that the prices charged by producers are fairly homogeneous in a given period.  Currently, the price of buying a jar of 20 litres from the producer group is estimated at about 24,000 XAF for regular quality honey and at approximately 30,000 XAF for white honey, in other words at about 1,200 XAF / litre for ordinary honey against 1,500 XAF / litre for white honey.

According to other interlocutors, the Oku cooperatives sell white honey at around 2000-2500 XAF / litre.

Other quotes indicate that small producers sell their honey production, mostly crude (unrefined), at a price ranging between 600 and 1,000 XFA / litre -depending on whether the honey is raw or refined.

In any case, the cooperative further refines before the honey is bottled and labelled to present to the consumer.  The average price of a litre of Oku white honey in Bamenda cooperative stores is around 2,500 to 3,000 XAF / litre while about 1,700 XAF / litre is the price of regular honey.  The consumer selling price is determined by observation of the honey market in Bamenda, taking into account the average price charged by other cooperatives in their respective stores.

Finally, the sale price of the product amounted to about 7,000 XAF / litre in the shops of Yaoundé.  This price is worth comparing with the price of regular quality honey, which is at approximately 3,000 XAF / litre.

4.2          Vertical integration in the value chain

Apparently, no form of eventual vertical integration can be foreseen for producers, as each producer operates at a strictly individual level and has no substantial financial means to achieve large-scale investment.

4.3          Vertical cooperation in the value chain

Vertical cooperation is an important feature of production and commercialisation of Oku white honey, since most producers belong to a producer group, as previously described, which in turn is member of a cooperative supporting the commercialisation of honey, either directly to final consumers through selling points in Bamenda, or through intermediaries who ship the product to selling points throughout the country or towards foreign markets.

V.        Advantages, disadvantages and potential problems linked to GI protection

5.1          Profit and potential benefits linked to geographical indication protection

Stakeholders consulted most often recognize the substantial potential benefit in establishing geographical indication protection for Oku honey.  The main potential benefits identified for Oku honey GI protection concern the impact of eventual labelling on the development of the organisations of producers, and also improving product quality.  Protecting the Oku honey name will also enable producers to better defend their product against attempts to copy and imitate, and may help achieve a higher selling price.

It should be underlined that the scope of producers' access to protection depends primarily on the collective organization of producers.  Support is required both from national authorities and the OAPI itself, at it plays a crucial role in ensuring successful implementation of this protection.

Obviously, the range of benefits that can be anticipated from implementing geographical indication protection will also depend on the controls put in place to ensure compliance with the accompanying specifications.

Protection seems particularly likely to enable further development of existing markets, which, to some interlocutors, is a form of direct advertising for the product. Access to new markets should also be facilitated as a result of the increased cooperation among producers that collectively might consider opening new selling points in Cameroon, beyond Yaoundé and Douala.  Finally, this protection should prove effective in protecting eco-systems and landscapes, as protection of the local flora is, by definition, crucial to safeguarding the taste and color traits of Oku white honey.

The evaluation of these and other potential advantages associated with the introduction of a geographical indication protection for Oku honey is summarized in the table below.  It should be noted that there may be a divergence among interlocutors in the assessment of these advantages.  In this case, the different assessments are listed in parallel.


 

Advantage

None

Low

Average

High

Very High

 Broad access of producers to protection

 

 

 

x

 x

 Improved product quality

 

 

x

 x

 x

 Improvement in the production process

 

 

x

 x

 x

 Message to the market regarding the reputation and product quality

 

 

 

 x

 x

 Better cooperation between producers

 

 

x

 x

 x

 Access to new financial resources

 

 

x

 x

 x

 Prevention of relocation

 

 

 

 x

 x

 Preventing theft of traditional know-how

 

 

x

 x

 x

 Possible combination of GI protection with other tools (eg. Organic certification)

 

 

 

 x

 x

 Opportunity  to sell at a higher price

 

 

 

 x

 x

 Development of existing markets

 

 

 

 x

 

 Access to new markets

 

 

 

 x

x

 Rural Development

 

 

 

 x

x

 Protection of ecosystems and landscapes

 

 

 

 x

x

 

5.2          Potential problems and disadvantages linked to GI protection

Among the identified potential disadvantages of eventual geographical indication protection for Oku honey, worth noting is the cumbersome and, most importantly, lengthy process of designation, specifications preparation and product registration.  The required controls linked to the introduction of geographical indication protection could also be a hurdle for some producers, and even lead to their exclusion from the protection system, thus rendering these producers economically vulnerable.

Difficulties relating to the identification of biological or cultural attributes of the product, which indeed exist, are nonetheless expected be resolved through the process of specifications development- this phase should be completed soon.

The legal and administrative complexity of developing geographical indication protection, although very real, is supported in part by the relevant administrative departments of state and the OAPI.  The requirements in financial and human resources should therefore be met by these institutions for the larger part, and are not expected to burden the producers themselves.

As for the possible difficulties linked to the implementation of appropriate governance structure to manage geographical indication protection, the interlocutors emphasized the need for state support to the producer organization.

For some, introduction of geographical indication protection for Oku white honey could lead to the marginalization of other important products in the region; some producers may be attracted to beekeeping because of the product’s higher added value.

There is also a risk, according to some, that the economic value created through the geographical indications protection will be captured by players in the downstream sector, mainly traders and distributors.

In terms of demand, it should be taken into account that, Oku honey is consumed by the upper or middle classes of the population, at the national level, and is thus considered a luxury product.  There is therefore low risk of economic exclusion of local demand due to higher prices for white honey.  It is worth noting, however, that the protection of this product, which is also consumed for its medicinal properties such as a sugar substitute in cases of diabetes, could make access more difficult for low-income populations consuming it for medical purposes.

Although some of the consulted parties saw a considerable risk in the possibility of dispute over ownership of the geographical indication, particularly between national authorities and the local population or authorities, this should be solved in the framework of the specifications development, linked to the establishment of the protected status.

Beyond these potential disadvantages, interlocutors have particularly stressed a number of conditions to be met beforehand, so as to ensure the establishment and success of Oku honey geographical indication protection.  More specifically, these conditions include the need for accompanying measures to support producers in their approach for labelling and promotion of their product, the need to develop the collective organization of the sector, which is still very immature, and most importantly, the need to make financing tools available to producers so as to enable them to develop adequate production and packaging tools so as to respond to the new requirements inevitably introduced by the specifications for the geographical indication protection.

 In conclusion, our interlocutors stressed that there is need to generate not only public, but also private interest for the implementation of geographical indication protection for Oku honey.

The evaluation of these and other potential disadvantages associated with the introduction of a geographical indication protection for Oku honey is summarized in the table below.  It should be noted that there may be a divergence among interlocutors in the assessment of these advantages.  In this case, the different assessments are listed in parallel.

 


 Disadvantage

None

Low

Average

High

Very high

 Difficulty linked to the identification of specific biological or cultural attributes of the product

x

x

x

 

 

 Legal and administrative complexity of developing a GI

x

 

x

 

 

 Lack of financial and human resources to engage in the development of a GI

x

 

x

 

 

 Difficulties associated with the implementation and management of a governance structure appropriate for GI

x

 

x

x

 

 Inability of GI protection to significantly help small producers

x

x

 

 

 

 Marginalization of other important products and production in the region

x

x

x

x

 

 Risk of appropriation of the economic value created by protection of GIs by processors and distributors

 

 

 

x

x

 Economic exclusion on the supply side: exclusion of some producers due to the definition of product characteristics or the requirements in terms of information, security and traceability

x

x

x

 

 

 Economic exclusion on the demand side: no access of local and low-income populations to traditional and / or alimentary products

 

x

x

x

x

 Possibility of dispute over ownership of the GI, particularly between national authorities and local populations or authorities

x

x

x

 

 

 Risks to biodiversity conservation

x

 

 

 

 

 May distort the local culture

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VI.       Other possible tools of protection and their respective advantages and disadvantages

The other product protection regimes that have been identified as possible processes complementary to the protection of geographical indication include protection of biodiversity, in the case of natural products; and patents, in the case of processing natural products.

However, there appears to have been no consideration of possible combination of geographical indication protection of Oku white honey with other instruments of protection.

To date, no known initiative has been taken by any producer of Oku honey to protect the product, either by filing a trademark or by any other instrument of protection. It should be noted that according to the Alphinoor firm, based in Yaoundé and specializing in intellectual property, the cost of trademark protection in Cameroon is at approximately 400,000 XAF.

Gabon: The case of Oukoumé

Registration and protection of geographical indications fall directly under the African Intellectual Property Organisation - OAPI, based in Yaoundé, responsible for these issues on behalf all its Member States, including Gabon. However, it should be noted that to date the OAPI is competent only in principle, as until now no product of Gabon, nor of any other of the OAPI Member States, has been granted protection of geographical indication.

The OAPI has national liaison structures in its Member States. Through consultation of these national representatives, a preliminary investigation of the approach to protection of geographical indications could be set up. In Gabon, this structure is formed by the Center for Industrial Property of Gabon – CEPIG (Centre de Propriété Industrielle du Gabon), under the Ministry of Economy, Trade, Industry and Tourism.

For Gabon, as for most Member States of the OAPI, the legal framework for the protection of geographical indication is laid down in Annex VI of the Bangui Agreement establishing an African Organization of Intellectual Property; Annex VI, which focuses on geographical indications, has not however been transposed into national law. For some players interviewed in this study, including firms specializing in industrial property, it would be worth adapting this Annex VI to the specific national context. The Annex stipulates that the applicant for protection of geographical indications can be an individual, group or association, and this may entail risk of private appropriation of the geographical indication.

It is worth noting that natural products may actually be granted protection of geographical indication under the Bangui Agreement, which is not the case in other legal systems.

For over ten years, the OAPI has been leading a policy of actively promoting geographical indication protection within its sixteen Member States, and has ambitious goals in this area.  This zeal has recently resulted in the implementation of a pilot study, aiming to identify eligible products for protection within three of its Member States. It should be noted that although Gabon was not part of the three countries belonging to the pilot group, the preliminary identification was still undertaken, and a list of products eligible for geographical indication protection has been presented to the OAPI by the CEPIG in May 2010.  This list was developed from information facilitated to CEPIG by the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry, the Ministry of Industry, and the Ministry of Agriculture.

 In the context of this exercise, the CEPIG (within which a person, assisted by a collaborator, is currently in charge of the development of geographical indications) seems to have encountered some reluctance from the Ministry of Agriculture, in contrast to the smooth collaboration with both the Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry, this latter being the supervision authority for forest production in Gabon.  Following research that spanned over about a year, the Ministry of Industry has prepared a list of ten products possibly eligible for protection of geographical indications; the Ministry of Forestry has also drawn up a list of twenty products, among which Okoumé wood is considered to be one of the most eligible for launch of the GI protection process.

Although Gabon is not, as previously mentioned, among the group of countries selected for the OAPI's pilot implementation project, it does nevertheless figure among the group of countries selected for the second phase of this project. Timing of implementation of this second phase essentially depends on when the required funds become available.  This means that no product in Gabon is currently being investigated in terms of specifications designation with a view to protecting its geographical indication.

It should also be noted that the OAPI has supported awareness raising activities, with the example of a major seminar on geographical indications organised in Libreville in December 2010.

I.          Okoumé, its natural proprieties and reputation in international markets

1.1.        Okoumé wood and specificities of its production

Okoumé is an endemic species of Gabon found in the country’s wetlands, mainly in the central parts, the east and south, and much less to the north and west.  Okoumé belongs to the so-called “noble” species, distinguished mainly by a reddish shade of colour.  Unlike other species, Okoumé wood colour has the added advantage of being very stable.

In comparison to other tropical timber, Okoumé is a relatively soft wood, which is an important feature for industrial use, particularly in the production of veneers.  Tropical timber is in fact, in its vast majority, hard and heavy wood with a density greater than 1, which is very unfavourable for transport, as the timber cannot be transported by means of waterway.

Okoumé, on the other hand, features a density of about 0.65, which allows it to be transported by water .This explains the emergence of logging activities in the Congo and Ogooué basins; logs are then transported by waterways to Port Gentil.  The logging zone was subsequently extended into the center and east of Gabon, in particular following the establishment of the railway line to Mayumba.  Construction of this line has also led to development of the logging of other species that could not be transported by waterway.

The Okoumé species has a very rapid rate of natural regeneration, and its logging does not thereby require re-planting.  An important feature of Okoumé is also its being a native product, as opposed to planted forest.  There are very few Okoumé plantations.  Among natural forests, we distinguish what is called the Okoumé-rich forest.  These feature at least three feet of usable Okoumé per hectare, a total of 12 to 13 feet of exploitable wood.

Okumé wood has a strong homogeneity in terms of weight, colour and, more generally, in appearance.  The wood also peels easily, which makes it particularly suitable for the production of veneer. For these reasons, the timber is in high demand for producing plywood.

In terms of quality, as in the case of other species, there is a classification system for Okoumé wood, comprising six categories:  special quality wood; wood of sound, fair and merchantable quality; industrial choice; economic choice; special timber; and a final category for wood of unacceptable quality.  Homogeneity of Okoumé is confirmed by the fact that its quality can only fluctuate between categories “fair and merchantable quality” and "industrial choice."

The Forest Act of 2001 already aims to improve the extraction conditions of Okoumé and ensure sustainable logging practices.  This law, also aiming to promote the diversification of forest use has significantly created an entirely new context in the sector.  Before its implementation, operators were not obliged to comply with any rule, and yielded larger revenues from unregulated logging rather than by using sustainable management practices.  The law has eradicated this state of affairs, as it now imposes integrated management of forests, fauna and flora as well as including local populations in the logging processes.

Under the rules of sustainable development stipulated by the law, logging of a concession is based on the division of the holding into harvesting sites, and the implementation of a rotation plan of the harvesting site over a period of 25 years, to allow the resources to regenerate.  According to this rotation system, only 10% of a concession is felled over a total period of 25 years.

The future of production, industrial processing and sale of Okoumé appears to depend to a large extent on the results of negotiations between Gabon with the European Union, as, like other African countries, Gabon is discussing the establishment of a legal framework to ensure sustainable exploitation of the resource under the FLEGT Action Programme. The outcome of these negotiations should lead to the adoption of specification constraints applicable to the entire industry.

Main uses of Okoumé wood

Okoumé is used in many ways, such as furniture, carpentry for construction, mouldings, flooring, boards for the manufacture of the coating of prefabricated houses; this latter constitutes a particularly developed market in the United States, with a high added value.

The main use of wood Okoumé however, lies in the manufacture of plywood.  Given the technical and mechanical characteristics unique to Okoumé, as mentioned above, this wood is very popular among manufacturers, particularly peeling manufacturers.

The economic crisis has affected the Okoumé market more than other species, this being due to the fact that Okoumé wood is largely used in the construction industry, especially the peeling industry.

Resin is extracted from Okoumé wood for the production of okouline and its use in pharmacy, but this kind of use is very low in volume, and thus is a rather secondary production.

1.2.        Logging, processing and local know-how

The minimum diameter of Okoumé trees to be eligible for logging is fixed by law at 60 cm.  Given the tree’s growth rate, it can reach this diameter in approximately 40 years.  The traditional cut, or DBH cut, is the diameter at a man’s breast height.  Today, the cut is usually at a mere 30 cm from the soil, at a height where the buttress of the Okoumé is still very large.

Okoumé wood is subjected to different methods depending on the desired end product, the main processes being:

  • Peeling the wood with steam for the production of sheets from the log;
  • Slicing, which consists of the production of sheets cut to specific dimensions.
  • Milling for the production of lumber for construction and furniture making.  It should be noted that the yield in the mills reaches about 32 to 35%, which means that waste from sawmills represents about two-thirds of the raw wood cut.

A period of approximately six months elapses from cutting the tree to the sale of the manufactured product to the customer.

1.3.        Geographical Identification of the production zone

The region where Okoumé grows is located in the Congo Basin.  It covers more than half the territory of Gabon on which most of this range, by far, is located. This area extends also over the territories of Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Congo (DRC).

 However, for some there is strong identification between Okoumé wood and Gabon.  In this sense, according to the Secretary General of the Union of Industrial Foresters and Forest management Professionals of Gabon – UFIGA (Union des Forestiers Industriels du Gabon et Aménagistes), Okoumé is the wood from Gabon par excellence and is a species specific to the country.  Okoumé represents about 50% of the total timber production in Gabon, having in mind that the sector is the second highest revenue in foreign exchange for the country (coming second only after oil  ) and the leading sector for private employment.  The "forest/timber" sector today represents about 4.5% of Gross Domestic Product of Gabon, including a percentage of some 3 to 4% for logging and 1-2% for the timber industry.  This sector constitutes the only significant economic activity within the country, and thus also plays an important role in the economic and social fabric of Gabon.

A first inventory of the forests of Gabon has been conducted on the basis of surveys, following which comprehensive inventories of logging activity have been carried out locally.

The forest area of Gabon is divided into forest planning units (FPU) with a surface that can reach 200,000 hectares.  These forest planning units are in turn divided into forest management units, which are themselves sub-divided into annual logging sites, among which there is a 25 to 30 years’ rotation plan.

Gabon now disposes about 2 million hectares of certified forest, over the total of 4.5 million hectares of certified forests throughout the Congo Basin.

With regard to the Okoumé processing activity, two main localization strategies have been implemented. The first is to establish logging sites near the resource, which means directly in the forest, close to the felling area. The second consists of setting them up near ports to facilitate the shipment to export markets.

This localisation strategy can significantly impact profitability conditions around the activity.  Actually, the cost of transporting timber for coast sites may account for about 30% of the total cost.

As Okoumé is very homogeneous throughout the territory of Gabon, the majority of producers interviewed considered that the only possible geographical indication would be “Okoumé of Gabon”.

However, according to some interlocutors, there would be a difference of quality recognized by buyers between the Okoumé product of Gabon and Okoumé produced in neighbouring countries.  It should be noted that the trade name under which Okoumé is sold in several European countries, such as the United Kingdom, Germany or Sweden, and the U.S. is "Gaboon".  Furthermore, it appears that some timber sector companies operating in Gabon are already marketing a wood guaranteed to be "100% Okoumé of Gabon".

An isotopic identification project for Okoumé is in progress, supported by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) as part of efforts towards the legal certification of the origin of the wood.  This identification would determine the exact geographic origin of a log.

1.4.        Reputation of Okoumé wood and main export markets

Recognition of Okoumé wood itself is well established in its main export markets, i.e. Europe and Asia.  The reputation seems often associated, especially in Europe, with a particular brand, promoted by its FSC certification.  This feature seems particularly important in Germany and the Netherlands.

Okoumé seems widely recognized as the best timber in the world for production of plywood.

Though for some Okoumé from Gabon is distinguishable by a specific quality, better than that of the wood originating from neighbouring countries, this feature is disputed by others.  The lack of specificity would be strengthened by prohibiting the export of logs.  As the product is always processed before export, all potential natural flaws would be removed during processing.

1.5.      Substitute products and imitation risks

The main competitors are other Okoumé woods used for veneer, especially poplar and pine.  However is seems that Okoumé is perceived as of superior quality compared to these woods, which are more common in European markets.

Meranti, a tree species present in South-East, is also considered a substitute to Okoumé wood.  However, meranti wood is considered to be of inferior quality.

The Ozigo wood also found Gabon can too be used for the same purpose as the Okoumé, particularly in the production of plywood.  Its lower volume and lower yield during processing, however, constitutes it a less preferred alternative.  Furthermore, logging of the Ozigo is to become prohibited in Gabon, as the tree produces fruit consumed by forest elephants.

Surprising as it may sound, Okoumé production is subject to a risk of imitation, a practice already identified by the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry.

A copy of the typical Okoumé groove can indeed be reproduced on any foundation, including another type of wood or chipboard.

A few months ago, representatives of the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry were surprised to discover in a warehouse in the Netherlands an Okoumé sold under the name "Okoumé of Morocco” - a country where Okoumé is obviously absent.  This was actually Okoumé from Gabon and sold by a Moroccan company located in Gabon.

Finally, a practice becoming increasingly common is the production of panelling with an inner slice of meranti, coated with Okoumé on both sides.  It appears that these are sometimes sold as Okoumé, at prices far below the actual cost of producing Okoumé panels.


  1. Analysis of the competitive structure

2.1          Sector analysis

The timber industry includes several key activities: loggers, forest industrialists, traders, shippers, as processing activities had developped in Gabon since the late 1990s, then under the initiative of European operators.  The sector is thus heavily characterised by the presence of “major companies”, subsidiaries of international groups, operating throughout the entire process- from logging on one or more licenses, to industrial processing through one or more processing units, to commercialising the wood.  Among these “majors”, four groups can stand out as dominant: SBL, Rougier, Precious Woods and CBG-PCBG.

The sector is therefore characterised by strong vertical integration, with large international groups operating from logging to marketing the processed product, up to the end consumer or industry.

The arrival of Chinese traders has resulted in a strong development of the processing stage in China, so sometimes the products are being re-sold, as noted above, to foreign markets including Europe, especially France.

In the opinion of the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry, the industry is today slowing down.  Many operators face serious difficulties as a result of the introduction of the ban on raw log exports, with revenues sliding, while operating costs -essentially fixed costs- remain the same.

Capacity of the local industry is insufficient to absorb all production.  Some operators do not have the capacity to engage in a policy of industrialization, contrary to what the government would have aspired to when implementing this integrated logging strategy.

The decrease in production volumes was striking in 2009 and 2010.  Assessment of these volumes is questionable, however, the Ministry of Forestry data is based on declared productions, as they are called; taxation is also based on this declared production, so operators tend to present lower figures, often declaring only what is actually sold and transported, and not the production intended for stockpiling or internal use - which can be significant in volume.  The Department is establishing a system of electronic monitoring of production through a project called STATFOR, which should enable better insight of the actual production volumes.

2.1.1. Forest management operators

More than a hundred Okoumé logging companies are present in Gabon.  They have concessions granted by the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry, and most of them engage in responsible forest management activities, incentivised by the Ministry.

Today, this activity is dominated by a dozen groups of significant size, including seven main groups, all members of the Union of Forest Industrialists of Gabon and Forest Management Operators - UFIGA (l’Union des Forestiers Industriels du Gabon et Aménagistes).  A second group consists of a dozen more companies, and is in the process of joining the first twelve in the establishment of a system of responsible logging of the resource.

The three largest groups, Rougier, Compagnie du Bois and Equatorial CBG-PCBG, a subsidiary of Joubert group, hold FSC certification; one of them, Rougier Gabon, is considered by some to dominant in the sector. The Secretary General of UFIGA estimates the market shares of key industry players to be distributed at approximately 15% for Rougier, 14% for CEB (subsidiary of Precious Woods group) and 12% for CBG / PCBG.

The seven main groups employ 350 to 1,700 people each.  Accumulated, they operate approximately 30% of the area allotted and are responsible for somewhere between 45 and 50% of log production, over 60% of industrial production of veneers, sliced and planed wood.

As previously mentioned, the largest logging companies in Gabon are all subsidiaries of international groups, mainly European- especially French, but also, more recently, Chinese.  The government appears to be trying to encourage the establishment of national groups in the sector, including through the promotion of small business licenses, and with the support of the AFD, which is leading a project focused on development of small forest permits.  It should be noted however, that three large Gabonese-owned companies are already present in the sector: the Equatorial Forest Logging Company, the Equatorial Peeling Society and the Equatorial Processing and Veneering Company.  Another company, IBNG, active in the sawmill business, is equally large in size, and controlled by Gabonese capital.

There are two types of concession:  sustainable management   concessions, as they are called, and the rest.  The first cover an area of at least 50,000 hectares each- larger concessions may reach a surface of 600.00 hectares, which is the maximum area of operation by the same operator authorized by law.  To overcome this limitation, however, some groups have created several companies and can log areas up to 1 million hectares.  Besides these major concessions, there are other, smaller in size, logged using sustainable management practices and commonly referred to as "small licenses".

Concessions are also operated beyond the sustainable management system within the context of forest permits granted for areas not exceeding 50,000 hectares, usually covering between 10,000 and 20,000 hectares.

It should be noted that the Forestry law has established a new system of granting concessions.

 Finally, “over the counter” permits are granted for short periods of about three months, for private use “family loggings”, to build houses or canoes.  Commercialising the wood from this production is in principle prohibited, but nevertheless is practiced on a small scale.

Some integrated groups active in the timber logging and industry of Okoumé wood in Gabon

 - Compagnie Equatoriale du Bois (CEB - Equatorial Timber Company)

 The CEB, a company belonging to the group Precious Woods has been active in the field of logging and management of the Gabonese forests for about 20 years.  CEB concessions in Gabon amount to a total surface of 600,000 hectares.  Okoumé is its main product but CEB also logs forty other species and is seeking to further diversify its production.  The main activities of CEB are as follows:

  • Production of raw logs.  CEB society produces about 180,000 cubic meters of logs annually.  It aims to reach 200 to 240,000 cubic meters in the next few years.
  •  Production of cut-sawn lumber in its Bambidie factory (town of Lastourville).  This site employs approximately 400 people and the establishment of a sawmill by CEB was accompanied by the construction of an entire village, including its required infrastructure such as a hospital and a school.
  • Planed wood production.

CEB employs more than 600 people and, apart from the Bambidie sawmill, operates a veneer plant in Libreville and a slicing unit in Owendo.  Its turnover amounts to approximately USD 200 million.

The Precious Woods Group, which owns CEB, was the first to obtain the FSC label in Gabon.  CEB believes that the "premium" attached to this certification may be assessed to additional market share of around 5%.  This means that certification, though an essential element of the strategy of CEB, is not profitable from a strictly economic point of view.  Although not specified, the cost attached to this certification, which must be renewed each year, seems in fact much higher than the income generated by this additional market share.

CEB sells its products under the brand name "Precious Woods” in Europe and Asia.

Société Nationale des Bois of Gabon (National Timber Company of Gabon)

Until January 1, 2006, the Société Nationale des Bois du Gabon (SNBG) held the monopoly of the timber trade.  Following the relative liberalization launched at the time, the company activities have evolved into the industrial sector and toward commercialization of the processed wood.  It is 51% owned by the Gabonese government, and 49% belongs to the forest operators of Gabon.

SNBG has always held the license to operate on its own but has never operated directly, preferring to establish agreements with various operators to implement these permits.

 Following the ban on export of raw logs, the SNBG has created a processing unit in Libreville itself (Owendo) in which sawing, slicing and log-peeling operations are carried out.

Rougier group

 Rougier Group is an integrated group, operating from logging to distribution. Okoumé production represents about 70% of its business in Gabon.  Its main markets are in Europe. Rougier Gabon employs approximately 1,500 people in total.

In Gabon, Rougier operates a sawmill and a veneer unit, and also has a second mill under construction.  Its main development strategy focuses on: the expansion of its industrial operations; the development of FSC certification; and the development of new markets, including Asia, where the wood could undergo a second round of processing following the initial processing in Gabon, before being re-exported to Europe.

Currently, sales of the Rougier-Gabon group consist 70% of sales of products processed from its parent company, Rougier International, and 30% of sales of logs to local manufacturers.  Rougier International group also has commercial activity, and sells the product as is to European industrial operators or distributors.

It should be noted that the Rougier Gabon group foresaw the Forestry Law's entering into force, and has had a consistent volume of processing in Gabon since 2007.  Its production has slightly diversified, however, with the production proportion of various woods rising within its total production figures, even though the logging of certain species has been abandoned.  All Rougier group factories are located on site, in Gabon.

 

Estimated production volumes

Production volumes of Okoumé logs are estimated at about 800,000 to 1 million cubic meters per year, against the total wood production of about 2 million m3 in 2009, and 2.5 - 3 million m3 per year in previous years.  Levy per hectare can vary considerably, from 3 to 12 or even 13 m3.

Implementation of the sustainable development objectives has resulted in a reduction in production volumes and has valorised other species, leading to a diversification of the sector.  This diversification is also linked to the arrival of Asian traders into the market. Until now, and historically speaking, development of Okoumé logging was clearly favoured by European operators and manufacturers, which is not the case for Asian operators.

It is important to note that the absorption capacity of factories in Gabon is estimated at about 1.6 million m3.  The logs export ban has resulted in an even steeper fall of production volumes.  In 2010, the volume of logs (all species) entering the factory was estimated at 0.9 million m3, of which about 50% -i.e. 450,000 m3 –consisted of Okoumé wood; operators are no longer producing more than what they can sell to the local industries.  It should be noted that Okoumé does represent roughly 50% of the total timber production in Gabon, but this proportion varies greatly from one region to another.

2.1.2      Processing industry and small-scale processors

Within the processing activity, there are specfic segments that may be distinguished: the exclusively international industrial operators, a semi-industrial segment, which consists mainly of local players and exceptionally some international operators, and the small-scale segment consisting only of locals.

Industrial companies usually depend on the same groups as the large-scale forest logging companies mentioned above.

 Most of the large forest operators have industrial processing units operating in Gabon.  Relevant examples are Precious Woods Group and Rougier, as detailed above.  But this is not always the case, and some operators are facing serious difficulties due to the ban on the export of raw timber entering into force as of April 2010.  The non-integrated industry players, which are not loggers themselves, need to obtain logging concessions to secure their supplies.

Although they dominate the sector, integrated operators remain a minority in the profession.  The other operators are required to invest in the construction or acquisition of industrial units, which is feasible only for a limited minority. According to some of our interlocutors, those who do not have the means will be forced to close down for the short or less short term, either by abandoning the activity altogether, or by moving to Gabon's neighbouring countries, especially the Congo and Equatorial Guinea. 

On the same note, and following the ban on export of logs, it is worth noting the recent appearance of a new practice: factory renting.  This practice seems to be an option that mostly Chinese traders resort to, as rather than building or buying a production unit, they prefer to rent an existing unit.

The processing activity itself can be segmented into three broad categories: first, processing (sawing, slicing and peeling); second, manufacturing (making panels, plywood and wood flooring) and the third being processing (building construction and shipbuilding, carpentry and cabinetry).  This stage mostly consists of industrial customers in the timber industry using the products of this sector for intermediate consumption.

Industrial processing of wood involves substantial investment. The cost of a processing plant, depending on the nature of operations, can fluctuate between 4 and 15 billion XAF.  This constraint was taken into account by the government that introduced a VAT exemption on industrial equipment of the forest industry and a 10% reduction of duties on their importation.

An important technical element of processing is its performance, defined as the ratio between the volume of processed products and the volume of raw timber at the entry process; the main factors of yield are wood quality, industrial equipment performance and operator training.

It is worth underlining that company Bois-tranchés operated by SNBG, was traditionally the only company active in slicing.  CEB - Compagnie Equatoriale des Bois has recently acquired a slicing unit.

Large firms in the peeling sector are Rougier, TDIB, POGAB, a company that was originally a subsidiary of French group Sofirol, bought in 2008 by Chinese investors and, more recently, by Lebanese investors.  The company now seems "dormant."

According to the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry, the main obstacles to the development of timber in Gabon resides in the inadequacy of industrial sawing.  Health problems were also identified by the Department, which found use of toxic products and the presence of carcinogenic dust at certain stages of processing.

Only a few companies have closed down solely due to the introduction of the ban on export of raw logs, but according to some of our sources, many have ceased operations as a combined result of this prohibition in conjunction with the international crisis.

 Few plants have been established since the introduction of this ban on the export of logs; such cases are very limited, mainly because of the difficulty in raising capital for these projects.  In fact, it seems that these few newly-established plants are usually foreign-owned companies, particularly Asian, and mostly Chinese.

 Funding mechanisms in the sector are deemed inefficient by many stakeholders and observers.  Banks seem very cautious about engaging in this sector, apparently due mainly to market fluctuations.  In conclusion, the processing industry features strong technological development, particularly marked by major computerization of the management process accompanying advances in quality and productivity -the implementation of which, however, requires considerable financial resources.


Transport and loading

The Société d’Exploitation des Parcs à Bois du Gabon – SEPBG holds a monopoly on handling and loading of ships.

Local carpentry

Local woodworks, or " roadside carpentry”, is a loosely structured activity, designed to satisfy a purely local market. However, this is an important pool of employment.

2.2          Sector organizations

UFIGA includes mainly the major players in the timber operations and industry in Gabon.  Although UFIGA is historically linked to the French industrial groups present in Gabon, it also includes a Chinese company among its members (Sunly, formerly Safor).  UFIGA comprises industrialized companies, practising sustainable management and registered for FSC certification.  This organization plays an active role in promoting this certification; actually, certification development is its primary objective.

The other Chinese groups form a very tight solidarity network but do not integrate with sector organizations.

Small-scale operators appear to face a strong lack of organization.

2.3          Price developments

The price of the Okoumé log appears to have evolved in a rather irregular manner during the past five years. After the impressive rise in 2006 and 2007, prices fell abruptly in 2008 and 2009.

 Historically speaking, and unlike other commodities, timber has not seen a price increase in recent years.  Prices have been on the same downward trend for some time because of the global financial crisis and, particularly, the housing crisis that has hit some major Okoumé markets, such as Spain, Italy and France.

 This has clearly been exacerbated by the discounted prices offered by companies hard hit by the ban on export of raw logs, which were facing serious liquidity problems.  As a result, the offerings of Okoumé wood on the markets clearly became overabundant.

 Although markets are seen as fragmented, and though prices vary significantly from contract to contract, the Ministry of Forestry itself admits that it does not to have a clear vision of the situation in this regard; it seems that the introduction of the ban on export of logs resulted in a sharp increase in market power of the industrial segments, as their processing capacity was much lower than the capacity of forest logging companies.  Producers are also expected to be affected by a further decline or even a steep fall in prices on the domestic market due to competition becoming stronger.

 Prices quoted by our various sources are quite different.  Log prices are now fluctuating between 15,000 and 40,000 XAF/m3 for some, or from 80,000 to 120,000 XAF/m3 for others.

 Prices vary for up to three times or even more, from one company to another and from one product to another, depending in particular on whether it is a dry wood; according to other quality criteria such as length and characteristics of the log, depending on how straight it is, or how visible the flaws are; and, finally on whether the wood is certified or not.  In this regard, it should be considered that drying Okoumé wood is a lengthy procedure, which may take three to four weeks.

 Until 2006, SNBG monopolised the export of logs, and was also required to buy the entire output produced by operators; in other words, the role of SNBG was equivalent to a stabilization fund. The purchase price of the log was the tax reference price, also called the official market price, set by the State under the Financial Services Act .

 After the steep fall in prices on international markets in 2008 and 2009, SNBG completely stopped buying Okoumé logs, as international demand had virtually ceased.  Prices gradually regained since; however, the current price is still considered low compared to prices before the crisis, oscillating at a range of 20 to 30% above or below the Gabon tax reference price.

 According to some of our interlocutors, we need to acknowledge the presence of a strong speculative activity on Okoumé wood, deriving from Asian traders in specific -mostly Chinese, Indian and Malay, who stock up large quantities and then abruptly stop all purchases from local producers, thus forcing suppliers to drop their selling price. These traders are achieving very low selling prices from medium and small-sized producers, as they provide them with permanent liquidity by paying for their production in advance.  In this way, the operator is irreversibly linked and dependent on the trader.

According to several interlocutors, the arrival of Asian traders in the market led to a sharp fall in prices.

For processed products, prices vary depending on the mill and on whether it uses industrial or artisanal production methods.  The price of the sheet after peeling thus fluctuates between 100 and 1,000 XAF per square meter depending on the quality and dimensions of the sheet.

Prices for sawn wood products are generally down by 25 to 30% since late 2008, the price of timber oscillating around 300 XAF per cubic meter today, against approximately 400 before the crisis.

For other processed products, prices fluctuate from 350,000 to 750,000 XAF/m3.

It must also be noted that the French timber market, which is probably the main export market for Okoumé wood, has further shrunk in recent years after the Xinthya storm, which caused the French government to draw up a plan in support to the gravely affected timber sector of the Landes region.  This certainly has had its toll on prices of raw logs and processed wood.

  1. Analysis of market structure

 Okoumé wood is intended primarily for export.  The local lumber market is very limited and practically operates only with wood of a lesser quality.

3.1.        Domestic markets

 As previously noted, the local lumber market for is very limited and practically operates only with wood of lesser quality, due to imperfect drying.  The wood of poorer quality is sometimes used by farmers and industrialists themselves for private use, including construction of housing for their employees.  It is therefore a residual market.

 What is however noteworthy, is that the wood is used in drilling activities, so may be intended for the oil-drilling sector on local markets. 

 Beyond these niche usages, the domestic Okoumé market is very limited, partly because of the fact that the local population has a very negative perception of wooden buildings.  Quality wood, which could be used for decoration, is itself too pricey for the local market.  It should be noted that the informal domestic market appears to be relatively large.

 For some, it seems that attitudes in Gabon are changing; that development of lumber construction can be anticipated, and consequently create a more favourable market for Okoumé domestically.

 As a result of these elements, the price elasticity of Okoumé wood in its domestic market appears to be low.

3.2.        Export Markets

It must be taken into account that the wood’s export market has recently been considerably upset, with the newly introduced ban on export of raw logs.  This ban came into force in January 2010, with export balances sustaining until April this year.

 Europe, especially France and Greece, constitutes the main export market for processed Okoumé wood.  Asia, especially China, is also an important market – and is rapidly growing.  North America has some import activity, but mostly supplies tropical wood from South America.  It should be noted that though Okoumé wood is not directly exported to the United States, it occasionally appears to be re-exported after processing in China. The Middle East seems to offer considerable prospects for development, as also does India.  Morocco is already a significant market.

 Africa, finally, constitutes a more limited niche market.  It seems that the two major potential markets in Africa, South Africa and Nigeria, are increasingly turning towards foreign suppliers: China, in the case of South Africa; Canada, in the case of Nigeria.  This is attributed mainly to the presence of tariff barriers and lack of extensive commercial relations between Gabon and these countries, but also due to fluctuating exchange rates and language differences.

 Until now, Okoumé wood was mostly sold on export markets to processors especially for use in the production of veneers.  In this sense, Okoumé peeling seems to have been a very important activity in some regions and some European countries, particularly the French region of Poitou, Greece, Portugal and Italy.  More recently, peeling has also grown in China, where manufacturers then sell their veneered panels on the European market at a price about 25% lower than the local manufacturers.

Europe thus constituted the main Okoumé export market for logs until the late 1990s, with a volume of about 2.5 million m3 exported annually.  At the time, Okoumé wood represented about 60% of Gabon's timber exports.  China became the largest export market for logs in the early 2000s, and represented approximately 75% of log exports to Asia at the time of entry into force of the ban on raw log exports, with this proportion reaching 90% in the specific case of Okoumé wood.  At the time, Asia itself was the destination of a little below 70% of all total exports of wood from Gabon.

 Okoumé wood is also sold to Europe and on other export markets for various industries, including the furniture, shipbuilding and automobile industry in the form of veneered sheets and sawed logs.  These industries use Okoumé wood for both internal and external decoration purposes.

Major specialist distributors of construction and crafts equipment and materials are also among the major European buyers.  Chinese buyers are mostly dealers who re-sell the wood in China or abroad.  The European and Chinese markets are completely different in nature.

It should be noted that until January 2006, when the SNBG monopoly on the export of Okoumé logs ended, export prices were determined by destination and could vary significantly from one country to the next.  For China and Asia in general, market volumes were characterized by relatively low prices, while Europe was traditionally a market for premium products, and thus respective prices were higher.

European and Asian markets also vary considerably in terms of business practices. More specifically, Europe has traditionally been a species market, which means that a particular species is purchased as such, while the Asian market is a market of batches, and each batch may contain different species in varying proportions.

Competition is considered stiff on the international markets for processed products.  Though Okoumé is not traded on any cash or futures market, advance selling is an established practice.  There also appears to be intention to create a spot market in Libreville.

It is worth noting that the export of raw Okoumé logs is subject to duties and exit taxes as high as 17% of its official market price, while no duty is imposed on the export of processed wood.

  1. Value chain analysis

Prices in the sector are observed to be fairly non transparent. Okoumé timber is a niche market, and as such each producer, manufacturer and logger has a tendency to treat this information as confidential.

 According to our interlocutors, trade margins from the sale of raw logs are currently higher than margins on the sale of industrial products, as European buyers and large retailers are aware of the difficulties of Gabonese industrial operators are facing due to the newly established prohibition on sales of raw logs, and are putting pressure on the prices of industrial products.

Nonetheless, it seems that the value chain features several bottlenecks in the industry to begin with, but -more importantly- at the level of major distributors in export markets, as these distributors have great market power.

Prices may triple from one stage of the chain to another.  This observation must be balanced against the rate of yield or, respectively, the rate of loss for each stage of processing.  The loss of wood could reach levels as high as about 50%, for example, in the veneer activity.  This rate of yield may vary depending on the species.

It must be noted that until now, Okoumé wood was exported either as raw logs or after processing, in the form of veneers or sawn / cut logs. The wood can no longer be exported in any other form apart from processed, i.e. veneer or sawed, since the entry into force of the ban on log exports in April 2010.

  1. Advantages, disadvantages and potential problems linked to GI protection

5.1          Potential profit and benefits linked to geographical indication protection 

If designation is granted as " Okoumé wood of Gabon”, all Okoumé loggers and timber producers located in Gabon are considered most likely to be covered, as long as they meet the technical specifications set out in the protection's specification criteria .

Protection of geographical indication of Okoumé wood will probably have a positive impact on its various export markets according to many stakeholders, but others consider that this is strongly conditioned.

Volume and price could be particularly affected. The eventual impact price is considered by some producers to be the most important; apparently, the volume of sales can already be easily expanded given current demand.

 According to UFIGA officials, the introduction of protection of geographical indication on Okoumé wood would probably bring very positive results to the market.  This impact would most likely mostly affect industrial lumber, such as beams, battens and rafters.  For the SNBG, the market effect, though potentially large, will depend on the implementation of an effective communication policy.  Other sources stressed the fact that identification of a product is essential to its success in the globalised context, and that the introduction of a geographical indication would constitute the ultimate identification.

The introduction of protection of geographical indication is likely to send an important message towards markets; however this is also depends on other factors.  To support this, it is stressed that FSC certification is more of a constraint rather than a commercial advantage; there is risk that the same will apply for the introduction of protection of geographical indication.  The impact of the introduction of GI protection on the development of existing markets is therefore highly contested.  For some, the protection of geographical indication will have no impact on one of the two main existing markets, namely the Chinese market.

To many, the impact of GI protection on Okoumé timber prices appears to be quite random.  Bearing in mind the example of FSC certification impact on prices, it is indeed very uncertain.  It seems that customers are not willing to pay a higher price because the wood is FSC certified.  Positive impact of this kind seems to be reserved for some niche markets in Europe.  The same reasoning seems to apply regarding the impact of geographical indication protection.

If the introduction of protection of geographical indication is likely to foster cooperation between operators, it also seems necessary that one of them, or more likely an external public authority, assumes a unifying role, since the sector stakeholders are strongly individualist.

Funding is a major problem in the sector, as banks are very cautious towards these companies. Introducing protection of geographical indications would be a rather weak argument to drastically change this situation, as it seems, except in certain special cases.

GI protection could also lead to the exclusion of some producers from the market, which is viewed positively by UFIGA officials, as it would ensure better compliance with the mandatory rules for sustainable logging, whether established under the FLEGT program or the protection of geographical indication specifications.

As previously elaborated, a Forestry Law already in place aims to improve and ensure sustainability of logging conditions for Okoumé wood.  Geographical indication protection could be a useful tool in support to this process.

The impact of protection of geographical indication on product quality and improved production processes mostly depends, for some speakers, on the benefits that the operator can anticipate.

Introducing geographical indication protection could however convince dozens of producers currently undecided on whether to proceed with FSC certification to take action.  Such a development would probably help them access those new sources of financing that they are currently struggling to find.

Reputation of Okoumé wood and its surrounding industry is already well established; however, introducing GI protection would no doubt further strengthen this reputation.

Introducing the protection of geographical indications would be compatible and even complementary to the existing FSC certification; furthermore, protection of geographical indications would support traceability and sustainable management of the resource.

The rural development aspect has already been taken into consideration within the sustainable forest management policy currently implemented the national level. Introducing geographical indication protection could probably complement and reinforce this approach, particularly among the dozen medium-sized enterprises still undecided as to whether to commit to this option.

Certification of the legal origin of Okoumé wood, currently under implementation in Gabon, is a national specificity; protection of geographical indications could probably build on this legal certification to enhance its commercial attractiveness.  The introduction of protection of geographical indication may thus be of interest from the standpoint of forest management in Gabon, as protection will be linked to strict criteria of sustainable forest management.  The introduction of this requirement would also eliminate all risk of forest over-exploitation and adverse impact on biodiversity.

The evaluation of these benefits and other potential benefits associated with the introduction of protection of geographical indication of Okoumé of Gabon is summarized in the table below.  It should be noted that assessments of these benefits may be divergent according to the different interlocutors.  The different assessments are then listed in parallel.

 Advantage

None

 Low

Average

High

Very high

 Broad access of producers to protection

 

 x

 

 

 x

 Improved product quality

 

 

 

 x

 

 Improvement in the production process

 

 

 

 x

 x

 Message to the market regarding the reputation and product quality

 

 

 

 x

 

 Better cooperation between producers

 

 

 

 x

 

 Access to new financial resources

 

 x

 

 x

 

 Prevention of relocation

 

 

 

 

 

 Preventing theft of traditional know-how

 

 

 

 

 

 Possible combination of GI protection with other tools (eg. Organic certification)

 

 

 

 x

 

 Opportunity  to sell at a higher price

 

 

 

 

x

 Development of existing markets

 

 

 

 x

 

 Access to new markets

 

 

 

 x

 

 Rural Development

 

 

 

 x

 

 Protection of ecosystems and landscapes

 

 

 

 x

 

 


5.2          Potential problems and disadvantages linked to GI protection

The administrative and legal complexity associated with the development of a geographical indication protection of Okoumé appears to be a genuine problem.  The professional community does, however, seem ready to engage in this process, provided that the financial costs incurred do not exceed the potential benefit.  Consulting firms specialised in intellectual property, such as UNNG of Libreville, also seem ready to engage in this process, and are aware that it is the competent AIPO committee that will be in charge of validation of the geographical indication and linked specifications, once the process is launched.

 According to some, the first phase of implementation of GI protection, i.e. in preparation of the specifications, could prove to be the most cumbersome step, due to limited cooperation between operators.  Again, it seems necessary that government authorities play a unifying role.  This phase is sensitive and complicated, requiring detailed work and close cooperation between intellectual property experts and the professional community.  According to UNNG,  development of these specifications could take around three months' work, involving three or four types of complementary expertise, including  delineation of the geographical zone and defining the technical characteristics of the wood, such as density, appearance or colour.

 The second phase, after obtaining the geographical indication, is the certification of individual operators, set up of an application and submission to the National Validation Commission, which should in principle be composed of representatives of the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry, the Ministry of Trade and intellectual property professionals.  The estimated cost of compiling and filing an application is about a week's full-time consultancy work, or 5 man-days of consulting.

 Protection of geographical indications would allow for criteria in terms of quality, technical and physical aspects to be included, and therefore will differentiate Okoumé wood of Gabon from wood originating from other producing countries, mostly Equatorial Guinea and the Congo.  The specificity of Okoumé wood in terms of physical and mechanical characteristics allow it to be easily identified by specific biological attributes found only in Okoumé wood of Gabon.

 As geographical indication constitutes an aspect of national heritage, the role of the Government in promoting and funding the initiative is of paramount importance.

 Development of a geographical indication protection of Okoumé of Gabon certainly also requires provision of financial means.  In this regard, representatives of the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry indicate that external support, particularly from the European Union, seems necessary for both development and management of a system for the protection of geographical indication.  Any system of certification or designation implies the establishment of a monitoring system, and results in new constraints, which leads back to the problem of lack of human resources.

 It seems certain that the introduction of protection of geographical indication does not raise any problem in terms of implementing and managing an appropriate governance structure.  It should be noted that FSC certification, already in place and annually renewed, could easily incorporate the criteria for the award of a geographical indication and could issue a certificate at no extra cost.  In addition, observatories are already in place in Gabon, as well as in other Central African countries, ensuring compliance with sustainable forest management, a concept that integrates sustainable management and resource conservation. These observatories could be responsible for issuing geographical indications.

However, existing certifications, including FSC, present severe constraints for producers and industrial sector professionals, who cannot sell on some export markets unless they are certified.  This certification already guarantees the legal origin of the timber and the sustainable forest management practices.  The introduction of protection of geographical indications would therefore be another step in the same direction, and could be both an advantage and an additional constraint.  Another aspect for consideration is the fact that the implementation of sustainable management on the one hand and FSC certification on the other has already burdened loggers, processors and the industry with significant costs, and the introduction of protection of geographical indication would, for some, be nothing but “another project on the list” and an additional burden. Some representatives of the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry fear that certain industry players will be overwhelmed.

 The most important point in this regard seems to be the concrete possibility, considered high by many, of the commercial benefit created by the introduction of protection of geographical indications being captured by certain major distributors of Okoumé wood on export markets, particularly in Europe.

 Whereas the introduction of protection of geographical indication may actually result in exclusion of some producers, it is however considered as a positive step to clean the sector of any form of illegal logging, and to ensure the implementation of sustainable forest management in Gabon.  It should be noted that the risk of exclusion probably affects the majority of small-scale operators, who appear to lack the resources required to meet too demanding specifications.  Training these small processors would be a minimum requirement to support this development 23.

 Local demand is very limited, so the prospect of protection of geographical indications seems unlikely to cause any significant exclusion as far as demand is concerned.

 Risks of impact on conservation of biodiversity also appear to be very limited, provided that the criteria for sustainable management and biodiversity management are incorporated into the specification of the geographical indication.  Inventories have also been made by ITTO and show that the Okoumé tree is not endangered by this logging.

 In conclusion, many stakeholders believe that a feasibility study would be necessary to assess the benefits and constraints linked to introducing GI protection.

The evaluation of these and other potential disadvantages associated with the introduction of a geographical indication protection for Okoumé wood is summarized in the table below.  It should be noted that there may be a divergence among interlocutors in the assessment of these disadvantages.  In this case, the different assessments are listed in parallel.


Disadvantage

None

Low

Average

High

Very high

 Difficulty linked to the identification of specific biological or cultural attributes of the product

 x

 

 

 

 

 Legal and administrative complexity of developing a GI

 

 

 

 

 x

 Lack of financial and human resources to engage in the development of a GI

 x

 

 

 x

 

 Difficulties associated with the implementation and management of a governance structure appropriate for GI

 x

 

 

 x

 

 Inability of GI protection to significantly help small producers

 

 

 

 

 

 Marginalization of other important products and production in the region

 

 

 

 

 

 Risk of appropriation of the economic value created by protection of GIs by processors and distributors

 

 

 

 

 x

 Economic exclusion on the supply side: exclusion of some producers due to the definition of product characteristics or the requirements in terms of information, security and traceability

 

 x

 

 

 x

 Economic exclusion on the demand side: no access of local and low-income populations to traditional and / or alimentary products

 x

 

 

 

 

 Possibility of dispute over ownership of the GI, particularly between national authorities and local populations or authorities

 

 

 

 

 

 Risks to biodiversity conservation

 

 

 

 

 x

 Disadvantage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other possible tools of protection and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

To date, no producer or industry has taken the initiative to obtain any form of protection of geographical indication of the wood produced.

There are currently two types of wood certification in Gabon: national certification for sustainable management- CFAD, and the international FSC certification. FSC certification includes environmental and social criteria, and is accompanied by the establishment of a traceability system.  The cost of this certification in connection with the establishment of the traceability system is estimated at about 3,500 XAF / ha.

For some, the main interest of the FSC or another resides in marketing and sales.  The FSC is required to enter certain export markets, particularly in Europe.

As previously mentioned, the protection of geographical indication might well accompany and complement a FSC certification.  For some, however, while potentially complementary to a FSC, the introduction of protection of geographical indications would not be of particular interest, as, according to these parties, FSC certification constitutes a stronger selling point.

Geographical Indications protection could even involve the risk of confusion if this protection is not accompanied by specific requirements in terms of FSC certification or sustainable development.  Indeed, certain producers who may opt to not invest in these certifications, and consequently avoid the constraints or costs, may find themselves on an equal footing benefiting of the same geographical indication with their certified competitors.  Under such conditions, the introduction of geographical indication protection could be an argument against certification.

FSC labels, and FLEGT when implemented, are tools that are deemed to ensure a "chain of legality" of forest production, i.e. certify the legal origin of timber, the existence of a license to operate, compliance with all rules of operation and resource management as defined at the national level. Introducing geographical indication protection could only strengthen this chain of legality.

Ghana: Cocoa Case Study

Geography

Ghana is located on the Gulf of Guinea, only a few degrees north of the Equator, therefore giving it a warm climate. The country spans an area of 238,500 km2 (92,085 sq mi). It is surrounded by Togo to the east, Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) to the south. Ghana lies between latitudes 4° and 12°N, and longitudes 4°W and 2°E. The Prime Meridian passes through the country, specifically through the industrial city of Tema. Ghana is geographically closer to the "centre" of the world than any other country even though the notional centre, (0°, 0°) is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 614 km (382 mi) south of Accra, Ghana, in the Gulf of Guinea.

ghana physicalThe country encompasses flat plains, low hills and a few rivers. Ghana can be divided into five different geographical regions. The coastline is mostly a low, sandy shore backed by plains and scrub and intersected by several rivers and streams while the northern part of the country features high plains. Southwest and south central Ghana is made up of a forested plateau region consisting of the Ashanti uplands and the Kwahu Plateau; the hilly Akuapim-Togo ranges are found along the country's eastern border.

The Volta Basin also takes up most of central Ghana. Ghana's highest point is Mount Afadjato which is 885 m (2,904 ft) and is found in the Akwapim-Togo Ranges. The climate is tropical. The eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry, the southwest corner is hot and humid, and the north is hot and dry. Lake Volta, the world's largest artificial lake, extends through large portions of eastern Ghana and is the main source of many tributary rivers such as the Oti and Afram rivers.

There are two main seasons in Ghana: the wet and the dry seasons. Northern Ghana experiences its rainy season from March to November while the south, including the capital Accra, experiences the season from April to mid-November. Southern Ghana contains evergreen and semi-deciduous forests consisting of trees such as mahogany, odum and ebony. It also contains much of Ghana's oil palms and mangroves. Shea trees, baobabs and acacias are usually found in the Volta region and the northern part of the country.


Demographics

Ghana has a population of about 24 million people. Ghana's first post-independence population census in 1960 counted about 6.7 million inhabitants. It is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups. Ghana has not seen the kind of ethnic conflict that has created civil wars in many other African countries. The official language is English; however, most Ghanaians also speak at least one local language.

Ghana was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms, including the Akwamu on the eastern coast, the inland Ashanti Empire and various Fante and non-Akan states, like the Ga and Ewe, along the coast and inland. The Mande-Gur speaking groups in the north of the country established several Islamized states, in particular those of Dagbon and Gonja, and were the middle-men in trade between other larger sahelian Muslim states (such as Mali and Songhai) and the early Akan kingdoms, especially in the gold and salt trade. Trade with European states flourished after contact with the Portuguese in the 15th century, and the British established the Gold Coast Crown colony in 1874.[120]

The ethnic groups in modern Ghana are the Akan (which includes the Fante, Akyem, Ashanti, Kwahu, Akuapem, Nzema, Bono, Akwamu, Ahanta and others) 49.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme (comprising the Ga, Adangbe, Ada, Krobo and others) 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Gurunsi 2.6%, Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 1.4%, other (Hausa, Zabarema, Fulani) 1.8% (2000 census). According to the CIA World Factbook, religious divisions are as follows: Christian 68.8%, Muslim 15.9%, Traditional African beliefs 8.5%.

Ghana is a product of the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, in 1957 it became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence under the leadership of Kwame Nkurumah. The name Ghana was chosen for the new nation to reflect the ancient Empire of Ghana, which once extended throughout much of west Africa. Ghana is a member of the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, and an associate member of La Francophonie. Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world and is home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area.

Legal Framework for Trademarks &GIs Protection

The legal system is based on British common law, customary (traditional) law, and the 1992 constitution. Court hierarchy consists of Supreme Court of Ghana (highest court), courts of appeal, and high courts of justice. Beneath these bodies are circuit, magisterial, and traditional courts. Extrajudicial institutions include public tribunals. Since independence, courts are relatively independent; this independence continues under Fourth Republic. Lower courts are being redefined and reorganized under the Fourth Republic.

In 2003 Parliament the Ghanaian parliament adopted the Reports of the Patent and Geographical Indications Bills passed them into law[121] but indicated reservations on their effect on the sustenance and protection of local industries. The broad objectives of the Geographical Indications Act is to provide protection of geographical indications based on the concept that goods originating in a country, a region or a locality of the country should not be marketed under the original name by any manufacturer.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah Minister of Justice and Attorney General led its reading before parliament where he indicated that wrongful use of geographical indications is contrary to honest practices in industry and trade; is misleading to purchasers of the goods for which indications are used and persons who wrongfully use the indications obtain an unfair advantage over their competitions. He further said that geographical indications are applied to natural and agricultural products and the products of handicraft and industry, such as wood, sugar, fruits, wine, coffee, tea, tobacco, textile goods and woven goods. The Minister said geographical indication however does not only contribute to the reputation of a product but it creates good will among consumers and can assist immensely in export promotion.[122]

In the debate that ensued members said that the development needs of marketing of produce were very important under the Bill and cited Ghana's main crop, cocoa that needs to be protected and that the Bill, required to be given a second look for the protection of local products. Cited for protection were Pito, palm wine and the Kente cloth as highly abused internationally and required to be protected under the Bill. Parliament expressed concern that products emanating from African and developing countries seem not to be covered by the TRIP]s agreement and cited the Kente cloth and other initiatives that have not been included in the agreement.

Ghana substantially revised and modernized its trade mark law, by the enactment of the Trade Marks Act, 2004. The Act provides for the registration of certification marks. It introduced for the first time in Ghana the concept of infringement of similar goods. Also, the Act makes the act of infringement a criminal offence, liable to criminal sanction. The provisions concerning Trade Descriptions and the application of forged or fraudulent marks were incorporated in the Trade Marks Act. The Act makes it an offence to apply what is termed a "forged trade mark" to any goods or services.

Provision was made for the registration of service marks. This development had been long awaited by owners of trade mark rights and brought trade mark law in Ghana in line with most other jurisdictions around the world. In addition, the new law specifically states that the classification of goods and services applicable in Ghana is the classification according to the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services as last revised.

Well-known trademarks are enforceable in Ghana under this law. In particular, a trade mark which is identical to or confusingly similar to, or even a translation of a well-known trade mark, may not be registered by any person except the rightful owner of that well-known trade mark. However, the marks can only be accorded protection only if it is well-known in Ghana.

Ghana has for some time been a member of the Paris Convention. However, the previous Trade Marks Act made no provision for the claiming of Paris Convention priority and in practice, priority could not be claimed. The new Act makes provision for the claiming of Paris Convention priority rights.

Economy of Ghana

Ghana is a Middle Income Economy. Well-endowed with natural resources, Ghana has more than twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa. Known for its gold in colonial times, Ghana remains one of the world's top gold producers. Other exports such as cocoa, oil, timber, electricity, diamond, bauxite, and manganese are major sources of foreign exchange.

An oilfield which is reported to contain up to 3 billion barrels (480,000,000 m3) of light oil was discovered in 2007. Oil exploration is ongoing, and the amount of oil continues to increase. There is expected to be a tremendous inflow of capital into the economy in the first quarter of 2011 when the country started producing oil that is sold through its overseas licensed counter-part GAZPROM in commercial quantities. Also the refining and sale of oil resources discovered off the Ghana coast licensed to oil giant GAZPROM has begun being monitored by the Ghana National Petroleum Company. The oil is expected to account for 6% of the revenue for 2011.[123]

The Akosombo Dam, which was built on the Volta River in 1965 provides hydro-electricity for Ghana and its neighboring countries. Ghana’s labour force in 2008 totaled 11.5 million people. The economy continues to rely heavily on agriculture which accounts for 37.3% of GDP and provides employment for 56% of the work force, mainly small landholders. Manufacturing is only a small part of the Ghanaian economy totaling 7.9% of Gross Domestic Product in 2007.

Ineffective economic policies of past military governments and regional peacekeeping commitments led to continued inflationary deficit financing, depreciation of the Cedi, and rising public discontent with Ghana's austerity measures. Ghana however, remains one of the more economically sound countries in all of Africa. In July 2007, the Bank of Ghana embarked on a currency re-denomination exercise, from the Cedi (¢) to the new currency, the Ghana Cedi (GH¢). The transfer rate is 1 Ghana Cedi for every 10,000 Cedis. The Bank of Ghana employed aggressive media campaigns to educate the public about the re-denomination. The new Ghana Cedi is relatively stable and in 2009 generally exchanged at a rate of $1 USD =Gh¢ 1.4. The Value Added Tax is a consumption tax administered in Ghana. The tax regime which started in 1998 had a single rate but since September 2007 entered into a multiple rate regime. In 1998, the rate of tax was 10% and amended in 2000 to 12.5%. However with the passage of Act 734 of 2007, a 3% VAT Flat Rate Scheme (VFRS) began to operate for the retail distribution sector. This allows retailers of taxable goods under Act 546 to charge a marginal 3% on their sales and account on same to the VAT Service. It is aimed at simplifying the tax system and increasing compliance.

Tourism is a rapidly growing sector particularly among Europeans, Americans, and other internationals connected to the Ghanaian diaspora abroad. Ghana's political and economic stability, low crime rate, and wide use of English make the country an attractive entry-point to West Africa for foreigners. UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle, national parks such as Kakum National Park and Mole National Park, as well as cultural celebrations such as Panafest are major centres of tourist activity. This will be significant for any GI developments in the country, as tourism is conventionally linked with GIs.

Cocoa Case Study

History of Cocoa Production in Ghana

In 1870, Tetteh Quarshie undertook a voyage to Fernando Po (Bioko in Equatorial Guinea). About six years later he returned to Ghana with several cocoa beans (the Amelonado) and made history was to transform the economy of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) with his introduction of cocoa beans on his return. Hitherto, palm-oil and rubber were the main crops in Ghana. In 1879 Tetteh Quarshie planted the seeds at Mampong with some success. Friends and relatives also undertook the planting of cocoa when pods were distributed to them. Soon other farmers followed suit.[124]

It was only at this point that the Basel Missionaries stepped into the picture by importing large quantities of the crop into the country. From the Gold Coast (Ghana) cocoa beans or cuttings were sent to other countries like Nigeria and Sierra Leone.  The export of cocoa from Ghana began in 1891, the official exported in 1893 (two bags exported). Ghana once provided almost half of world output. Between 1910 and 1980 Ghana was the world's largest exporter. This position was ceded due to bush fires and political instability. However, Ghana’s cocoa is still of the highest quality and the country earns hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the export of the beans and processed materials. Record levels of 736,975 tonnes in 2003/04 and 740,458 tonnes in 2005/06.

Ecological Conditions for Cocoa Growing

Cocoa is produced in regions within 10oN and 10oS of the Equator where the climate is appropriate for growing cocoa trees.

Climate Conditions

The natural habitat of the cocoa tree is in the lower storey of the evergreen rainforest and climatic factors, particularly temperature and rainfall, are important in encouraging optimum growth.

Temperature

Cocoa plants respond well to relatively high temperatures with a maximum annual average of 30-32 degrees C and a minimum average of 18-21 degrees C.

Rainfall

Variations in the yield of cocoa trees from year to year are affected more by rainfall than by any other climatic factor. Trees are very sensitive to a soil water deficiency. Rainfall should be plentiful and well distributed through the year. An annual rainfall level of between 1,500mm and 2,000mm is generally preferred. Dry spells where rainfall is less than 100mm per month should not exceed three months.

Humidity

A hot and humid atmosphere is essential for the optimum development of cocoa trees. In cocoa producing countries relative humidity is generally high, often as much as 100% during the day, falling to 70-80% during the night.

Light and shade

The cocoa tree will make optimum use of any light available and has been traditionally grown under shade. It's natural environment is the Amazonian forest which provides natural shade trees. Shading is indispensable in a cocoa tree's early years.

Soil Conditions

Cocoa is grown in a wide variety of soil types.

Physical properties - Cocoa needs a soil containing coarse particles to leave free space for roots and with a reasonable quantity of nutrients to a depth of 1.5m to allow the development of a good root system. Below that level it is desirable not to have impermeable material so that excess water can drain away. Cocoa will withstand waterlogging for short periods but excess water should not linger. The cocoa tree is sensitive to a lack of water so the soil must have both water retention properties and good drainage.

Chemical properties - The chemical properties of the topsoil are most important as there are a large number of roots here for absorbing nutrients. Cocoa can grow in soils with a pH in the range of 5.0-7.5. It can therefore cope with both acid and alkaline soil, but excessive acidity (pH 4.0 and below) or alkalinity (pH 8.0 and above) must be avoided. Cocoa is tolerant of acid soils provided the nutrient content is high enough. The soil should also have a high content of organic matter, 3.5% in the top 15 centimetres of soil. Soils for cocoa must have certain anionic and cationic balances. Exchangeable bases in the soil should amount to at least 35% of the total cation exchange capacity (CEC) otherwise nutritional problems are likely. The optimum total nitrogen/total phosphorus ratio should be around 1.5.

Cocoa Growing Regions

Cocoa production occurs in the forested areas of the country-- Ashanti Region, Brong-Ahafo Region, Central Region, Eastern Region, Western Region, and Volta Region--where rainfall is 1,000-1,500 millimeters per year. The crop year begins in October, when purchases of the main crop begin, while the smaller mid-crop cycle starts in July.

Administration of the Cocoa Industry

All cocoa, except that which is smuggled out of the country, is sold at fixed prices to the Cocoa Marketing Board. Although most cocoa production is carried out by peasant farmers on plots of less than 3 hectares, a small number of farmers appear to dominate the trade. Indeed, some studies show that about one-fourth of all cocoa farmers receive just over half of total cocoa income.[125]

In 1979 the government initiated reform of the cocoa sector, focusing on the government's role in controlling the industry through the Cocoa Marketing Board. The board was dissolved and reconstituted as the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod). In 1984 it underwent further institutional reform aimed at subjecting the cocoa sector to market forces. Cocobod's role was reduced, and 40 percent of its staff, or at least 35,000 employees, were laid off. Furthermore, the government shifted responsibility for crop transport to the private sector. Subsidies for production inputs (fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, and equipment) were removed, and there was a measure of privatization of the processing sector through at least one joint venture. In addition, a new payment system known as the Akuafo Check System was introduced in 1982 at the point of purchase of dried beans.

Formerly, produce buying clerks had often held back cash payments, abused funds, and paid farmer with false checks. Under the Akuafo system, a farmer was given a check signed by the produce clerk and the treasurer that he could cash at a bank of his choice. Plantation divestiture proceeded slowly, however, with only seven of fifty-two plantations sold by the end of 1990. Although Ghana was the world's largest cocoa producer in the early 1960s, by the early 1980s Ghanaian production had dwindled almost to the point of insignificance. The drop from an average of more than 450,000 tons per year to a low of 159,000 tons in 1983-84 has been attributed to aging trees, widespread disease, bad weather, and low producer prices. In addition, bush fires in 1983 destroyed some 60,000 hectares of cocoa farms, so that the 1983-84 crop was barely 28 percent of the 557,000 tons recorded in 1964-65. Output then recovered to 228,000 tons in 1986-87. Revised figures show that production amounted to 301,000 tons in 1988-89, 293,000 tons in 1990-91, and 305,000 tons in 1992-93. After declining to 255,000 tons in 1993-94, the crop was projected to return to the 300,000 ton range in 1994-95.

In the early 1990s, Cocobod continued to liberalize and to privatize cocoa marketing. The board raised prices to producers and introduced a new system providing greater incentives for private traders. In particular, Cocobod agreed to pay traders a minimum producer price as well as an additional fee to cover the buyers' operating and transportation costs and to provide some profit. Cocobod still handled overseas shipment and export of cocoa to ensure quality control.

In addition to instituting marketing reforms, the government also attempted to restructure cocoa production. In 1983 farmers were provided with seedlings to replace trees lost in the drought and trees more than thirty years old (about one-fourth of the total number of trees in 1984). Until the early 1990s, an estimated 40 hectares continued to be added to the total area of 800,000 hectares under cocoa production each year. In addition, a major program to upgrade existing roads and to construct 3,000 kilometers of new feeder roads was launched to ease the transportation and sale of cocoa from some of the more neglected but very fertile growing areas on the border with Côte d'Ivoire. Furthermore, the government tried to increase Ghana's productivity from 300 kilograms per hectare to compete with Southeast Asian productivity of almost 1,000 kilograms per hectare. New emphasis was placed on extension services, drought and disease research, and the use of fertilizers and insecticides. The results of these measures were to be seen in rising cocoa production in the early 1990s.[126]

Ghana Cocoa Board's experimentation with privatization has created a hybrid system whereby despite all exports being controlled by the state, there are now around 25 private companies buying the crop in all the areas of the country where it is grown. After 14 years, the successes and failures of this hybrid system has been the subject of a study by researchers at the Overseas Development Institute. Competition was clearly found to have increased production levels throughout the country, yet access to credit remained one of the most important factors determining the level of competition and farmers rarely made the most of all the available options to sell their crop.

Their choice was based on the ability of a company to pay promptly in cash and thus there are only 5 major players on the market: PBC (formerly state owned), KuapaKokoo (a successful farmers’ based cooperative working on Fair Trade principles), Adwumapa (a Ghanaian buying company), Olam and Armajaro (both foreign-owned companies, from Singapore and the UK respectively. Another key determining factor is the distance of the plantation from the main market, as the more remote farms more often find it easier to sell to the formally state owned PBC.[127]

This hybrid scheme benefits a variety of players, The state, which maintains a monopoly on all exports and makes a substantially higher return from taxation than other cocoa regions; The traders, who compete for the purchase of higher volumes of the export crop on non-price terms throughout the cocoa belt areas; and The farmers, who are guaranteed a minimum floor price regardless of their geographical location. Researchers at the ODI therefore suggest that liberalisation has been good for producers by:

  1. providing farmers with more choice of buyers;
  2. delivering cash payments promptly; and
  3. maintaining stability in producer prices through-out the season.

Yet the question remains for policy-makers as to the benefits of the state controlling an export monopoly and its strong presence of the public sector in the internal market and whether there should be even more liberalization and whether it is providing the right incentives for producers to develop better (and sustainable) farming practices.

Policy Framework for Cocoa in International Trade

GHANA SHARED GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

(GSGDA), 2010-2013

Despite significant improvements in the performance of the economy in the last two decades, Ghana continues to face a number of macroeconomic and structural challenges that limit the capacity of the economy to achieve sustainable improvements in the standards of living of the people. These include over-reliance on the production of primary commodities without sufficient linkages to other sectors of the economy, over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture and low application of science, technology and innovation in the various production and distribution chains. The operative as well as overriding policy initiative in relation to cocoa competitiveness is the ‘GHANA SHARED GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT AGENDA (GSGDA), 2010-2013’.

Ghana’s economy is heavily commodity dependent; and thus a factor-driven economy. Hence, it is always at the mercy of the wide swings in the world market prices of its major export commodities as is cocoa which provide over 80% of its foreign exchange inflows.

In 2009, Ghana’s competitive rating was 87 while the World Bank Doing Business Report placed Ghana at 92. This confirms the difficulty that the public sector reform agenda has encountered. To grow at an average rate of 8% per annum in the medium-term and pursue economic transformation, Ghana’s competitiveness rating should not be lower than the average of emerging market rating which is currently 51. Unless this is achieved, Ghana’s emerging market competitors will outperform the country in global markets.

To this end the policy thrust of the external sector is to build reserves that can cushion the economy against external shocks. In the medium-term, Ghana’s strategy is to build enough reserves to cover at least 3 months, while in the long term the strategy is to build 6 months of import cover to meet the appropriate West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) convergence criterion. This, it is projected, will entail outward oriented policies to promote exports and attract inward direct investments.

Policy Objectives

Within the framework of trade liberalization, trade policy under this framework is be used to promote international competitiveness of domestic enterprises. The specific policy objectives are:

  • Improve Export Competitiveness;
  • Diversify and increase exports and markets; and
  • Accelerate economic integration with other regional and/or sub-regional states.

Strategies

  • Maintain competitive real exchange rates;
  • Improve the import/export regime;
  • Establish the Ghana International Trade Commission to deal with unfair international trade practices;
  • Promote new goods and services;
  • Continue to take full advantage of Preferential Access to markets, such as AGOA, etc;
  • Engage fully in multilateral trade negotiations;
  • Ensure that National Trade Policy reflects ECOWAS protocols; and
  • Strengthen links between industrial and trade policies.

Ghana’s private sector remains uncompetitive in spite of several attempts by the Government to enhance its competitiveness. The private sector under the overriding framework is expected to partner with Government and other stakeholders in the transformation of the economy through industrialisation and modernised agriculture.

The private sector comprises a few large multinational companies and a very large number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which continuously face serious unmitigated challenges. These include: ineffective national strategic agenda; capable but non-responsive public sector; unpredictable macroeconomic conditions; unreliable and expensive infrastructural services; unpredictable legal and regulatory regimes; inadequate managerial skills; inadequate capital base; poor entrepreneurial orientation; obsolete technology; generally low productivity; and poor market access. All these obstacles have hampered the growth ofthe private sector and hence the centrality of the issue of Ghana’s private sector competitiveness.

To address these challenges, the strategy focuses on developing a thriving private sector that creates jobs and enhances livelihoods for all. This is to be achieved by improving private sector competiveness, domestically and globally; attracting private capital from both domestic and international sources; developing viable and efficient Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); and industrial development, among others. Private Sector Development is one of the key focus areas under the thematic area of enhancing the competitiveness of Ghana’s private sector.

Cocoa Industry in Ghana

Country Amount produced as a Percentage of world production

Côte d'Ivoire         

1,300 000’ tons

37.4%

Ghana                

720 000’ tons

20.7%

Indonesia           

440 000’ tons

12.7%

Cameroon          

175, 000’ tons

5.0%

Nigeria                 

160, 000’

4.6%

Brazil                 

155, 000’ tons

4.5%

Ecuador             

118, 000’ tons

3.4%

Dominican Republic

47, 000’ tons

1.4%

Malaysia

30, 000’ tons

0.9%

 


Matrix of Cocoa Production Value Chain

 

Source, UNCTAD COCOA STUDY: Industry Structures and Competition [2008].


Geographical Indications and the Cocoa Industry

Introduction

Cocoa is particularly suitable for promotion by GIs[128]. It has been recognised that cocoa is similar to wine in that different climate, terrain and agricultural practices produce different tastes, particularly when used to make chocolates. The most exclusive chocolates are made from the South American Arriba, Criollo and Trintario cocoa varieties, whereas so-called bulk cocoa used by industrial confectioners such as Cadbury, Kraft and Mars, is usually made with the West African Forastero bean variety.  The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) using Ghana bulk cocoa as a reference since 2001 has been engaged in a project to identify the organoleptic parameters for differentiating fine from bulk cocoa. Thus far it has found the theobromine/caffeine ration to be a clear indicator in this differentiation. The ICCO reported that the “project produced a spectrum of unique sensorial attributes for samples from each fine cocoa producing country that had participated in the project, concluding that the countries were not competing against each other but satisfied different flavour niche markets.”[129]

This was followed up with a project entitled “Cocoa of Excellence: Unravelling and Celebrating the Diverse Flavour Qualities of Cocoa to Promote Market Differentiation”.[130]  The project is an initiative of Bioversity International, the French research institute CIRAD, the Salon du Chocolat and the ICCO, in collaboration with the Cocoa Producers Alliance, the Cocoa Research Unit of the University of the West Indies, the World Cocoa Foundation and the chocolate makers Barry Callebaut, Belcolade and Mars[131] In the project, cocoa producing countries were invited to submit well-prepared, fermented and dried cocoa samples, representing the different genetic and geographic origins of cocoa producing regions in each country. The cocoa liquor samples will be characterized and evaluated by an international panel using a standard methodology. The main objectives of the project are to

 

  • raise awareness along the supply chain on opportunities for market differentiation;
  • provide global recognition to ‘terroirs’ and producers and of high quality cocoa; 
  • expose chocolate manufacturers and experienced consumers to the spectrum of flavours that exist in cocoa from different origins;
  • facilitate linkages between producers of quality cocoa and manufacturers of specialty chocolate products; and
  • stimulate the capacity of producing countries to search for, evaluate and produce specialty cocoa.[132]

The Project was due to conclude in March 2011.[133] The results of this project can form a useful basis for product differentiation on the basis of GIs.

An illustration of the potential for differentiating cocoa through GIs is the project by the Government of Ecuador to seek GIs for its fine cocoa: “Cocoa Arriba”.  Ecuador produces more than half of the ´fine cocoa´ worldwide for which it reportedly receives a price premium of 20 to 30% above the New York Stock exchange price.[134] Ecuador’s significance in the fine cocoa market is attributed to ideal growing conditions across the Guayas River Valley and the fertile riverbanks of many of its tributaries. Arriba is characterised by a very short period of post-harvest fermentation, a floral aroma and smooth flavour, and enjoys a very high reputation amongst cocoa specialists.[135] In 2000, the Ministry of Agriculture decided to preserve the characteristics of the variety by setting up rules in a Code of Practice and applying for the GI “Cocoa Arriba” as a denomination of origin.

The Ghana Fine Flavour Cocoa Project

Ghana is attempting to emulate the Ecuadorian example with its Ghana Fine Flavour Cocoa Project. This is a collaboration between leading cocoa researchers, farmers, chocolate manufacturers and international aid organizations to provide superior cocoa varieties and training to Ghanaian small scale farmers to increase their incomes and expand their livelihood opportunities. The project is part of the larger initiative ‘New Business Models for Sustainable Trading Relationships’  with the goal to engage civil society, farmers, and private sector partners to implement new business models that enable small farmers to participate in durable and stable trading relationships and thereby improve their livelihoods. The Ghana Fine Flavour Cocoa Project aims at developing high quality varieties of cocoa that will be recognized worldwide for superior flavour characteristics and return much of the premium to farmers. The project has been developed based on four (4) main components:

  • Identification of fine flavour varieties that can flourish in Ghana’s soil and climate;
  • Propagate and disseminate the identified varieties
  • Train farmers on cultivation, post harvest and business management
  • Development of a transparent supply chain and robust market demand.

The project was initiated from the inspiration of John Scharffenberger, the co-founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, now a brand of The Hershey Company, the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Sustainable Food Laboratory (SFL), together with implementing partners Agro Eco Louis Bolk Institute and the CRIG.[136]  The Hershey Company provides flavour evaluation and advice on the commercial viability of the varieties.  Additional expertise has been provided by Mars Chocolate NA, the Cocoa Research Unit at the University of the West Indies, and Chloe Chocolat, France. As the program enters its commercial phase, the Quality Control Division of the Ghana Cocoa Board will handle the quality inspection of the beans throughout the domestic supply chain, and the product will eventually be exported by the government’s Cocoa Marketing Company to premium markets in the USA, Europe and Japan. 

The goals of the 4-year 2008-2011 project are:

  • to increase incomes of Ghanaian farmers through the direct sale of high quality fine cocoa to gourmet manufacturers;
  • build farmers’ skills in the cultivation, pest and disease control and post-harvest handling of fine flavor cocoa varieties;
  • create and document a sustainable business model based on a differentiated, premium cocoa brand for future scale-up of development benefits.

As part of this project the Food Lab brought together a group of fine chocolate industry experts at the Scharffen Berger/Hershey facilities in December 2009 to evaluate 15 cocoa varieties selected for the Ghana Fine Flavour Cocoa project.  These varietals are well known to yield cocoa with fruity and aromatic flavour notes, highly valued by gourmet manufacturers.  The flavour evaluation identified five cocoa varieties with aromatic and ‘fine’ flavours, of quality suited to make premium chocolate products.  The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) has propagated 24 clones of quality cocoa varieties, which were evaluated in December 2009. The best varieties from these clones will be multiplied and scaled up over time as they are distributed to participating farmers. In addition to having access to quality cocoa germplasm, the farmers are receiving training on cultivation methods and shade management to ensure the successful growth of the fine flavour varieties. Cultivation and farm maintenance methods aim to maximize potential yield while balancing possible disease and pest pressures.

Planting material was provided to the Offinso Fine Flavour Cocoa Farmers Association in Ghana in January 2010.  Thirty of their members have prepared 1 acre each of their existing farms for planting and grafting of the material. Sixty-four acres have been selected in Offinso for 2011 planting/grafting. If there is sufficient material, the CRIG will select an additional twenty acres in the Tafo region.

The Ghana Fine Flavour Cocoa Project aims to harness the growth in demand for fine-flavour cocoa to create a business model that is both commercially viable and has developmental benefits for smallholders. This business model was designed to bring value to each stage of the supply chain. Commitments were secured from key actors in the Ghana cocoa value chain from farm to factory. These are outlined below:

  • Production: Five grower communities in the Ashanti Region are adapting fine-flavour production systems and have created their own farmer organization for management.
  • Technical assistance: CRIG is propagating the varieties and refining the post-harvest protocols necessary for flavour development. The Sustainable Tree Crops Program is collaborating on farmer training and cost-benefit analyses of the model.
  • Quality and export: The Ghana Cocoa Board and their Quality Control Division are supporting the development of the fine flavour supply chain. Discussions are ongoing with potential Licensed Buying Companies to handle the cocoa from village to port.
  • Marketing: Scharffen-Berger and Hershey committed to purchase the initial cocoa crop harvested under the pilot project at a substantial premium over the market price.

In early November 2010, project representatives met with the Ghana Cocoa Board, resulting in a clear expression of commitment and support of the Cocoa Board.  Deputy Director Dr. Adu-Ampomah has formed a sub-committee comprised of the key Cocobod departments to draft strategy for steering the fine flavour program as the external investment winds down in 2011. Cocobod is interested both in the development of new varieties as well as building the capacity  of (CRIG) to assess the quality of existing varieties of standard Ghanaian cocoa.

Project partners have continually informed the various Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) in Ghana of the developing program. LBCs such as Armajaro Ltd are interested in being supply chain partners.

If this project is to be underpinned by GIs, there is the possibility for a “Ghana” umbrella appellation for its cocoa, together with subsidiary appellations for the six cocoa growing regions in Ghana: Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Volta, Central, and Western.

Case Study of Fair Trade Cocoa Cooperative

A predictor for the success of GIs for Ghana’s cocoa is the Fairtrade branding undertaken by KuapaKokoo, a cocoa farmers' cooperative organisation, established in Ghana in 1993. It was formed following the government's liberalisation of internal cocoa marketing in 1992, which, farmers feared, would lead to the entry of private companies into the market with whom they would be unable to compete. The organisation is often cited as a success story in the field of fair trade, its products being used in many Fairtrade-labelled products. It is the largest cooperative in Ghana, and counts 45,000 cocoa growers as members.

The Day Chocolate Company (a UK company, now Divine Chocolate) was set up by KuapaKokoo in 1997. The company uses primarily Kuapacocoa, and the cooperative also holds 45% of Divine Chocolate's stock and the other by Oiko Credit. Today Kuapa has 45000 farmer members in 1100 villages, and provides 10% of Ghana's cocoa supply. Day Chocolate Company sales rose to over £5m in 2004. Between 1993 and 2004 Kuapa received just over $2m in extra Fairtrade premiums. Some was paid to the farmers; some of which went to projects such as the construction of four new schools.[137]


Table 3, Percentage of Fairtrade Export[138]

Year

Fairtrade sales

Total sales (tonnes

tonnes)   Fairtrade sales as % of total

1999

450

19,139

2.4%

2000

850

32,506

2.6%

2001

400

34,388

1.2%

2002

650

37,388

1.7%

2003

1,300

37,108

3.5%

2004

1,800

62,900

2.9%

2005

2,550

40,377

6.3%

2006

2,500

32,275

7.7%

2007

4,250

35,000

12.0%

Lotte “Ghana” Chocolate- An indicator of the value of GIs for Ghana

The Japanese company:  Lotte Co., Ltd has obtained an EU Community Trade Mark for “LOTTE MILK CHOCOLATE Ghana Creamy milk and the richness of cacao New Standard Chocolate” depicted below. This mark is an illustration of the apparent saleability of the Ghana name, although it also exists as an obstacle to any certification or collective mark which might be sought in Europe for the Ghana brand.

 

Trade mark name :

LOTTE MILK CHOCOLATE Ghana Creamy milk and the richness of cacao New Standard Chocolate

 

Trade mark No :

008150922

 

Expiry Date:

11/03/2019

 

Nice Classification:

30

 

   

 

   

 

   

 

   

 

   

 

   
     

Graphic representation

Help

 

 

 

Magnify

Magnify

 


List of goods and services  List of goods and services

Help

 

Nice Classification:

30

List of goods and services

Milk chocolate made from cacao beans produced in the Republic of Ghana.

Owner

Help

 

Name:

Lotte Co., Ltd.

ID No:

304981

Natural or legal person:

Legal entity

Address:

20-1 Ninshi-Shinjuku 3-chome

Post code:

160-0023

Town:

Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Country:

JAPAN

Correspondence address:

Lotte Co., Ltd. 20-1 Ninshi-Shinjuku 3-chome Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023 JAPÓN

 


Table IV

The potential advantages, disadvantages and problems attached to a GI protection

Potential advantages of GIs protection

Advantage

non-existent

low

average

high

very high

widespread access of the producers to the protection

 

 

 

 

X

enhancement of the quality of the product

 

 

 

 

X

improvement in the production process

 

 

X

 

 

signal to the market about the reputation and quality of the product

 

 

 

X

 

better cooperation between producers

 

 

X

 

 

access to new financial resources

 

 

X

 

 

prevention of delocalisation

 

 

X

 

 

prevention of theft of traditional knowledge

 

 

 

X

 

possible combination of the GI protection with other market incentives (e.g. organic certification)

 

 

X

 

 

possibility to charge a premium price

 

 

X

 

 

development of existing markets

 

 

X

 

 

access to new markets

 

 

 

X

 

rural development

 

 

X

 

 

 protection of ecosystems and landscapes

 

 

X

 

 

Advantage

Non-existent

low

average

high

Very high

widespread access of the producers to the protection

 

 

 

 

X

enhancement of the quality of the product

 

 

 

 

X

improvement in the production process

 

 

X

 

 

signal to the market about the reputation and quality of the product

 

 

 

X

 

better cooperation between producers

 

 

X

 

 

access to new financial resources

 

 

X

 

 

prevention of delocalisation

 

 

X

 

 

prevention of theft of traditional knowledge

 

 

 

X

 

possible combination of the GI protection with other market incentives (e.g. organic certification)

 

 

X

 

 

possibility to charge a premium price

 

 

X

 

 

development of existing markets

 

 

X

 

 

access to new markets

 

 

 

X

 

rural development

 

 

X

 

 

 protection of ecosystems and landscapes

 

 

X

 

 

 

Source, Dr. Hans Adu-Dapaah- Director/Chief Research Scientist, CSIR-Crops Research Institute.


Other Significant Ghanaian Products of Interest for GIs Protection

Kente Cloth

Etymology

Kente cloth has its origin with the Akan people. It is a royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance. Kente was the cloth of kings. Over time, the use of kente became more widespread, however its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem in the Akan family and the entire country of Ghana.

The kente is made by the Akan people (including the Asante, Bono, Fante and Nzema). Kente is also produced by Akan groups in Cote d'Ivoire, like the Baoule and Anyin, who trace their ancestry back to Ghana before the rise of the Ashanti Empire. It is worn by other groups like the Ewe and Ga who have been influenced by Akans. It is the best known of all African textiles. Kente comes from the word kenten, which means "basket." The Akan peoples refer to kente as Nwentoma or "woven cloth".

The icon of African cultural heritage around the world, Asantekente is identified by its dazzling, multicolored patterns of bright colors, geometric shapes and bold designs. Kente characterized by weft designs woven into every available block of plain weave is called adweneasa. The Asante peoples of Ghana choose kente cloths as much for their names as their colors and patterns. Although the cloths are identified primarily by the patterns found in the lengthwise (warp) threads, there is often little correlation between appearance and name. Names are derived from several sources, including proverbs, historical events, important chiefs, queen mothers, and plants.

A variety of kente patterns have been invented, each of which has a certain concept or concepts traditionally associated with it. For example, the ObaakofooMmu Man pattern symbolizes democratic rule; Emaa Da, novel creativity and knowledge from experience; and SikaFreMogya, responsibility to share monetary success with one's relations.

Legend has it that kente was first made by two friends who went hunting in a forest and found a spider making its web. The friends stood and watched the spider for two days then returned home and implemented what they had seen. West Africa has had a cloth weaving culture for centuries via the Stripweavemethod but, Akan history tells of the cloth being created independent of outsider influence.

Historical Background

Although Kente, as it is known developed in the 17th Century A.D. by the Ashanti people, it has it roots in a long tradition of weaving in Africa dating back to about 3000 B.C. The origin of Kente is explained with both a legend and historical accounts. A legend has it that a man named Ota Karaban and his friend KwakuAmeyaw from the town of Bonwire (now the leading Kente weaving center in Ashanti), learned the art of weaving by observing a spider weaving its web. Taking a cue from the spider, they wove a strip of raffia fabric and later improved upon their skill. They reported their discovery to their chief Nana Bobie, who in turn reported it to the Asantehene (The Ashanti Chief) at that time. The Asantehene adopted it as a royal cloth and encouraged its development as a cloth of prestige reserved for special occasions.

Historical accounts trace the origin of Kente weaving to early weaving traditions in ancient West African Kingdoms that flourished between 300 A.D. and 1600 A.D. Some historians maintain that Kente is an outgrowth of various weaving traditions that existed in West Africa prior to the formation of the Ashanti Kingdom in the 17th Century. Archaeological research has dated examples of narrow-strip cloths woven in West Africa as early as the 11th Century A.D. and perhaps earlier. Some examples of woven fabrics have been found in the caves of the Bandiagara cliffs in Mali. These cloths used in burial ceremonies, probably, during the medieval Ghana, Mali and Soghai Empires, have technical and aesthetic features similar to many of the narrow-strip cloths in many parts of West Africa. Such cloths which the Akans call "Nsaa" are important components of scared royal paraphernalia in most Akan royal courts today and are known to have been traded with articles of prestige by Akan Kings and chiefs early in the 17th Century. Many features of such cloths appear in the early and later narrow-strip cloths woven in Ashanti. Given these historical accounts, it is believed that the Ashanti craftsmen might have learned weaving skills from other peoples living North and West of them and later developed their unique style of cloth.

While Kente Cloth may have its roots in 11th Century West African weaving traditions, weaving in Africa as a whole was developed earlier. Elsewhere in Africa, archaeological excavations have produced such weaving instruments as spindle whores and loom weights in ancient Meroe Empire which flourished between 500 B.C. and 300 A.D. in other African Civilizations in the Nile Valley such as Kemte (Egypt) and Nubia or Kush, there is an abundance of pictorial and archaeological evidence proving the existence of a weaving industry as early as 3200 B.C.

Materials and Techniques

Weaving apparatus are hand made by the weavers themselves or by others who have specialized in equipment making. A set of weaving apparatus include the loom (Kofi nsadua "a Friday-born loom") which is constructed with wood; a set of two, four or six heddles (asatia, asanan or asasia) attached to treadles with pulleys (awidle) with spools (donowa) inserted in them; shuttles (kurokurowa) with bobbins (awua) inserted in them; beaters (kyeree) and sword stick (tabon). Other supporting equipment are skein winder (fwirdie) and bobbin winder (dadabena), bobbins holder (menkomena) "I walk alone" used for holding bobbins (awua) during warp-laying (nhomatene) and the heddle-making frame (asakuntun or asadua). These apparatus, like motifs in a cloth, have symbolic meanings and are accorded a great deal of respect.

Yarns for weaving come in a variety of forms and qualities. In the past yarns were either spun from locally grown cotton or unraveled from cotton and silk cloths imported from Europe and Asia. Today, factory made cotton, silk or spun rayon yarns are obtained from factories in Ghana and outside Ghana. Various colors of yarns may be combined in particular ways to reflect the symbolic significance of the cloth. Quality of yarns used in weaving a particular cloth reflects on the level of prestige associated with the cloth. Silk yarns are usually considered the most prestigious and are therefore the most highly valued. Silk cloth, in the past was reserved for royalty and the wealthy. An average width of a strip is 4 inches. Several strips are carefully arranged and hand-sewn together (some weavers use sewing machines in recent times) to obtain a desired size. Tradition has it that Kente is woven mainly by men. Women, in the past, played a significant role by spinning raw cotton into yarns, dying yarns into desired colors, sewing strips together to form large cloths and assisting in the marketing of the cloths. Today, factory spun yarns have replaced hand-spun yarns, and therefore, the woman's role is mainly in the area of sewing strips together and marketing the cloth.

Aesthetics and Usages

In its cultural context of use, Kente is more than just a cloth. Like most of Africa's visual art forms, Kente is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious belief, social values and political thought. Originally, its use was reserved for their royalty and limited to special social and sacred functions. When its production increased, it became more accessible to those who could afford to buy it. However, its prestigious status was maintained, and it has continued to be associated with wealth, high social status and cultural sophistication. Today, in spite of the proliferation of both the handwoven and machine printed Kente, the authentic forms of the cloth are still regarded as a symbol of social prestige, nobility and a sense of cultural sophistication.[139]

According to Akan traditional protocol, Kente is reserved for very important and special social or religious occasions. Originally, it was not meant to be used for commonplace daily activities or as an ordinary wear. Its use for making clothing accessories was limited to items deemed scared or special and were used only for special occasions. In many cases the use of Kente has a sacred intent. It may be used as a special gift item during such rites and ceremonies as child naming, puberty, graduation, marriage and soul-washing. It may also be used as a symbol of respect for the departed souls during burial rites and ancestral remembrance ceremonies. its significance as a symbol of prestige, gaiety and glamour is evident during such community celebrations as festivals and commemoration of historical events, when people proudly wear the best of their Kente Cloths to reflect the spirit of the occasion.

There are gender differences in how the cloth is worn. On average, a man's size cloth measures 24 strips (8 ft. wide) and 12 ft. long. men usually wear one piece wrapped around the body, leaving the right shoulder and hand uncovered, in a toga-like style. Some men wear a jumpa, a kind of collarless shirt over which the cloth is wrapped. Women may wear either one large piece or a combination of two or three pieces of varying sizes ranging from 5-12 strips (20 inches to 48 inches wide) and an average of 6 ft. long. These are wrapped around the body with or without a matching blouse. In some cases elderly women with high social status may wear a large piece in toga-like fashion just as men do. Within traditional societies, age, marital, and social standing may determine the size and design of cloth an individual would wear. Social changes and modern living have brought about significant changes in how Kente is used.

Kente Symbolism

Kente is used not only for its beauty but also for its symbolic significance. Each cloth has a name and a meaning; and each of the numerous patterns and motifs has a name and a meaning. Names and meanings are derived from historical events, individual achievements, proverbs, philosophical concepts, oral literature, moral values, social code of conduct of conduct, human behavior and certain attributes of plant and animal life. Patterns and motifs are rendered in geometric abstractions of objects associated with the intended meaning. Sometimes such patterns and motifs are arbitrarily determined, and their forms have no direct structural similarities with the concepts or objects symbolized. Their relationship is primarily conceptual rather than representational.

Patterns and motifs are generally created by weavers who also assign names and meanings to them. Forms, names and means of such patterns and motifs are sometimes given by weavers who may obtain them through dreams and during contemplative moments when they are said to be in communion with the spiritual world. Sometimes, kings and elders may ascribe names to cloths that they specially commission. Generally, names are based on the warp arrangements of the cloth, however, in some instances, both warp and weft arrangements determine a name of a cloth.

There are over 300 different types of cloth designs, each with its name. Each cloth design comes with numerous variations-in color and distribution of motifs. This chart presents names of 54 different cloth designs, and 42 motifs, their literal meanings and their symbolic significance. Symbolism is given interpretations on the basis of the general Akan culture.

Color symbolism within the Akan culture affects the aesthetics of Kente. Colors are chosen for both their visual effect and their symbolic meanings. A weaver's choice of colors for both weft and warp designs, may be dictated either by tradition or by individual aesthetic taste. There are gender differences in color preferences, dictated by tradition, individual aesthetic taste and by spirit of the occasion. As a convention rather than a strict code of dress, women tend to prefer cloths with background or dominant colors that are lighter or tinted, such as white, light yellow, pink, purple, light blue, light green and turquoise. Generally, men tend to prefer cloths with background or dominant colors that are on the shaded side, such as black, dark blue, dark green, maroon, dark yellow, orange and red. Social changes and modern living have, however, led some people to ignore these traditional norms, resulting in color choice based on individual taste.`

Threats to the Kente in the international market.

According to Mrs. Bridget Kyerematen-Darka CEO of an NGO Aid 2 Artisan Ghana, the legal framework for protection of products for the artisans is absent and the policy process is largely a top-bottom/down approach in the result that the artisans, the intended beneficiaries of such policy initiatives are left out. Furthermore, whereas the kente is labour intensive, (typical sole entrepreneurship-firms employing between 5-20 persons with approximately 100,000 persons deriving livelihood from this commodity chain process) there has been a decline in earnings from this trade. There was growth in the 1980s peaking at 14 Million USD in 2001; this has since fallen to 3 Million USD. The decline is attributed to the rise of synthetic versions from China and Vietnam which on average retails in the export markets in Germany, UK, and the rest of the EU and US at an average price of 3.5 USD as compared to Ghana’s 9USD. The aspect of compromised quality from the fabrics militated in this interview and she emphasized the need to protect the product through GIs.

Kenya

Geographical Factors

Kenya is located in East Africa, lying on the equator and bordered by Ethiopia and Southern Sudan to the north, Somalia to the north east, the Indian Ocean to the south east, Tanzania to the South, Lake Victoria to the south west and Uganda and to the west. Relevant to the potential for agriculturally-based GIs is its physical geography and climate. From the coast on the Indian Ocean, the Low plains rise to central highlands. The highlands are bisected by the Great Rift Valley and a fertile plateau lies in the east. The Kenyan Highlands are one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa.

Kenya's climate varies from the tropical coast to temperate inland areas with an arid climate in the north and northeast parts of the country. The climate is moderated by altitude. Rainfall is concentrated in two periods of the year: from March to May, heavy rains, from October to December.

The vegetation is dominated by savannah. Rain forest appears on the slopes of the mountains and along the rivers. In the north the savannah fades into the desert.

Economy

Kenya has a market-based, with some state-owned infrastructure enterprises. The economy is based mainly on agricultural exports and tourism. Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya‟s gross domestic product (GDP), after the service sector (in addition to tourism, the United Nations in Nairobi (UNON) makes a significant contribution to the economy, especially in the fields of services and construction).

The World Bank predicted growth of 4% in 2010 and a potential of 4.9% growth in 2011[140] largely because of expansions in tourism, telecommunications, transport, construction and a recovery in agriculture. The government is generally perceived as investment friendly and has enacted several regulatory reforms to simplify both foreign and local investment. There are also indications that closer integration, through the East Africa Community and attempts to improve Kenya’s infrastructure are contributing to Kenya’s growth momentum, although access to reliable energy supplies and port facilities at the port of Mombasa are identified as matters of importance to sustain this growth.[141]

Some of the structural factors identified by the World Bank as giving “hope for a more sus­tained path of growth in the next decade”[142] are equally relevant to the establishment of GIs-based industries. First, Kenya is home to a growing market of 40 million people and is becoming more closely integrated with the EAC, which offers a market of more than 130 million people, many of which share a common herit­age and language. Second, Kenya’s pri­vate sector remains among the most dynamic in Africa. Thirdly, investments in transport infrastruc­ture are reducing business costs. In 2007, the Kenyan government unveiled Vision 2030, an ambitious economic blueprint with a view of emulating the Asian Economic Tigers.

Agriculture

The agricultural sector dominates Kenya’s economy. About one-half of total agricultural output is non-marketed subsistence production, but agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya's GDP, after the service sector. The principal cash crops are tea, horticultural products, and coffee. Tea and horticultural products (cut flowers) are the main growth sectors and the two most valuable of all of Kenya’s exports. The production of major food staples such as corn is subject to sharp weather-related fluctuations. Tea, coffee, sisal, pyrethrum, corn, and wheat are grown in the fertile highlands. Production is mainly on small African-owned farms formed from the division of formerly European-owned estates. Coconuts, pineapples, cashew nuts, cotton, sugarcane, sisal and corn are grown in the lower-lying areas.


Industry and manufacturing

Although Kenya is the most industrially developed country in East Africa, manufacturing accounts for only 14 percent of GDP. Industrial activity, concentrated around the three largest urban centers, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, is dominated by food-processing industries such as grain milling, beer production, and sugarcane crushing, and the fabrication of consumer goods. There is a substantial and expanding informal sector which engages in small-scale manufacturing of household goods, motor-vehicle parts, and farm implements.

GIs infrastructure in Kenya

Trade Marks are administered by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI). The Managing Director of KIPI administers the industrial property legislation of Kenya, including the Kenyan Trade Marks Act 2002 (TMA). Under the TMA the Managing Director also functions as the Registrar of Trade Marks. The draft Geographical Indications Bill 2010 envisages that the Managing Director will also function as the Registrar of GIs. KIPI is an instrumentality of the Ministry of Industrialisation. The Ministries of Trade and Agriculture participate as stakeholders in the negotiations for a GIs law. The Ministry of Agriculture is playing a significant role in the development of certification marks and GIs for the Kenya Coffee and Tea Boards.

The TMA provides for the registration of distinctive trade marks and like most trade mark laws provides that a mark lacks distinctiveness when it consists of a word or words being according, to its ordinary signification, a geographical name[143]. This exclusion does not apply to certification marks or collective marks. Part VII of the TMA provides for the registration of Certification Marks.  Section 40(1) specifies that a “mark adapted in relation to any goods to distinguish in the course of trade goods certified by any person in respect of origin shall be registrable as a certification trade mark in Part A of the register in respect of those goods in the name, as proprietor thereof, of that  person” provided that a mark shall not be so registrable in the name of a person who carries on a trade in goods of the kind certified. Section 40(7) provides that there shall be deposited at the office of the Registrar in respect of every trade mark registered under s.47 regulations governing their use, which shall include provisions as to the cases in which the proprietor is to certify goods and to authorize the use of the trade mark”.

Part VIIA of the TMA provides for the registration of collective trade marks. Section 40A (5) of the TMA provides that “geographical names or other indications of geographical origin may be registered as collective trade marks or service marks.” Section 40A (1) of the TMA provides that a mark “capable of distinguishing, in the course of trade, the goods or services of persons who are members of an association, from goods or services of persons who are not members of such association, shall on application in the prescribed manner, be registrable as a collective trade mark or service mark in respect of the goods or services in the name of such an association.” Sub-section (2) provides that an application for registration of a collective trade mark “shall be accompanied by a copy of the rules governing the use of the mark.”

The First Schedule to the TMA amplifies the provisions concerning the registration of certification trade marks. It provides that an application for the registration of a mark under section 40 shall be made to the Registrar in writing by the person proposed to be registered as the proprietor thereof. An applicant for the registration of a mark under section 40 shall transmit to the Registrar draft regulations for governing the use thereof in accordance with subsection (7) of that section. The Registrar is required to consider the application with regard to the following matters-

(a) Whether the applicant is competent to certify the goods in respect of which the mark is to be registered;

(b) Whether the draft regulations are satisfactory; and

(c) Whether in all the circumstances the registration applied for would be to the public advantage.

The Registrar may either refuse to accept the application; or accept the application, and approve the regulations either without modification and unconditionally or subject to any conditions or limitations, or to any amendments or modifications of the application or of the regulations, which he thinks requisite having regard to any of the foregoing matters. The balance of the Schedule deals with advertising the application, opposition proceedings, and procedures concerning the variation of the regulations of an applicant.

Kenya is in the process of drafting a Bill on GIs. Drafting commenced in 2001, with the process being initiated by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI). Draft Instructions for a bill on the protection of GIs was prepared in 2001 by KIPI and forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for consideration. Due to other commitments the Attorney General’s Office made no progress on the Draft Instructions and in 2007 they were referred back to KIPI for further consultations with stakeholders in order to incorporate changes that might have been necessitated by the passage of time. In 2009, a “Bill for The Geographical Indications Regulations together with associated Drafting Instructions were published”[144] and the comments of KIPI were communicated to the Attorney General’s Department. These comments were considered by the Attorney General’s Department which on 17 December 2010 issued the Geographical Indications Bill 2010. It is envisaged that, subject to any further comments by stakeholders, this will be presented as a Government Bill when the Parliamentary schedule is favourable.

Section 2 of the Bill defined "geographical indication" as “an indication which identifies a product as originating from a territory, or a region or locality where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the product are exclusively or essentially attributable to its geographical origin”. Under regulation 5(3)(b) of the Regulations accompanying the Bill, “geographical origin” is described as a “geographical environment and the natural or human factors”. Products are defined in s.2 as including “natural, agricultural, food and handicrafts”, which makes the GIs protection envisaged in the Bill wider than that provided in the EU regulations.

Although the Bill provides for the registration of GIs s.5(1) provides that protection is available regardless of registration. However s.5(2) provides that registration under the Act shall be sufficient proof that [the] indication is a geographical indication within the meaning of s.2. Section 8 includes among eligible applicants for GIs protection, associations of producers within the relevant geographical area.  Section 9 sets out the particulars which have to be filed with applications. These include the depiction of the relevant geographical area, and the quality, reputation or other characteristic which is attributable to its origin. Section 15 requires that in the labelling of products, reference should be made to “registered geographical indication”.

Section 33 of the Bill provides for the protection of the GIs of those countries with which Kenya has concluded an agreement.

As the Kenya Government’s current legislative agenda is crowded with constitutional issues and GIs is going to be fairly low down as a legislative priority, it is envisaged that the Bill will be introduced as a Private Member’s Bill in 2011 by Mr Charles Mureithi, a tea farmer and Member of the Kenya Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture.

Domestic Registration History of Kenyan Geographical Marks

A Survey of the Trade Marks Register administered by KIPI indicates that to date the following have been registered as certification marks under the TMA:

“ECHUCHUKA” was registered on 25 September 2006 as a collective mark in class 3 for detergents, cleaning preparations, soaps, perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics and hair lotions/shampoos.[145] The applicant for registration was the Turkana Bio Aloe Organization (Tubae)), located in Loima in Turkana District. The group has 30 members- 25 women and 5 men involved in production of Aloe (aloe turkanensis) products (lotions, soaps and shampoos). Echuchuka means aloe in the Turkana language. The rules filed with the trade mark application forbids the use of the mark by anyone outside TUBAE. Membership of TUBAE is available to any organised and registered Aloe group in the Turkana districts in the Rift Valley. The producers of these products are former herders in northern Kenya who are seeking a new way to make a living as erratic weather and frequent droughts brought on by climate change are making their way of life hard to sustain and the hot and arid lands of northern Kenya support very few crops.[146] Thus far the products have been sold locally.[147]

COFFEE KENYA was registered as a certification mark by the Coffee Board of Kenya on 25 November 2005 in class 30 for red cherry coffee, parchment coffee, clean coffee, roasted and ground coffee.[148] The mark is depicted below:

 

kenya coffee

The rules for the use of the mark require, inter alia, that the consumer coffee packets and containers bearing the mark must contain 100% coffee produced in Kenya and that the Kenya coffee branded with the mark of origin must be manufactured according to the Coffee Industry Code of Practice, subject to certain exceptions, and comply with packaging standards specified by the Coffee Regulations of the Coffee Act.

The Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) on 15 April 2009 obtained registration of a certification mark in classes 16 (printed matter), 25 (clothing and head gear) and 30 (tea) for the “Mark of Origin” depicted below[149]:


Requirements for Use of the Mark of Origin are:

  1. The use of the mark of origin shall be granted solely by TBK upon satisfying the requirements as per the management system of certification (SOP to be developed).
  2. The consumer tea packets and containers bearing the mark must contain 100% tea produced in Kenya.
  3. The Kenya tea branded with the mark of origin must be manufactured according to the Tea Industry Code of Practice (KS 2128). Exceptions may be made for tea grades necessary for production of tea bags or meeting specific market demand. However in all cases, item 2.2 MUST apply.
  4. The Tea Packets and Containers using this mark shall be of the quantity specified in the Tea Regulations 2008 of the Tea Act.
  5. The tea packets and containers bearing the mark must conform to the standards for packets and containers for respective markets and where the standard is not specified, Kenya standard for tea packets and containers (KS 1927:2005) shall apply.
  6. The packets and containers bearing the mark of origin must be packed in premises registered by the Tea Board of Kenya.

The first collective mark registered in Kenya is that for MAASAI/MASAI registered on 25 August 2010 by the Maasai Community Trust in classes 14 (jewellery, precious stones), 18 (leather products), 24 (textile and textile goods, beds and table covers), 25 (clothing and footwear) and 41 (education, provision of training, entertainment, sporting and cultural activities).[150] The Regulations governing the use of rhe mark states that it will be used as a collective mark of guarantee that the products are an authentic product of the Maasai/Masai people. The objectives of the registration, in the first instance is to ensure that the collective mark is not used in a manner that is offensive to the Maasai/Masai community and secondly to build the capacity of the community to manage and govern its natural resources, environment and products through, inter alia, licensing arrangements and the policing of the unauthorised use of the mark. The Regulations provide that the collective mark shall only be used with products that are of Maasai/Masai origin or otherwise connected with the community and they establish a procedure under which applications can be made for a licence to use the mark. Arguably, the Maasai/Masai collective mark is a geographical mark because of the association of the community with Kenya. It must also be acknowledged, that because of the substantial Maasai/Masai community in Tanzania, that country might also be able to establish its rights to this geographical mark.

A search of the USPTO website indicates that this mark will possibly collide with the following Danish-owned mark:


Mark Image

Word Mark

MASAI

Goods and Services

IC 018. US 001 002 003 022 041. G & S: RUCKSACKS, WALLETS, HANDBAGS, TRAVELLING, TRAVELLING CASES, POUCHES, UMBRELLAS IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: CLOTHING, NAMELY, JEANS, TROUSERS, COATS, JACKETS, BLOUSONS, SKIRTS, DRESSES, PANTS, VESTS, WAISTCOATS, HATS, CAPS, GLOVES, COVERALLS, SHIRTS, BLOUSES, SWEATERS, SWEATSHIRTS, T-SHIRTS, SHORTS, BATHING SUITS, UNDERWEAR, SCARVES, BELTS, SOCKS, SHAWLS, SHOES, SANDALS, BOOTS.

   
   

Serial Number

85139714

Filing Date

September 28, 2010

   
   

Owner

(APPLICANT) Masai Clothing Company ApS private limited company DENMARK Esplanaden 18 Copenhagen K DENMARK DK-1263

   
   
   

Live/Dead Indicator

LIVE

 

The OHIM website lists a number of preceding Community Trade Marks for Masai in a number of the same classes of goods as the Kenyan collective mark, including:


masai

   

Magnify

Trade mark No:

003822351

Type of mark:

Figurative

Filing date:

07/05/2004

Date of registration:

16/08/2005

Nice Classification:

12, 41

Status: Registered

Publication of registration

Name of the owner:

DELTA MICS SAS
 

Applicant’s reference:

3023949R0

   

Trade mark basis:

CTM

   
 


 

MASAI

   

 

Trade mark  No:

003636149

Type of mark:

Word

Filing date:

28/01/2004

Date of registration:

24/05/2005

Nice Classification:

14, 18, 35

Status: Registered

Publication of registration

Name of the owner:

Masai Clothing Company ApS
 

Applicant’s reference:

T200400118EUSUS

   

Trade mark basis:

CTM

   

MASAI

   

 

Trade mark No:

000619981

Type of mark:

Word

Filing date:

29/08/1997

Date of registration:

22/02/1999

Nice Classification:

3, 24, 25

Status: Registered

Publication of registration

Name of the owner:

Masai Clothing Company ApS
 

Trade mark basis:

CTM

   

These earlier registrations illustrate the necessity for the registrants of geographical marks in overseas countries to be prepared for expenditures for the monitoring and enforcement of marks.

International Registration History of Kenyan Geographical Marks

Kenya is a signatory of the principal international agreements concerned with IP and with trade marks. These include: Paris Convention, Nairobi Treaty, Madrid Agreement and Protocol, Singapore Treaty and the TRIPS Agreement.

Surveys of the OHIM and USPTO Trade Mark Registers indicate that there has been some interest in registering Kenyan geographical marks.

A number of registrations of Kenyan geographical marks in the USPTO have been abandoned, presumably because of conflicting earlier registrations or because of their descriptiveness. These include:


 

Word Mark

KENYA TEA

Goods

packed Loose Tea, packed Tea bags,ready-to-drink tea, ready-to-drink tea based beverages.

   
   

Filing Date

September 23, 2003

   
   
   
   
   
   

Abandonment Date

October 17, 2004

 

Word Mark

KENYA COFFEE

Goods and Services

roasted coffee, roasted packed coffee, ready-to-drink coffee, ready-to-drink coffee based beverages. FIRST USE: 20020717. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20020901

   

Serial Number

78289765

Filing Date

August 30, 2003

   
   
   
   
   
   

Abandonment Date

September 17, 2004

 

A Canadian applicant filed:

Mark Image

Word Mark

KENYA BRAND COFFEE

Goods and Services

(COFFEE AND COFFEE FILTERS

   
   

Serial Number

78073790

Filing Date

July 13, 2001

   
   

Owner

(APPLICANT) Kenya Brand Coffee Corp. CORPORATION CANADA 1260 Martin Grove Road Rexdale ONTARIO M9W 4X3

   
   
   
   

Abandonment Date

April 10, 2002

 

A Costa Rican applicant filed:

 

Mark Image

Word Mark

KENYA GOLD

Goods and Services

coffee

   
   

Serial Number

75683134

Filing Date

April 14, 1999

   
   

Owner

(APPLICANT) Costa Rican Gold Coffee Company CORPORATION FLORIDA 4034 S.E. Hammock Place Jupiter FLORIDA 33478

   
   
   
   

Abandonment Date

February 3, 2000

 

An expired application from a Kenyan applicant was:

Mark Image

Word Mark

MIMOSA EXTRACT KENMOSA MADE IN KENYA

Goods and Services

(TANNING AGENTS OF VEGETABLE ORIGIN FOR USE IN THE LEATHER PROCESSING INDUSTRY

   
   

Serial Number

73751574

Filing Date

September 12, 1988

   
   
   
   

Registration Date

June 12, 1990

Owner

(REGISTRANT) EAST AFRICAN TANNING EXTRACT COMPANY LIMITED LTD LIAB CO KENYA P.O. BOX 30110 NAIROBI KENYA

   
   
   
   
   

Cancellation Date

December 16, 1996

 

The use of geographical marks has begun to become significant for the marketing of Kenyan products as illustrated by the following Community Trade Mark (CTM) application filed in Europe with OHIM by a cut flower exporter:

 

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Applicant:

Lobelia Farms Limited

ID No:

435077

Natural or legal person:

Legal entity

Address:

Meru/Nanyuki Road, Ngushishi Settlement Scheme 4

Town:

Timau

Country:

Kenya

   
   

Filing date                                                                 09/11/2010

Nice classification

     Classes 21,  31, 35, 39, 44.

 

 

 

 

 
       

 

Swiss-Kenyan Project on GIs (SKGI)

In January 2006, the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) sent a proposal for a technical cooperation project in the field of GIs to the Swiss Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI). Following a feasibility study by an external consultant, the IPI Board of Directors in December 2007 approved a proposal for the Swiss-Kenyan Project on Geographical Indications (SKGI). This project sought to strengthen the economic success of Kenyan products by identifying Kenyan GIs which would enable them to fill new market niches and to achieve higher profits across the entire value-chain. The project also supported the establishment of a functioning GIs protection system in Kenya and to support the country in raising awareness on GIs within EAC member states.

Project outputs were sequenced into three main phases:

In Phase I, the project was to provide expert input to KIPI in order to draft a comprehensive and coherent national GI legislation, support KIPI staff in establishing capacities in the area of GIs and focus on creating national support for a national legislation on GIs.  Phase II was scheduled to start as soon as Phase I was successfully completed (i.e. GI-Instructions on a draft bill in place, expertise in the field of GIs at KIPI, support of all stakeholders). It was to focus on the identification of pilot GIs and to provide expert input to preparing registration documents for certain pilot GIs.

Phase III to start after the successful completion of Phase II, with the development of Kenya into a regional GI pioneer country within the EAC, through the support of GI registration and administrative procedures at KIPI. Secondly, activities within EAC were to take place in raising the awareness of GI protection among Kenya’s neighboring countries.

In parallel with the technical cooperation project, a bilateral agreement on the mutual protection of GIs between Switzerland and Kenya will be negotiated.

The project commenced in 2009, but is in abeyance until Kenya finalises the promulgation of its GIs legislation. A pilot study was conducted to identify products for possible GIs protection. The current ACP-EU project takes this process of identification further in relation to the tea industry.

Kenya’s ‘Friend of GIs’ Status

Kenya has been the leading advocate in Africa for effective protection for GIs at the national and international level for more than 20 years. Prior to the Seattle WTO Ministerial, a submission by Turkey in July 1999 had proposed the extension of the special protection in Article 23 of TRIPS for GIs for wines and spirits to other products.[151] Kenya on Behalf of the African Group endorsed this Turkish proposal and requested that the protection of geographical indications be extended “to other products recognizable by their geographical origins (handicrafts, agro-food products).”[152] In the subsequent long drawn out negotiations on this subject in the TRIPS Council, Kenya has joined with a number of like-minded countries in an informal group "Friends of GIs" to “get a clear mandate confirming negotiations on extension as part of single undertaking of the Doha Round”.[153]


Tea Industry Case study

Introduction

Black tea accounts for around 75% of global production and over 90% of the market in Western countries. Black tea results from leaves that are fully oxidised, while green tea leaves are steamed, rolled and dried without any oxidation. Most green tea is grown in China.  Tea is grown in 36 tropical and semi-tropical countries, 21 of them ACP countries. The six largest producing countries - China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Turkey (in that order) - account for around 80% of world output. Less than half of production is exported, as China and India, in particular, are major consumers as well as producers.

Global tea production reached 3,832,650 tonnes in 2008, a rise of less than 0.3% over 2007. China accounted for 32.8% of world output in 2008, followed by India, 24.1% and Kenya 9.0%. The leading exporters of tea in 2010 were: Kenya 22% Sri Lanka 19% India 10% China 19% Vietnam 7% Indonesia 5% and others 18%.

Table 1: Tea production

Main world producers

Production in 2008 (tonnes)

China

1,257,384

India

922,205

Kenya

345,800

Sri Lanka

318,470

Turkey

198,046

Indonesia

150,851

Malawi

46,000

Uganda

44,923

Tanzania

34,800

Zimbabwe

22,300

Rwanda

19,000

World total

3,832,650

 

A small number of companies dominate the tea industry. They have a presence at almost all stages of the journey of tea from tea bush to tea bag or packet. The companies either grow tea on estates, or buy tea at an early stage of production, and usually carry out the high-value-added blending and packaging (which account for 80% of the retail price), at facilities in the EU and other Western countries.  The largest of the companies, Unilever, grows 35,000 tonnes of tea a year on its estates in Kenya, Tanzania and India, and buys and sells a much larger quantity - 290,000 tonnes - from other estates and sources. Its major brands, which include Lipton, PG Tips and Red Label, are available in more than 100 countries. James Finlay has tea estates in Kenya, Uganda and Sri Lanka, growing and manufacturing over 50,000 tonnes of tea a year. It is also one of the world’s largest tea trading companies.

The Tata Tea group is the world’s second largest global branded tea operation with a presence in over 60 countries. The prominent companies in the group are Tata Tea and the UK-based Tetley group.

Tea is mainly sold by auction. There are two auction centres in African ACP countries: Mombasa, Kenya and Limbe, Malawi. A rival to the African auction centres, the Dubai Tea Trading Centre, was set up in 2005.

Kenya accounts for over half of the tea output in ACP countries and remains the world’s largest tea exporter. Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania are the next largest ACP producers, with Malawi’s production just over one-eighth of Kenya’s.

There is no single world price for tea but rather differing prices at different auctions. Between 1970 and 2002 the price trend was downward, with World Bank figures suggesting that tea prices fell by 44% in real terms over these years. Prices have since bounced back, more than doubling between 2002 and September 2009. They rose from 154 US cents/kg in 2003, to 238 US cents in 2008, and to 318 cents/kg in September 2009. The rise was due to droughts in Sri Lanka and Kenya and also to increased demand.

Table 2: FAO composite prices[154]

Year

US cents/kg

Annual growth rate

2003

152

2.7%

2004

166

9.2%

2005

164

-1.2%

2006

183

11.6%

2007

203

10.9%

2008

238

18.2%

2009 (September)

318

33.6%

 

The Managing Director of the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK), Ms Sicily Kariuki, reported in January 2011 that favourable weather and currencies boosted Kenya’s 2010 tea crop by 27% over the previous year to a record 399 million kgs and export earnings increased by 40%t to 97 billion shillings, taking export earnings past horticulture which brought in 78 billion shillings. In 2009, Kenya produced 314 million kgs that earned 69 billion shillings. The average price for tea sold at the Mombasa auction rose slightly to $2.75 per kg in 2010 from $2.72 in 2009. http://d.ibtimes.com/lg.php?bannerid=2062&campaignid=813&zoneid=1145&loc=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ibtimes.com%2Fdev%2Fprev.htm%3Fwidth%3D0%26id%3D982&cb=e27ba4dc1f&r_id=4ff140083efddebe9e80ecf356ff83ad&r_ts=lh8i1chttp://img.ibtimes.com/www/site/us/images/1px.gifMs Kariuki predicted that production would probably fall to 360 million kgs in 2011 due to unreliable rainfall.

The volume of Kenyan tea sold through Mombasa Auction during the month of May 2010 was 33.1 Million Kgs, which was 47% higher compared to 15.6 Million kgs was sold during the same period in 2009. The average Auction price for Kenyan tea was higher at USD 2.89 per Kg compared to USD 2.36 recorded during the same period of 2009.

Tea Production in Kenya

The main tea growing areas in Kenya are situated in and around the highland areas on both sides of the Great Rift Valley; and astride the Equator within altitudes of between 1500 metres and 2700 metres above the sea level. The tea growing regions in Kenya are endowed with the ideal climate for tea: tropical, volcanic red soils and well distributed rainfall ranging between 1200mm to 1400mm per annum that alternates with long sunny days; contribute to these favourable conditions. Production goes on all round the year with two main peak seasons of high crop between March and June and October and December which coincide with the rain seasons. Kenya tea is grown free of agrochemicals because the ideal environment in which the tea is grown acts as a natural deterrent to pest infestation and diseases.

The main production areas are: Mount Kenya, the Aberdares, and the Nyambene hills in the Central Kenya and the Mau escarpment , Kericho Highlands, Nandi  and Kisii Highlands and the the Cherangani Hills.

Kenya’s teas are made from the upper two leaves and a bud. The young shoots are hand picked in regular cycles ranging from seven to fourteen days. Kenya teas are mainly manufactured using the Cut, Tear and Curl (CTC) method to ensure maximum cuppage per unit weight. Clonal planting materials have been developed by the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) resulting in high yielding well adapted varieties. The selection of planting materials is enhanced by mapping the genetic and environmental conditions; where genotype environment interaction trials are carried out as useful selection criteria for determining clonal genetic potential and adaptation so as to match the clones to specific areas where productivity can be maximized.  The TRFK has developed about 50 varieties.

The tea Industry in Kenya is comprised of two distinct sectors: the plantation sector of large scale tea producers occupying 52,000 ha and the small holders sector of more than half a million growers who are located across tea growing areas in the country, occupying 95.000 ha. The small holder sector factories are managed by the Kenya Tea Development Agency Ltd (KTDA), which operates 58 factories, compared with the plantation sector which operates 38 factories. Tea contributes 4% to the Kenyan GDP and contributes 22% to foreign excahnge earnings. It provides a livelihood to over 3 million persons (10% population).

Unique Characteristics of Kenyan Tea

Kenya tea has certain advantageous characteristics which cannot be replicated elsewhere and which can form the basis of GIs protection:

  1. Kenya tea is free of pests and/or diseases. This means that Kenya tea is produced without use of any agrochemicals. The only non-natural additive is the fertilizer which is used to replenish the soils.
  2. Kenya tea is grown along the Equator which means that the tea receives 12 hours of sunlight throughout the year.
  3. Kenya Tea is grown in areas of altitude between 1500-2700 metres above sea level, receiving 1200-1400mm of rainfall annually, which is spread throughout the year. This makes the supply of Kenya tea consistent throughout the year both in quantity and quality.
  4. Kenya has about 50 varieties of tea, which are developed to suit the seven tea growing regions.
  5. Kenya tea is rich in anti-oxidants which has appeal for health conscious consumers. New varieties are being developed to enhance the chemical properties of the product.
  6. Over 90% of tea from Kenya is hand-picked, compared with other producers where the tea is machine picked. Only the finest top two leaves and the bud are used for tea production. This explains the excellent cuppage and aroma of Kenyan teas.
  7. Over the years Kenya has developed advanced skills in tea production producing a  high quality tea. Its tea factories/producing facilities are certified with the internationally acclaimed standards (ISO 22000).

Tea Exports

The destination of Kenya’s principal tea exports in May 2010 were:

Kenya Tea export volume for the month of May 2010 was 31.0 Million Kgs, 38% higher than the volume recorded in May 2009, which stood at 22.4 Million Kgs.[155] During this month, Kenya tea was exported to thirty seven market destinations worldwide compared to thirty one destinations the same period of last year. Egypt continued to maintain the leading position for Kenya tea exports having imported 7.3 Million Kgs, which accounted for 24% of the total export volume. Other key export markets were Pakistan, which imported 5.7 Million Kgs, Afghanistan (3.9 Million Kgs), UK (3.7 Million Kgs) and Sudan (1.9 Million Kgs). The five traditional export destinations accounted for 74% of Kenya tea export volume while the rest of the markets accounted for 26%. During the month of May 2010, all the five traditional markets recorded significant growth in Kenya tea exports compared with the same period of 2009, with Afghanistan recording the highest increase at 74%. Pakistan and Egypt recorded a growth of 59% and 58% respectively while UK and Sudan registered the least growth of 3% each. Higher export volume for Kenya tea was also recorded in most of the other markets.

The United Arab Emirates emerged as one of the fastest growing destinations for Kenyan tea in 2010 with a 73 percent jump to 22.2 million kgs attributable to incentives such as 60 days free warehousing, an efficient port and good infrastructure, which has made it an attractive blending and redistribution location.

As is indicated below, almost all of these exports are of unbranded tea for blending. If GIs are to be introduced, this will be initially for niche market purchasers.

Administration of the Kenya Tea Industry

The Tea Board of Kenya (TBK), established in 1950 under the Tea Act (Cap 343) of the laws of Kenya is mandated to regulate the tea industry in all aspects of tea growing, research, manufacture, trade and promotion in both the local and the international markets. The Board also disseminates information relating to tea and advises the Government on all policy matters regarding the tea industry through the Ministry of Agriculture. The Board regulates and controls the cultivation of tea; registers tea growers and management agents. It also licenses tea manufacturing factories and regulates and controls the method of manufacture. To assure the local and international markets of sustained safety and quality of the Kenya tea, the Board conducts continuous tea factories compliance audits on tea regulations and guidelines as well as on aspects of good agricultural practices (GAPS), good manufacturing practices (GMPS) and best practices.

Among the key National legislation areas for compliance in safety and quality include;-- 

  • Environmental Management and Coordination Act 1999 on Production, Processing and handling of Tea.
  • Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA), 2007 (Certificate of Registration of a Work Place).
  • The Food, Drug and Chemical Substances (Food Hygiene) Regulations (Cap 254) for the factory and factory Staff handling tea.
  • Kenya Standard  - KS:459;  Standard for Potable Water
  • Kenya Standard  - KS 40;  Standard for Labelling of Pre-packaged foods
  • Kenya Standard - KS 1927; Standard on Specifications for Tea Packets and Containers.
  • Kenya Standard  - KS 1972 ; Standard on bulk packaging of tea  for safety, quality and integrity
  • Kenya Standard -  KS 65 ;   Standard on Black Tea - Specifications 

In addition, the Board encourages the tea factories acquire the ISO certification standards in

  • ISO 9001: 2008 in Quality Management Systems
  • ISO 22000 in Food Safety Management Systems
  • ISO 14000 in Environmental  Management System

The Board may vary, cancel or suspend any license issued to a company if the terms and conditions of the license are violated. The Board monitors compliance on all aspects of tea regulation and control of cultivation and manufacture of tea. The TBK is thus in a good position to co-ordinate a GIs system for tea.

To date, the Board has licensed 62 smallholder-owned factories managed by Kenya Tea Development Agency Ltd and 39 private estate companies. Before issuing of licenses, the Board ensures that no manufacturing over-capacity is created in any tea catchment area, and that any new manufacturer has more than 250 hectares of mature tea bushes to run the factory. The Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) is the technical arm of the TBK. With a mandate  to carry out research on tea and advise growers on the control of pests and diseases, improvement of planting material, general husbandry, yields and quality. 

The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Ltd, incorporated as a private company in June 2000, currently manages 58 tea factories in the smallholder sub-sector serving over 500,000 growers.

The Kenya Tea Growers Association (KTGA), established by large-scale tea producers,  promotes the common interests of the members in the cultivation and manufacture of tea and to promote good industrial relations and sound wage policies for the workers.  The plantation sub-sector maintains 39 tea factories.

The Kenya Union of Small Scale Tea Owners (KUSSTO) is a registered tea farmers’ organization whose main objective is to look after the welfare of small­ scale tea farmers.

The East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA), brings together tea Producers, Brokers, Buyers and Packers and is the auspices under which the Mombasa Tea Auction is conducted. Its primary functions are to:

  • To promote the interests of the tea trade in Africa
  • To foster closer working relations among members
  • To establish facilities for the orderly sale of teas of African origin in a centralized format in the international auctions at Mombasa
  • To facilitate the settlement of disputes within the trade
  • To collect and circulate statistics and trade information and to maintain such records as may be of assistance to members in the conduct of their business affairs
  • To act as a link between the trade, governmental and other related bodies.

The mandate of the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture is to promote and facilitate production of food and agricultural raw materials for food security and incomes; advance agro-based industries and agricultural exports; and enhance sustainable use of land resources as a basis for agricultural enterprises.

Tea Production in Kenya

The history of tea in Kenya dates back to 1903 when a European settler, Mr. G. W. Cain introduced the first tea plants in Limuru area of Central Kenya. The early settlers and the colonial government restricted tea and coffee growing to large-scale farmers and multinationals, ostensibly to maintain quality. With Kenya’s independence in 1963 land reforms opened tea growing to local farmers. Currently, as was mentioned above, there are about 500,000 small-scale tea farmers in Kenya. Pursuant to national tea legislation they are under the control of KTDA. This arrangement has some implications for GIs protection of Kenyan tea. Currently small-scale farmers account for 60% of all the tea produced in Kenya, the balance is produced by the large scale tea plantations under the control of multinationals. However, the returns to the small­ scale farmers have historically been much lower than that for the plantations and other big producers. This is attributed to “the high management fees charged by KTDA, the many taxes imposed on small­ scale tea farming, the high cost of production, the long and inefficient supply chain and general mismanagement.”[156]  Although both the KTDA and the estate tea fetch similar prices on the world markets, the participation of many players who have to get a share and management problems along the KTDA supply chain reduce the payments to small ­scale farmers. Criticism has been made of the management fee charged farmers by the  KTDA, its charges for fertilizer and of its factory building programme of the KTDA funded by loans borne by the farmers. The commission paid out to tea brokers by KTDA are deducted from tea payments to the farmers, who play no role in the setting of commission rates. Consequently a large proportion of earnings end up being used at the KTDA level instead of directly benefiting farmers. As a consequence of this situation, the average return to the small-scale farmer has remained very small with tea factories paying an average of USD 0.21 per Kg of green tea leaf collected from those farmers, whereas Kenyan tea has fetched an average of USD 1.72 per Kg on world markets in the last 8 years. The utilisation of GIs will come with organizational and certification costs, as well as promotional expenses. Given the other overheads which the small scale farmers are carrying their enthusiasm for a GIs approach to the production and marketing of tea would no doubt be conditional upon these costs being covered through increased revenues.

A problem with increasing the amount which can be paid for small scale producers is the fact that tea is that it is a very perishable commodity both before and after processing. Producing high quality tea relies on smooth transport and other infrastructure networks to get the tea quickly to and from the processing factories. The green tea leaf cannot be stored for longer than six hours without damaging its quality, and it is recommended that there is a maximum of three hours interval between plucking and processing for good quality tea. The fact that smallholders grow their tea in geographically dispersed areas obliges them to sell to whichever buyer can process it relatively quickly.

The private companies involved in the production of tea attain higher returns because they are able to attract economies of scale and employ good business practices. They would also be the beneficiaries of any increased revenues from the utilisation of GIs in tea marketing. A means must be devised for cost sharing between the small scale farmers and the plantation sector.

Marketing of Kenyan Tea

The construction of a GIs system for tea in Kenya has to take into account the way in which tea is acquired, processed and marketed, as well as the international tea trading system. The tea supply chain for small scale farmers, depicted below, has 12 cost centres which share the revenue generated from the sale of tea. Tea is acquired from small scale farmers by factories in the areas in which the tea is grown. Value addition on tea starts at the factory where processing and grading are done. After grading, most of the tea is sold in bulk, either directly or through auction.

The Mombasa tea auction absorbs 75% of the tea crop of Kenya, the Kenya Tea Packers limited (KETEPA) takes 7% of the tea, direct sales, (overseas and local) takes 15% and factory door sales takes 3% of total produced tea. There are six auction centres in India, and one each in Sri Lanka (Colombo), Indonesia (Jakarta) and Bangladesh (Chittagong). Chinese tea is sold at commodity fairs in Guangzhou.

There are 12 registered companies who operate as Tea Brokers at the Mombasa Tea Auction. They facilitate the sale of tea on behalf of producers. Their primary functions are to taste tea for the purpose of quality verification and price setting for the respective tea qualities. The tea brokers would obviously have to be appraised of the establishment of a GIs system for teat, so that the various designations can be priced for sale.

A smaller African tea auction operates at Limbe, Malawi. Recently, the Dubai Tea Trading Centre was established, which trades and processes teas from 13 producing countries, including Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, as well as India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal, China and Iran. The centre serves the Middle-East, one of the most important markets for Kenya’s teas. The Centre is reported to be considering the launch of a tea futures market.

Of the current revenues received for tea are less than 3% of the consumer price reflects the work of the labourer. Around 15% of the retail price goes to the plantation and factory, while around 0.3% goes to the auction broker. This means that around 80% of the value is added further on the supply chain and accrues to the exporter, trader and/or manufacturer. A means will have to be established to ensure that some of the enhanced value from GIs returns up the value chain to producers. A particular problem for the establishment of GIs for Kenyan tea is the fact that traditionally Kenya tea has been sold to the market in bulk form. It is currently, used by purchasing tea companies to blend and add taste to cheaper varieties. By selling tea in bulk, often as a generic without branding and packaging, Kenya is missing the opportunity for significantly increased export earnings.

With the growth of the supermarket in Europe and North America the character of tea buying changed quite dramatically in the 1990s. There has been a centralisation of tea buying, increased buying by individual companies and the bypassing of wholesalers with direct links between the tea buyers and tea packers. Although the price of tea is primarily determined by supply and demand, the large corporations can have a huge influence on the world markets by regulating that supply and demand. By the early 1990s the tea market was extremely concentrated: 90% of the Western trade was in the hands of only seven transnational companies and 85% of world production was sold by multinationals. This concentration has since increased. The large companies have such large purchasing power that they can influence the demand (and price) for particular qualities and types of tea. The purchasing strategy of the multinational companies has been to develop blended brands over 70% of the UK market). These blends can contain up to 35 different types of tea. This enables companies to select between sources of supply, differentiated according to price. For an effective GIs strategy markets will have to developed for unblended varieties of Kenyan tea.

The marketing of Kenyan tea based on GIs branding will involve advertising and promotional effort. Currently, the advertising of tea is undertaken primarily by the leading companies. A business plan will have to be developed to interest these companies in Kenyan GIs.

GIs Mapping of Kenyan Tea

The principal tea growing districts in Kenya are indicated in the map below. The Technical Committee on Geographical Indications made up of the Tea Board of Kenya ,Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade, Kenya Tea Development Agency Ltd, Kenya Industrial Property Institute and East Africa Tea Trade Association (EATTA)  reviewed the different aspects of tea production and recommended that organoleptic properties would form a more solid foundation for demarcation of the geographical indications regions. The Chemical, Agronomical and Meteorological properties would build the GIs profile. Information on the organoleptic properties is expected from a joint committee of the Tea Brokers Association and EATTA. Thus far the characteristics of the seven tea growing regions of Kenya and the tea attributable to those characteristics have been identified. These are:

  • Nyambene- Mineral rich soils, ample climate well-endowed rainfall producing a unique cup flavour with distinctive mellow flavour. Principal factories Kiegoi, Michimikuru, Igembe.
  • Meru- Mt Kenya and Mt Kenya forest, NE slopes, Moderate cold weather patterns with ample distribution of rainfall, mineral rich soils produce a range of teas from full-bodied to moderate. Factories: Githongo, Imenti, Kionyo, Kinoro, Weru.
  • Embu- Eastern slopes of Mt Kenya, upper region close to peak. Medium cup depth with smooth round characteristics medium body liquors with a predominantly reddish tint and mild flavour. Factories: Rukuriri, Mungania, Kathangariri, Thumaita.
  • Kirinyaga/Nyeri- Mt Kenya high altitude forest, southern Mt Kenya slopes. Rich mountain soils, ample rain. Optimal concentration of catechanes and other components giving a very desirable tea palate, characterised as medium flavoured with a bright yellowy hue. Factories Kimunye, Kangaita, Mununga, Ndima Ragati
  • Aberdare - Aberdare ranges producing a tea with a moderate body and delicately tangy flavour, with smooth round cup attributes.
  • Mau Escarpment- East of Lake Victoria. All year rainfall conducive to the tea plant. Mellow characteristics creamy cup colour and pungency.
  • Kisii Highlands – lower altitudes and warmer weather producing a coppery creamy  tea with intensely rich pungency.
  • Nandi Hills/Cheryanganyi/Lake Region- producing a tea of unique aroma and golden cup hue. Factories at Chebut, Kapsara, Mudete.

 

This mapping project is expected to be completed within 2011

tea growing districts

 

It should be noted that the sale of teas under GIs is being adopted by Kenya’s competitors in the tea market. For example the Word Mark “DARJEELING” with an associated logo was developed by the Tea Board of India and registered from 1986 onwards in a number of countries, including Canada, Egypt, Japan, the UK and the USA it has been registered as a community collective mark with OHIM. The US certification requires that it be “used by authorized persons, certifies that the tea contains at least 100% tea originating in the Darjeeling region of India and that the blend meets other specifications established by the certifier.”[157] Darjeeling tea was registered in India as a GI in October 2004 as the first domestic GI under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.  The definition of Darjeeling Tea contained in the application[158] specified:

Area: Tea which has been cultivated, grown, produced, manufactured and processed in scheduled tea gardens in the hilly areas of Sardar Sub-division, only hilly areas of Kalimpong Sub-division comprising of Samabeong Tea Estate, Ambiok Tea Estate, Mission Hill Tea Estate and Kumai Tea Estate and Kurseong Sub-division excluding the areas in jurisdiction list 20, 21, 23, 24, 29, 31 and 33 comprising Subtiguri Sub-division of New Chumta Tea Estate, Simulbari and Marionbari Tea Estate of Kurseong Police Station in Kurseong Sub-division of the district of Darjeeling in the State ofWest Bengal, India.

73737696ceylon-tea-symbol-of-quality-77540724Production: The GI application elaborates particular stages in the production of Darjeeling tea, which follows the ‘orthodox’ method for the Camellia sinensis cultivars. These steps include, among others, ‘withering of the leaf’ (slow drying over 14 to 16 hours to remove approx. 65% of moisture), rolling and twisting of the leaf, slow oxidization and fermentation and tea-leaf grading. The latter is based on leaf size and broadly follows three classifications: (a) whole leaf (Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe), (b) Brokens (Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe), and (c) Fannings (Golden Orange Fannings). A panel of tea tasters from the Tea Board of India are involved in confirming the authenticity and quality of the tea.

 

In Sri Lanka, the Lion symbol was developed 20 years ago to identify pure Ceylon Tea. Exporters may use the emblem on the pure Ceylon Tea packs subject to the terms and conditions stipulated by the Sri Lanka Tea Board. The Lion symbol has been registered as a trademark in Sri Lanka and in 67 foreign countries which are important markets for Sri Lanka.

 

Sri Lanka has taken steps to register “Ceylon Tea” and six growing areas as GIs.[159] Initially these names will be protected domestically, with registrations in foreign markets to be undertaken in due course.[160]

Other Industries protectable by GIs[161]

The following Kenyan products have been identified[162] as those which could benefit from GIs protection: Kenya coffee, Kangeta Miraa, Kikuyu grass, Meru potato, Mombassa and Asembo mangoes, Muranga and Kisii bananas, Molo lamb, Kitengela ostrich meat, Omena fish, Mursik milk, Keringet mineral water, Tsavonite and Magadi soda, Naivasha wine, Kakamega Papaya, Kakamenga omukombera and Tilapia fish from Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana as well as the Victoria Nile Perch (Mbuta). Protectable handicrafts would include Lamu doors and chests, Kisii soapstone, Akamba carvings and Maasai attire and beads.

Coffee

The major coffee growing regions in Kenya are the High Plateaus around Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare ranges and the cultivation region includes Mount Kenya West, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Muranga, Nyeri, Ruiru and Thika. The coffee is cultivated at altitudes ranging between 1,500 to 2,100 metres above sea level in a cool wet climate on well-drained volcanic soils. This provides excellent conditions for growing coffees of the “mild Arabica‟ type, well known for its intense flavour, full body, and pleasant aroma. This is in contrast with the Robusta variety which requires a hot wet climate and a lower altitude of up to 1,500 metres.

coffee regions kenya

 

According to the Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK), some 700,000 small farmers are involved in the cultivation of coffee, with 6 million people are working directly or indirectly within the coffee industry. Total annual production has been fluctuating widely due to changing climate as well as socio-economic factors. The highest production was reached in 1987/88 of around 128,926 metric tons. After a period of decline until 2005 production has been increasing. One of the measures taken to achieve higher revenues for farmers was to allow direct sales of coffee (in addition to sales through the auction) by producers, but so far a small quantity of  has been sold that way.

The CBK currently formulates policies to enhance coffee production, processing and marketing, in the country and globally and registers and license coffee operations in the country, including coffee marketing agents, auctioneers and management agents. The CBK has taken a leading role in promoting GIs for coffee. At the beginning of 2010, the CBK launched its “Brand of Origin” for Kenya coffee as a certification mark (see above) to give it a distinct global identity and distinguish it from beans of other origins. A strategic decision has to be taken as to whether working on a GI for Coffee Kenya (benefiting from the reputation that such a name has been achieving on international markets) or rather aim at various GIs based on specific geographical areas (eg Mount Kenya West, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Muranga, Nyeri, Ruiru and Thika).

The characteristics of coffee from these regions are;

  • Mt Kenya west:( Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Muranga, Nyeri, Ruiru and Thika)-  coffee produced in this region is rich in acidity, full bodied, with a sensual aroma and hints of citrus fruits. These characteristics place this coffee amongst the best coffeein the world.
  • Mt Elgon and L. Victoria region (Bungoma, Butere and Nyanza - Kisii) - Coffee from this region has a fruity mild flavour.
  • Mt. Kenya East (Embu, Meru, and some parts of Machakos district) - the volcanic soil of this region is of great depth and fertility on the slopes ensuring good drainage suitable for the finest Arabica coffee.
  • North and South Rift valley (Kitale, West Pokot, Koru, Kericho, Nakuru and Nandi)- .this region contains niche coffee growing areas on its cool high points with well watered soils.

Alternatively, the decision may be taken to focus upon the Kenya AA brand, which is regarded as one of the world's finest coffees. This is full-bodied, complex, and balanced with high-grown acidity, black currant flavour, and floral aroma and pronounced acidity.

Horticultural products

Horticultural products are Kenya’s the second most important export foreign currency earner. Government management agency on the national level is the Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA), a parastatal body established under the Agricultural Act. There is a national association of horticultural exporters, the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), which supports its members in quality control and compliance with good agricultural practices and in promoting their products. However, most horticultural crops in Kenya are international varieties planted with imported seeds, including seeds protected as plant varieties under the UPOV Convention and sold under the name of the variety. There are some local varieties, such as for example Ngoe Mangoes and Voi Oranges, which are exported under their geographical names.

Cut Flowers

Floriculture in Kenya is estimated to employ some 60,000 people directly, and 500,000 people indirectly, through affiliated services to the industry, such as farm inputs, transport, packaging, etc. The total beneficiaries within the sector might be around 2 million (about 7% of the population). Kenya has recently become the EU’s largest source of imports.[163] The main European Union markets are the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Switzerland. In 2008, the total declared FOB value of flower exports was Kshs 40 billion. The most important high quality cut flowers and ornamentals exports are: roses, carnations spray and standard statice, alstromeria and lilies hypericum. The main flower growing areas in Kenya are regions around Lake Naivasha, Kinangop, Nakuru, Mt. Elgon, Kitale, Eldoret, Kericho, Limuru, Kiambu, Athi Plains, Thika, and Mt. Kenya region with a temperate climate prevailing above 1500 m of daytime temperatures from 22 °C - 30 °C and night temperatures from 6 °C - 12 °C.[164]

The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) was established in 1996 to supervise the industry and comprises independent growers and exporters of cut-flowers and ornamentals. The KFC seeks to provide a common platform for growers and exporters and ensure the implementation of acceptable local and international standards. The current KFC membership represents about 50 - 60% of the flowers exported from Kenya. The KFC works closely with the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) to ensure quality control, traceability and compliance with the national Good Agricultural Practices, to carry out promotional activities and to liaise with government and development agencies, media and trade unions.

Over 70% of Kenya‟s cut-flowers get to markets through the large scale Dutch auctions. Dutch wholesalers buy flowers for re-export. Large scale buyers like world‟s leading supermarket chain obtain their stock at the Amsterdam and package and brand the flowers under their own names, with no mention of the origin-based identity.

Fermented Liquors

Papaya Wine  made from made of Papaya (paw-paw) grown in the Lake Baringo region was the first table wine produced by the Kenya Wine Agency Limited (KWAL), which until 1992 was the sole wine producer in Kenya. The basic ingredient of the wine is paw-paw fruits grown between latitude of 0.5 Degree N and 2.5 Degree S in areas of below 2100 meters altitude on well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 – 6.5. The fruits are sourced from one region in Kenya called Baringo. Production processes are clearly defined and documented and the KWAL factory is ISO 9000 certified). Annual production is around 200’000 litres. The export potential  of the wine is confirmed by several international awards. This indicates the potential of Baringo Papaya wine for GIs protection and promotion.

Another possibility for GI protection is Yatta wine manufactured by KWAL from grapes which have been cultivated on the Yatta Plateau of Machakos District since 1986.  This wine is sold under the appellation “Yatta”. Yearly production is around 8’000 litres. Currently sales are to local consumers.

A number of traditional Kenyan beers could be sold under GIs: “Naisho” made from honey and yeast from the sausage plant  is sold under its Maasai name for beer. The Kikuyu and Kamba tribes make the same beer though with different names. The Kikuyu call it “Muratina” or “Karubu”; while the Kamba call it “Karubu”. Kenya has not been using using geographical names for its beers, although Kenya Breweries calls one of its beers “White Cap” that uses the logo of Mount Kenya peak.

Honey

Kenyan honey is of a high quality. Six production zones have been identified: Yatta, Kitui, Baringo, Turkana, Mwingi And West Pokot. The producers are organised within the Kenya Honey Council (KHC) and GIs are explicitly part of its strategy.

Kisii Soapstone

Kisii soapstone is found in an area of around 10 sq km in two districts of Nyanza Province around 400 km NW from Nairobi). The name refers to a geographical area. Reserves are estimated at 7 million tons. Soapstone (also known as steatite or soap-rock) is mainly composed of mineral talc and rich in magnesium. It is used in a variety of ways for handicrafts (sculpturing, carving, stone printing), medical purposes (relief of stomach ache and to stop bleeding in pregnant women), as well as insecticide. Soapstone powder mixed with a binder can be used as raw material for ceramics (instead of clay). When “burned” in a kiln with a temperature between 1100 – 1300 Degrees, soapstone gets extremely hard and resistant. Other applications include roof tiles and the production of electrical insulators, as it can be easily shaped.

Handicrafts produced from Kisii soapstone have a long tradition. Handicrafts have a typical style. Around 90% of the production is exported, mainly to the EU, US, Japan, China, New Zealand and Australia (mostly in form of handicrafts). Some of the soapstone are exported as raw material, processed and then sold as Kisii soapstone artefacts in other countries. There is a local association of soapstone producers KISII Soapstone Carvers Cooperative Society Ltd (KISCO-cop) reportedly with 100 female and 300 male producers. Soapstone processing seems to be main source of revenues in that geographical region. Some of the sculptures and other artworks have received international recognition (e.g. one sculpture was commissioned for the UN-Building in New York).

A feasibility study conducted under the Swiss-Kenya GIs project concludes that protecting Kisii soapstone handicrafts under a GI would be an interesting pilot case.

Wamunyu Handicrafts

The Wamunyu (Mackakos) region about 200 km SE of Nairobi is reputed for its wooden handicrafts.  The name derives from the Wamunyu River. Wamunyu Handicrafts have a typical style and are exported to a number of countries, mainly in Asia. Products are linked to the geographical area, and not to individual artists. They are also sold within the country by traders, including in luxury boutiques and as souvenirs at the airport. Sales prices in Nairobi are already 2 – 3 times higher then in Wamunyu. The use of GIs such as “Wamunyu Handicrafts”, which is already used in the market could help local producers to create higher value for their products.

Kiondo

“Kiondo” is a handbag made from Kenyan sisal. The bags have been made for a number of generations by the Kikuyu (mainly from the southern and western sides of the Mount Kenya) and Kamba (based in the Eastern Province of Kenya). Although the origins of Kiondo are not precisely known, it has been produced by those ethnic groups over several generations.[165] Traditionally, kiondos were used to hold staple foods, such as beans and maize. Now they have evolved into fashion bags, sold in local and regional markets as well as, to some limited extend, in international markets especially through websites selling African products.[166] The main challenge identified in protecting this product under a GI is the lack of an organisation of a producer group that could develop a GI. There is a current campaign for the inclusion of Kiondo in the UNESCO world heritage list of cultural items.[167]

Wild silk

Wild silk is produced by some local communities according to traditional local technique, which was improved with assistance of International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Nairobi. Farmers collect silk worm eggs in the bush and breed them in mosquito net cages. When cocoons are harvested, some of the pupae are allowed to mature and fly back to the acacia bushes. Wild silk is sold as raw material and not yet branded. Wild-silk production is particularly suitable for dry areas, where otherwise agricultural production is difficult. Naturally coloured wild silk from Mwea is of excellent quality and achieves higher prices in the international market than normal silk. Production professes are well documented[168], and the production territory seems to be quite clearly delimitated. UNDP seems to be active promoting wild-silk production and supporting the Mwingi marketplace[169] allowing farmers to sell their products.

Wild silk has been identified as having a high GI potential was recommended for inclusion in the list of pilot GIs to be supported by the Swiss-Kenya GIs project.

Mauritius

Demerara Sugar Case study

Geographical and economic background

Geography

The Republic of Mauritius comprises the island of Mauritius, the island of Rodrigues and a number of uninhabited islands (eg the Agalega Islands and the Cargados Carajos Shoals) and it claims sovereignty over the Tromelin islands and Chagos Archipelago, which includes the Diego Garcia atoll. For the purpose of this study, regard has not been had to these unpopulated islands or to the Tromelin Island with which sovereignty is contested with France, nor to the Chagos Archipelago.

Along with the island of La Réunion which is a distance or around 200 kms to the south west, Mauritius and Rodrigues are part of the Mascarene Islands. This archipelago was constructed by a series of volcanic eruptions under the sea bed. The significance of this formation is that Mauritius and Rodrigues shares with Reunion a common physical geography with similar volcanic soil types and a similar climate. This is of course relevant to any claims which might be made for the protection of geographical indications (GIs).

The population of the Republic of Mauritius in mid-2008 was estimated by the World Bank to be around 1.4 million people with the following ethnic composition: Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%.[170] The population of Rodrigues in 2006 was about 40,000. Most of the inhabitants are of mixed African and French descent. These origins, together with the fact that since the seventeenth century, Mauritius was colonised by the Dutch, French and British has produced a diverse blend of local knowledge.

Economy

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. The World Bank estimated GDP in 2008 to be US$9.3 billion, with an annual growth rate of around 3%, following a decade of growth of around 5% to 6%. The composition of this GDP is services: 64.3%, industry: 29.8%, and agriculture: 5.9%.

The economy rests primarily on tourism, with sugar, textiles and apparel, and financial services in the second rung. The country is expanding into fish processing, information and communications technology, and hospitality and property development. Sugar cane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 15% of export earnings. The government's development strategy is designed to create vertical and horizontal clusters of development in these sectors. Mauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India, South Africa, and China.

The labour force is around 600,000 and employed 36% in construction and industry; 24% services; 14% agriculture and fishing; 16% trade restaurants and hotels; 7% transportation and communication; and 3% finance.

The EU is Mauritius' major trading partner.  It imports the bulk of Mauritius' sugar and a large share of its textiles and clothing items, and supplies around one third of Mauritius' imports.  The major destinations of Mauritian exports are the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.  The sources of imports are diversified.  China has become the biggest single source supplying around 10%, followed by South Africa, and France.

Until recently, Mauritius's major exports, sugar and textiles benefitted substantially from preferential trade agreements. Most of its sugar was exported to the EU under the ACP/EU Sugar Protocol. Mauritian textiles also benefitted from preferential access to EU markets, and from the Multi-Fibre Agreement.  The Sugar Protocol expired on 30 September 2009, the basic guaranteed price for raw sugar, which was negotiated annually was discontinued. The Multi-Fibre Agreement, which was designed to facilitate market access for developing countries terminated in 2005.

The reform of the EU Sugar Regime has resulted in a 36% reduction of the sugar price. This shock to the Mauritian economy has been compounded by rising oil prices and the adverse effect on textile sales caused by the dismantling of the Multifibre Agreement.  This comes at a time when the relevant indicators point to a deterioration of the economy and of public finance. Unemployment rate stands at 10 %, the budget deficit amounts to 6% of GDP while the deficit of the balance of visible trade is Rs 48 billion i.e 1.3 billion €. The overall balance of payments has moved from a surplus of some Rs 5.9 billion in 2002 to a projected deficit of Rs 9.5 billion in 2009. A rising import bill will further aggravate the balance of visible trade and the overall balance of payments. The reduction of the sugar price in the EU means a shortfall in export earnings of 782 M€ over the 2006-2015 period. While tourism is a very promising sector, it depends on the positive externalities of the sugar industry: soil conservation and the prevention of silt deposit in lagoons, greenery and aesthetic effects of cane plantations.

As a Small Island Developing State, Mauritius is particularly vulnerable to adverse conditions arising from climate change, the Global Financial Crisis and the energy crisis. All of these factors are relevant to the development of new markets for Mauritius in which GIs can play a useful role.

In response to these stresses the Government of Mauritius has formulated a number of policies. To deal with the shocks experienced by the sugar industry, it has formulated a multi-annual adaptation strategy in the form of a ten year, 2006-2015, Action Plan to enable the sugar industry to be competitive, viable and sustainable in the long term.  A Blueprint for a Sustainable Diversified Agri-Food Sector Strategy for Mauritius was developed in 2008 by the Ministry of Agro‐Industry and Fisheries. The Blueprint seeks to realize a vision of a Mauritian agri-food system which, by 2015 and beyond, would have been restructured to become: (i) Diverse and multifunctional and playing an enhanced role than hitherto in securing domestic food supply and improving nutrition and health; (ii) Modern and competitive, being sustainable economically, socially and environmentally; (iii) n integrated and enhanced part of the rural/whole socio-economy; and (iv) flexible and responsive to changes in consumer demand.

The President of the Republic in his Address to First Session of the Fourth National Assembly outlining the Government Programme 2005-2010 announced that SMEs will be strengthened in line with the Government’s vision “to create a nation of creative and innovative entrepreneurs” by promoting “a deep entrepreneurial culture”. The primary instrument of SME policy in Mauritius is the Small Enterprises and Handicraft Development Authority established under an Act of 2005 which has established an authority (SEHDA)  which has set up a to assist SMEs.

The National Science and Technology Policy (STIP) of Mauritius was formulated in 2009 by the Mauritius Research Council with the objectives of identifying measures to increase the efficiency of local research and research‐related institutions and to increase the competitiveness of the local industrial sector by promoting the use of technology and innovation. It seeks to devise policies and identify institutions to support the technological transformation, capacity‐building and innovation of enterprises, to improve linkages between the research and industry sectors and enhance national, regional and international dialogue in the area of STI. A National ICT Strategic Plan 2007-2011 was formulated with the view of making ICT the fifth pillar of the economy and transform Mauritius into a Regional ICT Hub.

Mauritius is a member of, inter alia, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).  As an ACP country, it is engaged in the EU-ESA negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). A Trade Agreement (PTA) between Mauritius and Pakistan came into operation 30 November 2007. The next step is for the PTA to develop into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will have IP implications for both countries. In February 2009 Mauritius entered into a Bilateral Economic Agreement with South Africa, which is designed to encourage South African investment in Mauritius. In September 2009 negotiations commenced for a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between Mauritius and the United States.

Legal Infrastructure for GIs Protection in Mauritius

In Mauritius, there has been industrial property legislation dating back to the Nineteenth Century and derived from the British common law tradition. The initial industrial property statutes were the Patents Act 1875 and the Trade Marks Act 1868. As a consequence of its membership of the World Trade Organization Mauritius has been obliged to comply with the TRIPS Agreement and the Patent, Industrial Designs and Trade Marks Act 2002 was enacted as an initial response. Further modification of Mauritius IP legislation has been proposed to comply with the TRIPS Agreement, to incorporate international agreements subsequent to TRIPS and for the purpose of advancing the economic and social development of the country. In April 2009 a WIPO Expert Mission visited Mauritius to advise the Government of the Mauritius to assess the current IP system, identify weaknesses, provide technical support and make concrete proposals with the view to defining specific needs-oriented activities and projects for implementation within a national Intellectual Property Development Plan (IPDP) in such a manner as to enhance Mauritius’ to create, protect and make strategic use of IPR’s and assets for economic growth and development. Its report, dated 26 May 2009 recommended the formulation of a national IP policy, the updating of its IP legislation and the centralisation of its IP administration.[171] A following EU technical assistance mission in August – September 2009 provided a draft national IP policy and draft industrial property and copyright laws.[172]

In an endeavour, particularly to encourage the non-sugar agricultural sector, a Geographical Indications Act was drafted in 2002. This Act has not yet been adopted, largely because of the on-going review of Mauritius’ industrial property legislation. The Act in s.2 defines “geographical indication” as “an indication which identifies a product as originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin”. Section 3(2) provides an act of unfair practice defined in s.3(1) may give rise to a claim in damages. 3(1)(a) provides that the use of “any means in the designation or presentation of a product that indicates or suggests that the product in question originates in a geographical area, other than the true place of origin, in a manner which misleads the public as to the geographical origin of the product”. “Product” is defined in s.2 as “any natural or agricultural product or any product of handicraft or industry”.

Section 4(1) provides that the protection under the Act exists irrespective of whether it has been registered. However, part II of the Act establishes a system of registration. Under s.8(2) an application may be filed with the Head  of the IP Office by “any person carrying on an activity as a producer in the geographical area specified in the application, with respect to the product specified in the application”. Section 9 provides that the application shall specify—

(a) the name, address and nationality of the person filing the application, and the capacity in which the applicant is applying for registration;

(b) the geographical indication for which registration is sought;

(c) the geographical areas to which the geographical indication applies;

(d) the products for which the geographical indication applies; and

(e) the quality, reputation or other characteristic of the products for which the geographical indication is used.

 

Upon registration s11 provides that no person, other than a producer carrying on an activity in the geographical area specified in the Register, shall have the right to use a registered GI in the course of trade with respect to the products specified in the Register, and which possess the quality, reputation or other characteristics specified in the Register.

Other provisions of the Act deal with GIs in relation to wines and spirits, along similar lines to Article 23 of the TRIPS Agreement.

Provisions dealing with the registration of GIs were also included in the Industrial Property Law was prepared for Mauritius in 2009.[173]  Section 239 of this Law prohibited the use of false or misleading GIs in similar terms to Article 22 of the TRIPS Agreement. Section 243 of the Law provided for the registration of GIs in similar terms to the 2002 Act. Section 249 of the Law provided for the conversion of GIs to trademarks.

The Patents, Industrial Designs and Trademarks Act 2002 (the Act) of Mauritius contains its regime for registered trademarks. Section 36(1) provides that the exclusive right to any mark, shall be acquired by registration in accordance with the provisions of the Act. It makes no specific reference to the non-registrability of geographic marks, but s.2(a) requires that for registration a mark shall be capable “of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises”, which in most circumstances would disqualify geographical marks. However, s.44 provides for the registration of collective marks. Section 35(a) defines “collective mark” as any visible sign designated as such in the application for registration and capable of distinguishing the origin or any other common characteristic, including the quality of goods or services, of different enterprises which use the sign under the control of the registered owner of the collective mark”. The Act makes no provision for the registration of certification marks and in this absence and prior to the proclamation of any legislation concerned with registered GIs, the possibility of the registration of collective marks provides the only current possibility for the protection of GIs in Mauritius.

Section 44(2) of the Act provides that any application for registration of a collective mark shall designate the mark as a collective mark and be accompanied by a copy of the terms of the agreement governing the use of the collective mark. Section 44(4) provides for the invalidation of collective marks used in contravention of the terms of the agreement referred to in subsection (2) or where the use is “in a manner liable to deceive any person as to the origin or any other common characteristics of the goods or services concerned.”

Part V of the draft Industrial Property Law 2009 provided for the registration of trademarks, collective marks and certification marks. Relevant to the protection of GIs, s.174(2) of the Law provided that a mark could not be validly registered if it was devoid of any distinctive character and if it consisted of exclusively of “signs or indications which may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, ... geographical origin ... or other characteristics of goods”. Section 200 of the Law provided that the use by a person of a sign indicating the geographical origin of goods could not be regarded as an infringing act, provided the use was “in accordance with honest practices in industrial or commercial matters”.

Division VII of the draft Industrial Property Law 2009 provided for the registration both of collective and certification marks. Section 217(1) defined a collective mark in much the same way as s.44 of the Patents, Industrial Designs and Trademarks Act 2002. An innovation in the 2009 Law was the inclusion of certification marks, defined in s.218 (1) as “a sign used, or intended to be used, to distinguish goods or services- (a) dealt with or provided in the course of trade; and (b) certified by the proprietor of the certification mark in relation to origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics, from other goods or services dealt with or provided in the course of trade but not so certified. Section 218 (2) provides that the application for the registration of a certification mark must designate the sign as a certification mark and shall be accompanied by the Rules governing its use. This provision lends itself to the protection of GIs, in the absence of sui generis legislation dealing with the subject.

General Introduction to the Sugar Industry in Mauritius

Of the annual production of 575 000t of sugar, exports to the EU and the US amounted to 540,000 tonnes and around 8000 tonnes of special sugars was sold to 23 world market destinations with the remainder of the production is available for local consumption. The bulk of local consumption is in the form of white sugar, two thirds of which is for direct use and one third for industrial use.

There are four categories of cane producers: the corporate sector and the very large planters accounting for some 70% of production; the medium and large planters representing some 5% of production; the small planters accounting for some 23% of production and the métayers accounting for some 2% of production The latter generally grow canes in difficult and low yielding regions which are also environmentally sensitive, i.e. “the difficult areas”. The small planters own land which is generally lower yielding than those of the corporate sector.

It should be noted that sugar cane is far more than a cash crop in Mauritius. It has a multifunctional role encompassing the namely direct economic return for all operators, small and large; gainful income for employees; net fund flows for the overall economy; food procurement capacity; reduction of the dependence of the country on imported oil; development and the indirect contributions of preserving the stability of the rural areas; protection of the environment; soil and water conservation; prevention of degradation of the landscape; maintenance of a sustainable agricultural sector. The availability of job opportunities in rural areas has shielded Mauritius from the scourge of a large number of developing countries, i.e. migration of rural people on account of poverty to form the slums of the urban areas. Moreover, the maintenance of some 50% of the population in the rural areas has relieved the country from the problems of urbanisation in a situation where the population density, high by world standards, is 650 persons/km2.

The contribution of the sugar industry to the protection and preservation of the environment is multi-fold, it relates inter alia, to soil conservation, biological control of pests, minimal use of pesticides, the discharge of a minimal pollution load, carbon sequestration, avoidance of imports of fossil fuels and maintenance of a green landscape. Mauritius has a very fragile ecosystem. It is surrounded by a fragile coral reef barrier that protects its lagoon, its marine life and its sandy beaches and the lands of Mauritius have a thin top soil layer. Sugar cane covers more than 40 per cent of the island’s surface area. Sugar cane cultivation enables the establishment of a permanent cover throughout the year protecting against soil erosion while maintaining moisture and increasing organic matter content. Sugarcane cultivation and processing has a relatively low negative impact on the environment it uses relatively low doses of agro-chemicals in comparison with other tropical crops such as fruit and vegetables; it is wind resistant and its strong root system binds the soil. Being a perennial crop, it maintains the soil structure untouched for several successive years and is thus a very effective in controlling soil erosion. If sugarcane were to be replaced with a less stable crop in the steeply sloped marginal areas, then soil erosion and subsequent sedimentation and/or eutrophication problems may occur in downstream reservoirs or lagoons, as nutrients are washed off in top-soils. The same conditions would occur if more agro-chemically intensive crops such as fruits and vegetables were grown instead. Sugarcane is also associated with aesthetic benefits, for example in the greening of islands such as Mauritius for tourism. Thus the sugar industry provides two key assets to tourism: a green landscape and avoidance of pollution of lagoons through soil erosion.

From 1951 the production of sugar was encouraged by marketing arrangements with consuming countries (principally Britain), which had guaranteed prices and markets for the Mauritian crop. Most of its sugar was exported to the EU under the Sugar Protocol of the Lomé Convention, which granted an export quota of 300,000 metric tons, at a price which is generally quite a lot higher than that paid on the world market In 2003, Australia, Brazil and Thailand challenged the legality of the EU Sugar Regime under WTO rules. They argued that the EU’s officially unsubsidized export of sugar exist only because of the high “intervention price” guaranteed to domestic producers under the Common Market Organization. They also argued that this quantity included the 1.6 million tonnes currently imported from ACP and India under the Sugar Protocol. The WTO Panel upheld both complaints and this ruling was confirmed by the WTO Appellate Body in April 2005.

With the termination of ACP-EU Sugar Protocol on 30 September 2009, the basic guaranteed price for raw sugar declined in Mauritius’ European market from 448.80 euros per metric ton in 2009 to 335.20 euros per metric ton in 2010. At the same time the euro declined from 44.41 MUR to 38.44MUR in May 2010, also reducing Mauritian sugar revenues. As from October 2009 a new market access agreement has been implemented by the EU in which a duty free quota for sugar is provided for LDCs both ACP and non-ACP of up to 3.5 million metric tons. Mauritius and Zimbabwe have been admitted to this quota, but are now competing with LDC producers within this quota.

Responding to the various external stresses to its sugar market, Mauritius developed an  Action Plan for the Sugar Industry 1985-1990; Sugar Sector Strategy Plan 2001-2005 and a a Multi Annual Adaptation Strategy (MAAS) 2006-2015 for sugar. The current MAAS[174] seeks to ensure the long term viability and sustainability of the sugar industry and to accommodate rising oil prices through the generation of electricity from bagasse (fibre left after the milling of cane stalks) and the production of ethanol as of all cultivated crops sugar cane is one of the most efficient converter of solar energy into renewable biomass.

The Action Plan and the MAAS, have among their objectives the transformation of the sugar industry from an essentially raw sugar producer to a situation where it produces several types of sugar i.e. raw, special, industrial and white.[175] Some emphasis is placed upon the use of cane in newly commissioned bagasse/coal power plants. Cost reduction is to be achieved through the closure of seven out of the existing eleven factories to realise economies of sale; reduction of the area under sugar cultivation from 72, 000 to 63 000 ha[176]  with a voluntary retirement scheme for those currently involved in the sugar industry. In other words the central focus of the Action Plan and the MAAS is cost reduction.

Absent from the Action Plan and the MAAS is any proposal to maintain the demand for sugar or for capturing a premium price for Mauritian sugar through marketing or product differentiation. The development of a GI for Mauritius Demerara sugar offers the opportunity for market diversification. In the event that the Mauritius Demerara GI manages to maintain or enhance the international, regional or domestic demand for sugar, the proposed decline in the industry may be moderated over the 2006-2015 period. The role of GIs in preserving traditional landscapes and in maintaining rural employment and in maintaining sustainable environmental practices would support this aspect of the MAAS.

The MAAS envisages that the EPA between the Eastern and Southern African region and the EU, coming into effect as from 1 January 2008 creates a new policy space which “could act as a boost to the emerging sectors.”[177] The introduction of a GI for Mauritian Demerara sugar may well be a candidate for a new sector, particularly bearing in mind the sympathy of the EU for GIs development.


Administrative Infrastructure for the Sugar Industry

Since 1984 the Mauritius Sugar Authority, operating under the Ministry of Agriculture, has advised the government regarding sugar policy. In addition, the authority acts as a nexus between the government and the numerous organizations involved in sugar production. These organizations include parastatal, producers', and workers' organizations, as well as extension and research bodies. The private Mauritius Sugar Syndicate, which has offices in London and Brussels, handles all aspects of domestic and foreign sugar marketing, including transportation, finance, insurance, and customs duties. The Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute (MSIRI) conducts research in such areas as plant breeding, entomology, and food-crop agronomy.

Methodology for the Case Study

Interviews were conducted with representatives of: organisations of producers, processors, distributors and exporters from the sugar industry and agriculture (Mauritius Sugar Authority, Mauritius Sugar Syndicate); other qualified experts of the product surveyed and its markets (Association of Horticulture Producers & Exporters, Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture, Mauritius Research Council) and IP bodies and public administrations dealing with the administration of IPRs relating  to products that are already the object of a GI or trademark protection in one form or another) informed by the administration of questionnaires.

The interview and questionnaire data has been combined with documentary information provided by interviewees and organised thematically below, combining the responses of those surveyed.

Definition of the product

Mauritius Demerara Sugar is sugar manufactured from sugar cane grown in Mauritius of the Demerara type, namely, brown sugar made directly from the juice of the sugar cane and noted for its coarse and sticky amber crystals. Demerara sugar is made by partially refining sugar cane extract, whereas most brown sugar is made by adding molasses to fully refined sugar. Most of the sugar which is produced in Mauritius is sold as white refined sugar. In 2009 only 68,440 metric tons of special sugars were produced out of a total production of 467,234 metric tons. Of the special sugars, which are brown unrefined sugars, Demerara predominated, but there are no statistics on the production of Demerara sugar as a specific category.

Local knowledge

The sugar cane plant was introduced in Mauritius in 1639 by Dutch colonisers to produce artisanal rum. The first sugar mill was set up at Villebague in 1745. Subsequent colonial powers (France and then Great Britain) used the slave trade and the indentured labour system to expand and consolidate the industry. At its peak, in 1838 there were 259 sugar mills in Mauritius. In 2006, sugar cane was cultivated over 72 000ha (40% of the island’s area and 80 % of its arable lands).

The respondents surveyed did not consider that sugar was influenced by climate or other natural characteristics, but that the long period of sugar production was identified as contributing to local knowledge about planting and processing of sugar. This local knowledge was identified as particularly important for specialty sugars such as Demerara.

The choice of the GI protection regime for the product under consideration:

What type of protection was sought for “Demerara Mauritius”?

Trademark searches were undertaken in 2008 for the Mauritius Sugar Syndicate for “Demerara Mauritius” with a view to registration internationally. Searches were undertaken for the denominations “Demerara” and “Mauritius” in the International Nice Classification classes 30 and 33 in Austria, Benelux, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and amongst international and EU trademarks. The view was taken by trademark counsel that neither Demerara, nor Mauritius were distinctive enough to be registered.

This was based in part on a notification sent by OHIM to an applicant to register Demerara that it is a sign or indication which has become “customary in the current language or in the bona fide and established practices of the sugar trade” to indicate “brown crystallized sugar from the West Indies and nearby countries”. It pointed out that the mark “also consists exclusively of a sign or indication which may serve in trade to designate goods which may contain Demerara sugar, in particular cereal products.” For these reasons OHIM rejected the mark as being “devoid of any distinctive character”.

It should be noted however that Demerara has been registered as part of a composite mark in Switzerland, UK and under the Madrid system and as a Community Trademark (CTM). The CTM “Demerara Gold” was registered in 2007 by the Guyana Sugar Corporation, Inc in several classes, including for sugar. Finally, “Demerara Brown Cane Sugar” was registered in Bulgaria in 2005 in class 30 for sugar.

The word “Mauritius” despite its geographical connotations has been registered as a mark for coffee, flour, breads, pastries, condiments, chocolate and ice creams in a number of European countries.

However, because of the perceptions of the general descriptiveness of the mark “Demerara Mauritius” the Mauritius Sugar Syndicate was advised not to proceed with a trademark registration, but to apply for a collective CTM and for a collective trademark in Mauritius.

When was this protection applied to the product?

On 02.06.2008 the Controller of the Mauritius IP Office issued a Notice of Acceptance of a collective mark “Demerara Mauritius and logo. Application no. MU/M/08/07639 in classes 30 and 33.

Who took the initiative of developing a GI protection for the product?

The Mauritius Sugar Syndicate (MSS) is the applicant for this collective mark. The period for opposition has expired.

The MSS has not yet developed a considered marketing plan to promote its Demerara through the collective mark. Its marketing priority is given to white refined sugars, which has been its major product and it is currently concentrating on managing the decline of this market and the impact of the EU’s new sugar importing policy which commenced in October 2009. The production of Demerara as a special sugar is being trialled on an experimental basis and no view has yet been formed about the premium prices in sales to be acheved through the collective mark.  

Have different protection regimes been chosen for the same product in its main export markets?

The right to use the name “Demerara” in relation to sugar products had been the subject of litigation in England in the 1913 case Anderson v. Britcher.[178]  The respondent had been charged with unlawfully selling as “Demerara sugar” a sugar that was “cane sugar crystals coloured with an organic dye foreign to genuine Demerara sugar, so that the sugar was not of the quality, substance, or nature of the article demanded by the purchaser.” It was found by a police magistrate, that the sugar was a crystallized cane sugar grown in Mauritius and coloured with dye. The magistrate dismissed the charge, finding that the term “Demerara sugar” was a “generic term applicable to any sugar of the substance, kind, and colour of the sugar in question wherever produced, and that therefore the said sugar was of the nature, substance, and quality of the article demanded by the appellant, the purchaser, and that accordingly the sale was not to his prejudice, and that no offence had been committed by the respondent.” The case was appealed to the Kings Bench Court. In dismissing the appeal, the Court agreed with the magistrate’s view on the genericity of “Demerara” and observed that:

 

It would appear that ‘Demerara sugar’ does not mean sugar having certain qualities peculiar to Demerara sugar, but it means a sugar which is cane sugar and which has a particular colour owing to certain treatment, and it is stated that Demerara sugar as originally produced was white, and probably if a person asked for Demerara sugar and was offered real Demerara sugar in its natural state he would refuse it. This sugar which the appellant got when he asked for Demerara sugar was Demerara sugar in every single particular as understood by everybody who deals with such things, except that it was grown, not in Demerara, but in Mauritius.

It was stated and admitted that with regard to Demerara sugar the word ‘Demerara,’ as applied to sugar, does not mean sugar grown only in Demerara; it means sugar grown in Demerara, or in Grenada, Martinique, or St. Kitts, or Tobago, or Barbados, or Dominics [sic] or in many other islands of the West India group, and therefore the case really is hardly distinguishable from that of a Brussels carpet, which nobody supposes to be necessarily a carpet made in Brussels, or the case of a Cambridge sausage, which I suppose nobody believes to come necessarily from Cambridge.[179]

 

The question of the genericity of litigation has been considered in recent litigation in Ontario and New York concerning the activities of a Canadian importer Bedessee Imports Ltd, and a US importer Bedessee Imports Inc. which from 1984 imported and sold raw cane sugar from Mauritius, under the trade mark “Demerara Gold”.  These activities were a source of concern for Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture, Mr Robert Persaud and the Guyana Sugar Corporation, Inc. (Guysuco). In April 2003 Guysuco launched its first branded sugar for the retail trade, which it also called “Demerara Gold”.   Guysuco began a process of registration of the name or mark “Demerara Gold” in Europe, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Guyana and it has other applications in progress in the West Indies. In October 2003 Guysuco wrote to the principal of the Bedessee corporations, inviting him to submit an application for a distributorship of Guysuco’s “Demerara Gold” product in Canada. Bedessee replied that although he would be happy to buy bulk sugar from Guysuco, and stated the mark “Demerara Gold” was owned and used in Canada by Bedessee Imports Ltd and was not available to Guysuco in Canada and the USA. Also in 2003, Guysuco applied to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office to register the mark, which prompted an opposition by Bedessee, which later applied to register the same mark. Guysuco in turn filed an opposition to Bedessee’s application. Guysuco subsequently abandoned its Canadian application for registration of “Demerara Gold” as its trade mark.

In an action brought in May in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice[180], it was alleged that from June 5, 2009 a bulletin published by Guyana’s Government Information Agency stated that Guysuco would be taking an “aggressive stand with respect to the deceitful use” of its “Demerara Gold” brand by others.[181] It referred to Bedessee’s as having “deceitfully packaged and branded its products”, thereby “duping” Guyanese in North America. These allegations of deception were repeated in a Media Release of June 9, 2009 from the Guyana Ministry of Agriculture which also reflected adversely on the marketing reputation of Bedessee.[182] These statements were also repeated in briefing notes issued on June 19, 2009 for a press conference held by the Agriculture in New York.[183] These statements resulted in and action for defamation brought by Beddessee in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under the Ontario Libel and Slander Act, 1990 against the Minister, Guyusco and various media companies which reported them. The defendants sought to have the case dismissed or stayed. The Minister claimed that that as a functionary of a foreign state acting in his official capacity, with a view to protecting the vital economic interests of the Guyanese state he was immune from the jurisdiction of a Canadian court under the State Immunity Act or in the alternative, if the action was not dismissed, it should be stayed because there is a virtually identical parallel proceeding pending in the State of New York. The motion judge refused to dismiss or stay the case ruling that in relation to the Minister the statements at issue had a stronger nexus to the commercial activities of the Guyanese state, carried on through its wholly-owned state sugar company Guysuco, than they did to the sovereign interest of Guyana in informing and protecting the Diaspora or promoting agricultural activity in general.[184]  As the New York action had not commenced, the motion judge declined to stay the action.[185]

The motion judge’s decision was unsuccessfully appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal on the ground that he should have given primary attention to the nature of those statements, namely, that they were statements by a minister speaking on behalf of the Government of Guyana in the public interest of Guyana. [186] The Court of Appeal agreed with the motion judge’s reasoning, particularly the fact that a lawsuit concerning statements which disparaged the brand of a competitor “was neither an affront to the dignity of the Guyanese state nor an interference with its sovereign functions.”[187]

In being concerned with procedural matters, this litigation did not call into question the correctness of the 1913 ruling in relation to the genericity of the description “Demerara” in relation to sugar.

Thus far, no consideration has been given to the filing of an application for “Demerara Mauritius” as a GI.

The Production and Marketing Chain and the effect of protection

How many producers are there currently active in the production of Demerara Mauritius?

Three different producers of Demerara Sugar with marketing centralised at the MSS. In excess of 20 000 persons are directly employed as sugar growers. Thus, 60 000 persons, one out of every three family in the rural areas, are directly or indirectly involved in the sugar industry. No thought has been given to the allocation of particular cane for Demerara production. On the other hand 5 cooperatives, producing 8000 metric tons obtained Fair Trade Certification for special sugars. A further 25 cooperatives have applied for Fair Trade Certification, to produce 15,000 metric tons of special sugars. Some thought might be given to introducing Demerara Mauritius as a sub-brand.

How has this number evolved since the introduction of trademark protection?

 Evolution has not yet occurred because of the very recent introduction of the collective mark.

What is the typical size of a producer in terms of number of employees?

More than 1,000, less than 3 000. This refers to the production companies. As indicated above, there are many more growers supporting this production.

Has this size evolved since the introduction of the protection?

It has decreased in line with the Sugar Industry Strategic Plan.

Among them, how many producers can be considered as dominant producers?

One of them is dominant

How has this concentration evolved since the introduction of the IP protection?

No significant change

What are approximately their global/individual share of the total production?

70 % of total production

Have these market shares evolved since the introduction of the IP protection?

Market shares are not considered to be related to the availability of protection.

Are there any significant differences among the producers with regard to their selling prices?

None

Is there any existing association or organization of producers?

The Mauritius Sugar Producers Association


Analysis of the market structure

Domestic Markets

What are the main domestic markets for Demerara Mauritius?

Retail market but in negligible quantity

What is the average producer price of the product for the domestic market?

About 0.90 US cent per kilo

Has this price evolved since the introduction of the IP protection?

Yes but no relation to IP protection

What is the average consumer price of the product on the domestic market?

About 1.50 USD per kilo

Has this price evolved since the introduction of the GI protection?

Yes but no relation to IP protection

Has the domestic demand expanded?

No

Export Markets for Demerara

What are the main export markets for the product?

By far the EU market (UK, Germany, Italy etc), than US and other world market destinations

What was, in your opinion, the commercial reputation of the products in their main export markets [non-existent/low/emerging/average/well established/very strong]

Well established in main markets

Has the reputation of the product evolved since the introduction of the GI protection in each of these main export markets?

GI protection not yet established in export markets as it is still being explored.

What share of the production is exported?

All

What is the total value of the exports?

About USD 50 million

Is there any international spot market for the product?

No

Is there any international futures market for the product?

No

What is the average producer price of the product for export (Ex Works)?

About USD 750 per tonne

What are the sales volumes on each of these export markets?

About 60,000 tonnes per annum

Who are the main distributors of the product on each export market?

Packers/Distributors and Industrial users

What are the market shares of the dominant distributors on each of these export markets?

From 30% to 70% of market

Do you know what is the consumer price range of the product on each of the export markets?

From USD 2.50 to 3.50 per kilo

Are there any significant prices variations between the major distributors?

Not much

Are there any significant prices variations over a period of one year?

Not much

Are there any substitutable products to the product considered?

Yes, other sweeteners

What is the size of the global market for the whole set of substitutable products?

Difficult to say but rather modest

What is the size of the market for the whole set of substitutable products on each of the main export markets of the considered product?

Rather limited

Are any of these substitutable products protected by any kind of GI protection?

 To our knowledge, no

What are the costs associated with the GI protection of the product in each of its main export markets?

To our knowledge, very expensive if it has to be in each market

Analysis of the value chain

Who are the intermediaries between the producer and the final consumer (abroad) of the analysed product?

Packers, Traders, Distributors and Industrial users

Have new intermediaries appeared in this value chain since the introduction of the GI protection?

GI still to be established in export markets

What is the typical price of the product at each stage of the value chain?

From twice to thrice the export price

Has this value chain been modified after the introduction of the GI protection?

GI still to be established in export markets

What is the level of competition at each stage of the value chain?

Effective competition

How has this competition evolved at each stage of the value chain since the introduction of the GI protection?

GI still to be established

At what stage of the value chain is the product exported?

After production by sugar mills in Mauritius


Analysis of the economic gains associated with the GI protection

Please rate the following potential gains and advantages associated with GI protection:

Advantage

Non-existent

low

average

high

Very high

widespread access of the producers to the protection

 

 

 

X

 

enhancement of the quality of the product

 

 

 

X

 

improvement in the production process

 

 

 

X

 

signal to the market about the reputation and quality of the product

 

 

 

X

 

better cooperation between producers

 

 

X

 

 

access to new financial resources

 

 

 

X

 

prevention of delocalisation

 

 

 

X

 

prevention of theft of traditional knowledge

 

 

X

 

 

possible combination of the GI protection with other market incentives (e.g. organic certification)

 

 

 

X

 

possibility to charge a premium price

 

 

 

X

 

development of existing markets

 

 

X

 

 

access to new markets

 

 

 

X

 

rural development

 

X

 

 

 

 protection of ecosystems and landscapes

 

X

 

 

 

 

5.3          The analysis of the cost and of the potential disadvantages of the GI protection

Please rate the following potential disadvantages and problems:

Disadvantage

Non-existent

rare

occasional

frequent

Very frequent

difficulty attached to the identification of the specific biological or cultural attributes of the product

 

 

 

 

X

legal and administrative complexity related to the development of a GI

 

 

 

 

X

lack of financial and human resources to engage in GI development;

 

 

 

X

 

difficulties associated with the implementation and management of an appropriate governance structure for the GI

 

 

 

X

 

inability of the GI protection to meaningfully help small producers

 

 

 

X

 

marginalisation of other important products and productions in the region

 

 

X

 

 

risk of appropriation of the economic value created by the GI protection by the transformers and distributors

 

 

 

 

X

generation of economic exclusion on the supply side : exclusion of producers by the definition of the characteristics of the product or by the requirements in terms of labelling, safety and traceability

 

 

 

X

 

generation of economic exclusion on the demand side : denial of access to nutritious and/or traditional goods by local and low-income populations

 

 

X

 

 

possible conflicts on the ownership of the GI, including between the national authorities and the local populations or authorities

 

 

X

 

 

risks to biodiversity conservation

 

X

 

 

 

risk of denaturing the local culture

 

X

 

 

 

 

The suitability of existing international GI protection regimes for the effective protection of African GIs and recommendations for needed changes

What are the main drawbacks associated with the existing international GI protection regimes for the effective protection of African GIs ?

High cost of protection, absence of a centralised protection system

What would be your recommendations to improve the protection of African GIs?

To have a central office for African GIs with more affordable costs

Analysis of the existing sources of information

Do you know any national or international organization that could be an important source of information or research on the products considered and their markets?

No.

Do you know any national or international source of statistical data on the product considered and its markets ?

No

Do you know any article, document or research paper dealing with the product considered and its markets?

No

Please indicate any publicly available document or information source, including websites, that could encompass further details about the GI protection (legal document, presentation of the product, the governance structure etc.)

No

Costs associated with GI introduction and management in Mauritius.

In response to questions about the costs of a GIs regime for Mauritius, respondents indicated that this would depend upon which Government institution would be responsible for running the GIs registration system. The existing Patents and Trade Marks Office was identified as the least expensive option, as it was simply a matter of establishing an additional register and allocating part of the time of an existing trade marks examiner, who would have to receive training.

A second option suggested by stakeholders from the horticultural and agricultural sectors was that the Ministry of agriculture might host the GIs Registry. This is the most expensive option as the Registry would have to be created from scratch.

A third possibility is that a new centralised IP office might be created, which would be responsible for all categories of IP including GIs. This may be simply a transformed Patents and Trade Marks Office. On the other hand it was mentioned that there was some discussion of shifting this Office from its current location in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade to the Ministry of Industry, Science & Research or even to the Ministry of Business, Enterprise & Cooperatives. Mauritius is currently considering the formulation of a National IP Policy, which will include issues around the centralisation of IP administration. Until this policy is formulated, questions about the costs of GIs protection in Mauritius will be speculative.

Other GI Possibilities in Mauritius

With the assistance of stakeholders a number of agricultural products, in addition to Mauritius Demerara sugar have been identified as suitable for GIs protection. A number of these products originate from Rodrigues Island. The main economic activities of Rodrigues are agriculture and fishing. Since its autonomy in 2002, Rodrigues plans to promote itself as an Organic Production island. The island has a rich heritage of traditional food items, which can be produced and marketed with an organic label. Giving a boost to Rodriguan agriculture is one of the main activities defined in the five-year Plan for the Non-Sugar Agricultural Sector in Mauritius.

A 2005 project supported by New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Strengthening the Agro–Processing Capacity of Rodrigues”[188] identified pig farming, and the production of limes and chillis (piments) as suitable agro-industries for development. Respondents have suggested that the marketing of Rodrigues limes and chillis could be supported by GIs, as well as Baie Topaz Red Beans from Rodrigues and Rodrigues honey. Other suggestions for GIs from Mauritius are: Pickled onions, Bois Cheri Tea and Chamarel Coffee, as well as various exotic fruits from both Mauritius and Rodrigues.

The NEPAD project proposed the establishment of the Rodrigues Trade and Marketing Agency (RTMA) to oversee the production and marketing of the products to be produced under the project. The NEPAD project identified as a “solid justification” the fact that “ important market sources already exist” for the products and that “other markets can be found and maintained for the produce by emphasizing on the “Rodrigues Label” as a mark of quality for products manufactured in Rodrigues under agreed and established standards of quality.”[189] The RTMA would also be in a very good position to administer any GIs which are developed for the marketing of Rodrigues’ products.

Additionally, the NEPAD project proposes the strengthening of the Rodrigues farmers’ association:  Fédération des Eleveurs et Planteurs de Rodrigues (FEPER). It suggests the creation of separate associations for each product (filière) under the supervision of the FEPER. Each member association will have responsibility for ensuring that production/farming takes place in line with procedures and farming techniques recommended by the DoA. The latter’s Agricultural Services will be called upon to play a key role to support the federations of farmers. The associations will become the fundamental pillars for smallholders and, with the support of the Agricultural Services, will provide a diverse range of services such as input supplies, training and technical assistance, technology transfer and so forth. They will also offer market information, support in production and marketing planning, laboratory services, access to transport facilities for those situated in remote regions, and legal and accounting support.

Piment Rodrigues

Several varieties of chillies are grown in Rodrigues but the most famous one is the small chilli traditionally known as Piment Martin. It has a very high market value on both local and export market. It is processed in different type of products such as in brine, pickles, paste and sauce. However, during the last 15 years, production has decreased considerably from 1860 kg in year 1990 to only 700 kg in 2005. This decrease is due mainly to: cross breeding with imported varieties; unavailability of good quality seed; prolonged drought periods and pests and diseases, mainly mites. Chilli cultivation is done in backyards. Agro-processors (mostly households and small cooperative societies) usually source their chilli requirements directly from growers. Middlemen are also active in collecting fresh chillies for export to Mauritius.

A UNDP Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme project is the establishment of a chilli village in Baladirou.[190] Fishing is the main economic activity of the families of Baladirou. Fish catches in the lagoon of Baladirou have been declining thereby reducing the revenue for the families. The village committee of Baladirou with the assistance of the Mauritius Commission for Agriculture is developing a commercial chilli production project (chilli village) for 47 fishers in the village. The beneficiaries will do the production of chilli and the RTMC will do marketing.

The project aims at re-deploying 47 fishers into sustainable chilli production, identification and geographical characterization of the variety. This will help to maintain the purity of the local chilli and identify ways for further research on the variety. Part of the project will involve the development of a GI label to assist in the marketing of the product, which will be marketed by RTMC. In addition to the production of chilli, the beneficiaries will have the chance to be trained in composting. The project is a good example of sustainable agriculture for it is giving the villagers of Baladirou the chance to preserve and improve the productivity of agricultural lands in their village. Baladirou is situated in a dry part of the island where water is very scarce. This project will permit the development of dry farming there and also allow the beneficiaries to adopt rainwater-harvesting techniques (rooftop and runoff) for irrigation as water is a major problem in this village.

This project offers the 47 fishers of Baladirou a chance to have an alternative economic activity other than fishing. The will reduce pressure in the lagoon while continuing to enjoy a decent life through alternative revenue.

The setting up of the chilli village at Baladirou will serve as an example to develop a second chilli village which has already been identifed at Mt du Sable where another 40 families will be concerned. This second village will put an additional area of 3 Ha of abandoned agricultural land under chilli production.

Rodrigues Limes

Fresh limes have an important market in Mauritius where they are appreciated because of its unique features like size, taste, juice content and its use in religious festivals. Over the years, Rodriguans have developed exclusive recipes of ‘piment–limon’ which are green pickled lemons ground with chillis and ‘aigre–doux limon’. These recipes are identified in the NEPAD project as holding promising potential for export, provided they are produced in accordance with international norms and standards.[191] Pickled limes are identified as having good marketable potential in Europe.

Baie Topaz Red Beans

The Association des Planteurs Haricot de L'ile Rodrigues, a non-government Organization, in July 2008 received a grant from UNDP to improve local Red Bean Production in Baie Topaz, Rodrigues Island.[192] Local red bean pulse is one of the main traditional cash crops being grown by the planters of Rodrigues. It is a French kidney bean type that through years of production and selection has developed specific Rodriguan characteristics, in taste and adaptation to a range of agro-climatic conditions that makes it very popular amongst the local people and visitors. The produce fetches a high price on the market, compared to the price of the imported bean pulse (2 to 3 times higher).

This project consists of providing the planters in the village of Baie Topaz and its vicinity with facilities for them to increase and improve their production, with less reliance on the services offered by the Commission for Agriculture, excluding Extension Services. The project will target some 60 bean planters in the region. Bean is the main cash crop of these planters and it is planted every year at almost the same period. Only one crop is planted per year. There are agricultural lands still available in this region for agricultural activities. The project will be used as a boost to encourage more planters to get involved in bean production and for those already involved, to increase their area under production and their yield. The overall objective is to increase production for the local market and for export.
The UNDP project aims at improving the production capacity of the bean producers in the region of Baie Topaz by making them more autonomous in their activities. Presently, they are depending on a great extent on the Agricultural Services for the preparation of their land as well as for pests and diseases control. 

The project is in line with the policy of the Commission for Agriculture to increase area of land under production, to increase yield and the “filière” approach. Moreover since the action is region specific, the impact of the project will be more visible and this can serve as example for development of the other filières and key crops identified by the Commission (such as local lemon, chilli, onion, fowl). The project is also in line with UNDP’s Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme’s promotion of sustainable agriculture and encouragement of the use of local varieties and breeds.

The origin of the bean that is being planted is not currently known, so the project aims at identification and characterization of the variety which will help to maintain the purity of the local bean and identify ways for further research on the variety. This will be important if the product is going to be marketed with a Rodriguan GI and as an organic product.

The Association des Planteurs d’Haricot de Rodrigues  as the only Rodriguan association of of Red Bean growers, would be the ideal body to administer a GI. Among its objectives are:  promoting the use of the product and promoting and safeguarding interests of its members, pertaining to the marketing of their products.

Bois Cheri Tea

A French priest, Father Galloys, introduced the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, to Mauritius in 1760. Pierre Poivre planted it on a large scale in 1770. But, till the arrival of the British it remained little more than a museum plant. In the 19th century Sir John Pope Hennessy revived local interest in tea cultivation and consequently tea plantation was started at Nouvelle France and at Chamarel. By the end of the century, 190 hectares had been planted. Gradually, more people became interested in tea cultivation and there was a net increase in private plantations and new factories were built. By World War II, 850 hectares were under tea, five factories had been established and production for local consumption was in full swing.

In 1955, the Government launched the Tea Smallholding Scheme and the Project Planters Scheme. The aim of the Smallholding project was to establish tea plantations on Crown Lands for eventual long-term leasing at nominal rental rates to smallholders grouped in tea cooperative societies. The Project Planters’ Scheme aimed at leasing state lands to prospective planters who were agreeable to establish tea plantations at their own costs. Tea villages were established by the Government to encourage the smallholders to live in vicinity of the tea plantations.

The Tea Control Board was established to regulate and control the activities of the expanding Tea Industry, the Tea Industry Control Ordinance 1959 which came in force in February 1960. The Tea Development Authority (TDA) was created to consolidate smallholders scheme on state lands and to develop the scheme geographically in other areas. By 1975, the TDA established 1234 additional hectares of tea plantation. People joined the TDA as trainees to eventually cultivate tea as smallholders. In July 1986, the Mauritius Tea Factories Co Ltd was instituted to take over the tea manufacturing and marketing activites from the TDA. The TDA's role was restricted to management of smallholders and monitoring of leaf produced by this category of tea planters.

Currently some 1414 planters cultivate an area of 709 hectares under tea.  The local production of tea annually ranges from 1300 to 1600 tonnes.  Three tea factories - Bois Cheri, Corson and La Chartreuse are in operation.  The average local consumption is 1500 tonnes annually.  This production is domestic oriented.  The average quantity of tea exported is around 40 tonnes annually.  Income derived from these exports has been around Rs 6 M.  Mauritian producers consider that they cannot easily compete with the major tea producing countries in the world such as India, China, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Indonesia as its production costs are high and the quality of tea produced locally falls in the category of low medium which is generally used as a filler in the tea blending process.

The Government through the Tea Board protects the local tea industry. In fact the Board, as a general principle, does not allow the import of black tea except minor amount for blending purposes. An importer of tea has to pay for an import licence fee of Rs 5,000/- per consignment for any type of tea imported, an import levy of 17% of CIF value landed Mauritius and a customs duty of 40%. With the general trend of liberalization of world trade, the future of the local tea industry will depend on how long this protection can be maintained, or whether local teas can be exported.

To date no consideration has been given to whether Mauritian tea can be promoted through the use of GIs, although respondents identified Bois Cherie tea as a distinctive variety which could command a niche market.

Exotic Fruits

Commercial production of fruits in Mauritius is mainly restricted to pineapple, banana and litchi and undertaken mostly on land that was not suitable for sugarcane, and with limited utilisation of resources such as irrigation and know-how. The Ministry of Agro Industry and Fisheries’, Blueprint for a Sustainable Diversified Agri-Food Sector Strategy for Mauritius 2008 – 2015 reports that numerous opportunities exist for expansion because:

  • Fruit consumption is still low in Mauritius (estimated at 30 kg/capita per annum) compared to European intakes (45-90 kg).
  • The climatic and soil conditions of Mauritius allow the growth of up to 50 fruit species, with minimal inputs.
  • Two fruit species, pineapple and litchi, already enjoy a good name on the European market.
  • The tourist industry which is already accommodating 850 000 tourists annually and targeting 2 M in the coming 3 years, constitutes a significant domestic market for fresh fruits, fruit juices and processed fruits.
  • Many fruit species are already growing with minimal chemical inputs throughout the island and can be exploited as bio-fruits for niche/ethnic markets or for innovative processed products.
  • New promising germplasm, production techniques, postharvest and processing technologies are now available for commercial exploitation of locally adapted fruit species.
  • The small size of Mauritius can be a strength in the export of fresh fruits because any commodity harvested in the morning can be air freighted on the same day and can reach most overseas destinations within hours, thus conserving the freshness of the produce. The opening of Mauritian air space to new and more airlines expands access opportunities for new niche markets of high purchasing power (e.g. Dubai).
  • A number of Mauritian fruits have been identified as being particularly healthy not only as a good source of vitamins but also of anti-oxidants; some local fruits are even attributed medicinal properties e.g jamoon (jamblon); guava; passion fruit, star fruit, amongst others.

The production of fruits also offer a great potential for import substitution as the growing number of tourists appear to prefer exotic, indigenous Mauritian fruits compared with the imported alternatives.

The Agri-Food Sector Strategy envisages the development of the fruit sector through the optimum utilisation of suitable land and other inputs, setting up private nurseries to improve breeding of varieties and breeding and grafting techniques. What has not yet been incorporated in this strategy are methods for the effective promotion of Mauritian fruits through a GIs system.

Among the fruits which have been identified as having significant export potential are: litchi, bananas, pineapple, Additionally, the following underutilised fruit types have also been identified as suitable for development for export: the annona group (ate, coeur de boeuf, atemoya, corrosol); papaya; mango; starfruit; guava; avocado; passion fruit; strawberry; acerola, etc; and neglected ones such as tamarind, jambelon, jambos, jamalac, jamrosat, jujube, bergamotte, bilimbi, coeur demoiselle, fig, pomegranate, breadfruit, jackfruit, mulberry, jaboticaba, local cherries, vavangue, local olive, loquat, pamplemousse.

It is envisaged that under the Agri-Food Sector Strategy a targeted area of 100 ha will be provided for these minor fruit species, in addition to establishing a germplasm collection with a view to developing production of around 3 000 tons of exotic fruits by 2015. The potential of producing organic fruits and vegetables for niche markets, tourist industry, the agro-processing sector and the export market exists in Mauritius. Organic production can help differentiate its export of fruits and to access viable and value-added markets to benefit from higher prices. The major constraints in developing organic production locally are the absence of an organic production zone and the absence of a national organic food inspection and certification system. A Mauritian GI system could underpin this production, with the body responsible for the management of the relevant GIs providing the inspection and certification system.

Tai So Litchi

Litchis were introduced into Mauritius in the early 19th Century and until recently have been grown in private gardens for local consumption. However, an export trade has been developing in recent years. Some 10 growers in 2010 produced around 50 metric tons, of which 60% were exported mainly to Europe, but with sales also into the Middle East. The leading co-operative of producers is the Litchi du Parasis Maurice Cooperative Society Ltd, which is aiming at an annual production of 3000 metric tons.

Main competitors are producers in Réunion, Madagascar and South Africa. GIs protection has not yet been sought, largely because of the smallness of the current trade and the perceived expense of protection. A particular problem which needs to be overcome is the fact that the Mauritian Tai So Litchi is indistinguishable from that grown in Réunion, so any GI would have to be shared with France. Apparently the litchi grown on volcanic soils is distinguishable from those grown elsewhere.

Ornamentals and Cut Flowers

Ornamental crop production is a developing sector in Mauritius, dominated mainly by Anthurium of which 294t of blooms were exported in 2006, for an export value of Rs 96 M. However, a lot of interest has been shown in recent years in the production of other ornamentals such as Gerbera, Rose, Orchids, Foliage species, Heliconia, Strelitzia, Hanging lobster claw, Alpinia, Gladiolus, Lilium and various seasonal flowers. In 2005 the export of cut flowers and foliage was Rs 100 M while the import of ornamental crop species was valued at Rs 8.6 M (2004). The Agri-Food Sector Strategy proposes the expansion of this industry “through the empowerment of farmers, the provision of infrastructure facilities for intensive cultivation and additional technical know-how.” Not mentioned in the Strategy is the promotion of this sector through marketing or promotion. The deployment of appropriate GIs would be of assistance in this regard.

 Rodrigues Honey

Another product with potential for GIs promotion is Rodrigues honey. The Minister of Agro Industry and Fisheries has reported that currently in Rodrigues the honey sector comprises 190 bee keepers keeping a total of 2300 colonies which produce some 25 tonnes of honey per year.[193] Rodriguan honey has been recognised as being of very superior quality. Rodrigues has the potential to increase capacity because of the excellent climatic conditions combined with a pest and disease free environment. It is targeting a production of 75 tonnes and a maximum of 3000 hives by year 2015. The Government is providing capacity building assistance to beekeepers, in the areas of production and innovation, eg exploring the development of citrus and eucalyptus honeys. The Rodrigues Trade and Marketing Company is exploring the global marketing possibilities of this honey. The development of a GI to assist this marketing is a logical next step.

Saint Aubin Rhum

As was pointed out in the sugar case study, sugar cane was first introduced into Mauritius by  Dutch colonists in 1638 as the basis for the production of spirits. Originally it was cultivated for the production of “arrack”, a precursor to rum. It was 60 years after that date that the first proper sugar was produced. The following French and English administrations then concentrated on sugar production. It was not until 1850 that the local distillation of rum in Mauritius was proposed.

One of the three local distilleries is St Aubin. This was a sugar plantation from1819 but recently commenced making rhum. Distillation is carried out once in an alembic still with the first cane pressing only being used. This technique to produce rhum agricole produces a flavour profile which is very different to the industrial production of rum using molasses.  St Aubin has a distinct nose with sweet sugar cane, grass and herby aromas.

The production company, Saint Aubin Ltée produces four rhum varieties, utilising Mauritian features:  Rhum St Aubin 1819 á la vanilla, Rhum St Aubin 1819 au Café de Chamarel, Rhum St Aubin 1819 aux épices. Each of these varieties has GIs potential.

Café de Chamarel

Coffee was originally brought to Mauritius by the French East India Company in the 18th Century. One small plantation supplies the only local coffee, Café Chamarel. This has a distinctive taste and has been identified by respondents as another possibility for Gis protection.

Nigeria

Background/Introduction

Federal Republic of Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic comprising thirty-six states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. The three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. The population is split half and half between Muslims and Christians with a very small minority who practice traditional religions. The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined by Flora Shaw, the future wife of Captain Fredrick Lugard, a British colonial administrator, in the late 19th century.[194]

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the seventh most populous country in the world, and the most populous country in the world in which the majority of the population is black. It is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The economy of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing in the world, with the International Monetary Fund projecting a growth of 6% in 2011.[195]

Geography and Climate of Nigeria

 Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923,768 km2 making it the world's 32nd-largest country after Tanzania. It shares a 4,047 kilometres border with Benin (773 km), Niger (1497 km), Chad (87 km), Cameroon (1690 km), and has a coastline of at least 853 km. Nigeria lies between latitudes 4° and 14°N, and longitudes 2° and 15°E.

The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419 m. The main rivers are the Niger and the Benue River which converge[196] and empty into the Niger Delta, one of the world's largest river deltas and the location of a large area of Central African Mangroves. Nigeria is also an important center for biodiversity. It is widely believed that the areas surrounding Calabar, Cross River State, contain the world's largest diversity of butterflies. The drill monkey is only found in the wild in Southeast Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon.[197]

The far south is defined by its tropical rainforest climate, where annual rainfall is 1,524 to 2,032 mm a year. In the southeast stand the Obudu Plateau. Coastal plains are found in both the southwest and the southeast. This forest zone's most southerly portion is defined as salt water swamp, also known as a mangrove swamp because of the large amount of mangroves in the area. North of this is fresh water swamp, containing different vegetation from the salt water swamp, and north of that is rain forest.

Nigeria's largest topographical region is that of the valleys of the Niger and Benue River valleys. To the southwest of the Niger there is "rugged" highland, and to the southeast of the Benue are hills and mountains which forms the Mambilla Plateau, the highest Plateau in Nigeria. The plateau extends to the border with Cameroon; this montane land is part of the Bamenda Highlands in Cameroon. The area between the far south and the far north is savannah[198], and rainfall is between 508 and 1,524 mm per year. The savannah zone's three categories are Guinean forest-savanna mosaic, plains of tall grass which are interrupted by trees and the most common across the country: Sudan savannah, similar but with "shorter grasses and shorter trees; and Sahel savannah, comprised patches of grass and sand, found in the northeast. To the north is the Sahel with its almost desert-like climate, where rain is less than 508 mm per year and the Sahara Desert is fast approaching. In the dry north-east corner of the country lies Lake Chad, which Nigeria shares with Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Political and Constitutional Developments of Modern Nigeria

In 1885, British claims to a West African sphere of influence received international recognition, and in the following year the Royal Niger Company was chartered under the leadership of Sir George Taubman Goldie. In 1900 the company's territory came under the control of the British government, which moved to consolidate its hold over the area of modern Nigeria. On January 1, 1901, Nigeria became a British protectorate, part of the British Empire. Many wars against subjugation had been fought by the states of what later became Nigeria against the British Empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

In 1914, the Niger area was formally united as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and the development of a modern economy proceeded more rapidly in the south than in the north, creating a divide whose consequences have been felt in Nigeria's political life ever since. Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism, successive constitutions legislated by the colonial government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative and increasingly federal basis. On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

Economy and Population

Nigeria began economic reforms in 2008 with a view to diversifying its economy from an overdependence on oil, which provided 95% of foreign exchange earnings and about 80% of budgetary revenues. Nigeria’s GDP purchasing power parity is estimated at   $369.8 billion with the country comparison to the world at number 32. The GDP- real growth rate in 2010 was put at 6.8%. The GDP - per capita purchasing power parity is estimated at $2,400 and the country comparison to the world at number 182. The GDP composition by sector -agriculture: 31.9%, industry: 32.9%, services: 35.2%.The labor force is 48.33 million and the country’s comparison to the world at number 11. Labor force by occupation- agriculture 70%, industry 10%, services 20%. Unemployment rate 4.9%. The commercial bank prime lending rate stands at 18.36%. Nigeria’s budget revenues stand at $18.16 billion and its expenditures at $29.55 billion. Its public debt is 13.4% of GDP and the country comparison to the world is 120.[199]

President Jonathan unveiled a power sector blueprint that includes privatization of the state-run electricity generation and distribution facilities. The government is also is working towards developing stronger public-private partnerships for infrastructure and in particular the road sector. Nigeria's financial sector was hurt by the global financial and economic crises and the Central Bank governor has taken measures to strengthen the sector.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa but exactly how populous is a subject of speculation. The United Nations estimates that the population in 2009 was at 154,729,000, distributed as 51.7% rural and 48.3% urban, and with a population density of 167.5 people per square kilometer. National census results in the past few decades have been disputed. The results of the most recent census were released in December 2006 and gave a population of 140,003,542. The only breakdown available was by gender: males numbered 71,709,859, females numbered 68,293,080. Nigeria has been undergoing explosive population growth and one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world. By their projections, Nigeria is one of eight countries expected to account collectively for half of the world's total population increase from 2005–2050. According to current data, one out of every four Africans is Nigerian. Presently, Nigeria is the eighth most populous country in the world, and even conservative estimates conclude that more than 20% of the world's black population lives in Nigeria. 2006 estimates put 42.3% of the population is between 0–14 years of age, while 54.6% is between 15–65; the birth rate is significantly higher than the death rate, at 40.4 and 16.9 per 1000 people respectively.[200]

Legal & Policy Framework for GIs in Nigeria

For much of the post-independence era, Nigeria’s  trade policy formulation and implementation, even though drawn from the global context, was largely driven by governmental and inter-governmental agencies and disseminated through the various public sector agencies whose responsibilities overlap and between which coordination is inadequate. Owing to the attendant institutional weaknesses associated with public sector institutions, the policy processes tended to diffuse and lobbying and ad hoc interventions prevailed as the means of influencing policy. The involvement of civil society was minimal for reasons that the non-governmental or civil society sector was generally looked upon with suspicion, and as such they became the target of the repressive state. The military juntas that plagued Nigeria for most of the post independent period exacerbated the situation.[201]

The Federal Ministry of Commerce Industry is the focal government agency with the overall responsibility for trade policy formulation, including for bilateral and multilateral agreements. There are three principal organs responsible for decision-making. These are the Federal Executive Council, the National Council of State and the Senate. Trade policy ratification ultimately rests with the Federal Executive Council. Within the government, policy may be initiated at the ministry level, mainly Federal Ministry of Commerce (FMC) or Federal Ministry of Industries. Other organisations that offer policy inputs include Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), the Nigeria Customs Service and the Central Bank of Nigeria. New policies requiring legislative backing would, after passage by the National Assembly be submitted to the Ministry of Justice for legal drafting. There is also the Tariff Review Committee/Board, which reviews all request and issues relating to tariffs.

Nigeria is operating under a 2005 Trade Policy that is presently being reviewed.[202] The present policy aims at ensuring that Nigeria derives maximum benefit from participating in international trade negotiations through the creation of favorable market access conditions for its exports at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. This, Nigeria endeavors to achieve by participating and engaging with bodies like Ecowas and EU-ACP. The thrust of the trade policy is to improve the country’s economic performance by reversing adverse balance of payment and eliminating payments difficulty to increase Nigeria’s export to countries with which it has bilateral trade agreements or preferential trade agreements as well as conclude agreements with countries that have potential markets for Nigerian goods and services.[203]  In relation to agriculture, the policy enumerates the importance of promoting horticultural export so as to diversify the economy’s over dependence on oil.

The overriding national development policy is Nigeria Vision 20:2020 that summarizes Nigeria’s development aspirations and as well provides a framework for a nationally coordinated program of action by the federal, state, and local governments. Vision 20:2020 is a follow-up on the Nigerian Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS).

The state and local Governments combined control half of the consolidated public sector spending. Through the statutory organs for intergovernmental coordination (the National Economic Council, the National Council for Development Planning, and the Joint Planning Board), state governments not only endorsed the thrusts of NEEDS but also committed to developing State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (SEEDS).

The states are required to implement a minimum set of priorities that each state government must reflect in its SEEDS, namely, agriculture, small and medium-size enterprises, rehabilitation and maintenance of infrastructure (especially roads), and public finance reforms and transparency. The National Planning Commission is collaborating with donor agencies to provide technical assistance to the states in developing their SEEDS as a necessary complement to NEEDS.

Agriculture is recognized as Nigeria’s second-largest source of national wealth, after oil. In this regard attention is put on promoting the cultivation of improved higher yielding crop varieties and provides extra support to agricultural research and training. This is aimed at encouraging business interests to provide credit and supply and distribute agricultural inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers, and machinery.

The policy further encourages the promotion of joint ventures, private sector–managed, multi-commodity development and marketing companies to guarantee remunerative prices for farmers, stabilize consumer prices, and provide alternative markets for farm produce through a buyer of-last-resort mechanism. 

Following the improved economic and socio-political environment in Nigeria since, 1999, there has been an increasing consciousness for the protection of intellectual property under the new and more investor -friendly atmosphere. It has, therefore, become necessary to consider a hitherto obscure aspect of its trademark jurisprudence. There is no Nigerian legislation on geographical indications. Two sets of regulations promulgated in 2005 deal with the accuracy of labeling for wines and spirits respectively. The only possibility for the protection of geographical indications in Nigeria is as a certification mark.

Certification Trade Marks

The Trade Marks Act Chapter 436 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 disqualifies geographical marks for protection as trade marks.[204] However, the protection of geographical marks as certification marks is made possible by s.43 which provides:

(1) A mark adapted in relation to any goods to distinguish in the course of trade goods certified by any person in respect of origin, material, method of manufacture, quality, accuracy or other characteristic, from goods not so certified shall be registrable as a certification trade mark in Part A or the register in respect of those goods in the name, as proprietor thereof, of that person:

Provided that a mark shall not be so registrable in the name of a person who carries on a trade in goods of the kind certified.

(2)  In determining whether a mark is adapted to distinguish as aforesaid, the tribunal may have regard to the extent to which-

(a)  the mark is inherently adapted to distinguish as aforesaid in relation to the goods in question; and

(b)  by reason of the use of the mark or of any other circumstances, the mark is in fact adapted to distinguish as aforesaid in relation to the goods in question.

(3)  Subject to the provisions of subsections (5) and (6) of this section, and of sections 7 and 8 of this Act, the registration of a person as proprietor of a certification trade mark in respect of any goods shall, if valid, give to that person the exclusive right to the use of the trade mark in relation to those goods.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of the right to the use of a certification trade mark given by such registration as aforesaid, that right shall be taken to be infringed by any person who, not being the proprietor of the trade mark or a person authorised by him under the rules in that behalf using it in accordance therewith, uses a mark identical with it or so nearly resembling it as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion, in the course of trade, in relation to any goods in respect of which it is registered, and in such manner as to render the use of the mark likely to be taken either -

(a)   as being use as a trade mark; or

(b)  in a case in which the use is use upon he goods or in physical relation thereto or in an advertising circular or other advertisement issued to the public, as importing a reference to some person having the right either as proprietor or by his authorisation under the relevant rules to use the trade mark or to goods certified by the proprietor.

(5)  The right to the use of a certification trade mark given by such registration as aforesaid shall be subject to any conditions or limitations entered on the register, and the use of any such mark as aforesaid in any circumstances to which, having regard to any such limitations, the registration does not extend shall not constitute an infringement of that right.

(6) Where a certification trade mark is one of two or more registered trademarks that are identical or nearly resemble each other, the use of any of those trade marks in exercise of the right to the use of that trade mark given by registration shall not constitute an infringement of the right to the use of any other of those trademarks so given.

(7)   There shall be deposited at the office of the Registrar in respect of every trade mark registered under this section, rules approved by the Minister for governing the use thereof, which shall include provisions as to the cases in which the proprietor is to certify goods and to authorise the use of the trade mark, and may contain any other provisions that the Minister may require or permit to be inserted therein (including provisions conferring a right of appeal to the Registrar against any refusal of the proprietor to certify goods or to authorise the use of the trade mark in accordance with the rules).

(8)   Rules deposited under subsection (7) of this section, shall be open to inspection in like manner as the register.

(9) A certification trade mark shall not be assignable or transmissible otherwise than with the consent of the Minister.

(10) The provisions of the First Schedule of this Act shall have effect with respect to the registration of a mark under this section and to marks so registered.

Thus Nigeria is yet to fully comply with the terms of the WTO TRIPs Agreement and therefore the extent of protection available under TRIPs cannot be taken to apply in Nigeria. It is hoped that the draft Intellectual Property Bill currently being debated before the House, when passed, will introduce a new regime of Intellectual property Protection into its laws.

The Yam

Description

Yam, any of several plant species of the genus Dioscorea (family Dioscoreaceae) is indigenous to warmer regions of both hemispheres. This thick, tropical-vine tuber is popular in Africa, the West Indies, and parts of Asia, South and Central America. By virtue of its excellent palatability, it is a high value crop. Yams are cultivated throughout the tropics, and in parts of the sub-tropics and temperate zones. In West Africa and New Guinea, the yam is a primary agricultural commodity.

Although sweet potato and yams are similar in many ways and therefore often confused with one another, they are from different plant species. In the southern United States, sweet potatoes are often called "yams" and to add to the confusion, canned sweet potatoes are frequently labeled yams. True yams, however, are not widely marketed and are seldom grown in the United States. D. bulbifera, the air-potato yam, is one of the few true yams cultivated for food in the U.S. There are over 150 species of yam grown throughout the world. Yam tubers can range in size from that of a small potato to behemoths over 18m long and 54kg. Depending on the variety, a yam's flesh may be various shades of off-white, yellow, purple, or pink, and the skin from off-white to dark brown. The texture of this vegetable can range from moist and tender to coarse, dry, and mealy. Yams can be found in most Latin American markets, often in chunks, sold by weight.[205]

Yams of African species must be cooked to be safely eaten, because various natural substances in raw yams can cause illness if consumed. Yam is consumed in various ways, but is usually boiled and eaten. This involves cutting yam into pieces, then peeling the skin, and boiling the starchy "meat". This is usually consumed with palm oil (traditional way), or with other sauces. The boiled yam can also be pounded with a traditional mortar and pestle to create a thick starchy paste known as Pounded Yam Iyan, as well as Fufu. This is also eaten with traditional stews and sauces. Another method of consumption is to sun-dry the raw yam pieces. When dry, the pieces turn a dark brown color. This is then milled to create a powder known as "elubo" in Nigeria. The brown powder can be prepared with boiling water to create a thick brown starchy paste known as "amala". This is also consumed with the local stews and sauces. The most common cooking method in Western and Central Africa is cooked "boiled" yam.

A Yam Festival is held in the beginning of August at the end of the rainy season. The Yam Festival is so named because yam is the most common food in many communities of Nigeria as they are the earliest harvest of the year. People offer yams to gods and ancestors first, before distributing them to the villagers as their traditional way of giving thanks to the spirits. The festival consists of prayers and thanks for the years past. Yam is the main agricultural crop of the Igbos, Idomas, and Tivs. It is the "staple" food of the Igbo people. The New Yam Festival, known as Orureshi in Owukpa in Idoma west and Ima-Ji, Iri-Ji or Iwa Ji in Igbo land is a celebration depicting the prominence of yam in the social and cultural life. The festival is very promiment among all the major tribes in Benue state, mainly around August.

Yam Production Statistics

Nigeria earned ₦70b from yam exports in 2010 being higher than the N56bn recorded in 2008. The increase achieved is attributable to efforts of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) aimed at sensitizing the citizens on the economic benefits accruing to export of yam and other non-oil sector products. World production of yam has grown from 48.7 million tonnes of yams produced worldwide in 2005 to 51.4 million tonnes in 2008. Nigeria produced about 38.7 million tonnes; Ghana, 3.6 million; while Cote d’ Ivoire produced 4.8 million tonnes.                                       

Top World Producers by Country - 2008

Country

Million metric tons

 Nigeria

35.0

 Côte d'Ivoire

6.9

 Ghana

4.8

 Benin

1.8

 Togo

0.6

 Cameroon

0.3

 Colombia

0.2

 Brazil

0.2

 Haiti

0.2

 World Total

50.0

Source: UN Food & Agriculture Organisation

Nigeria alone accounts for about 70 percent of the world production. It is the second most important root/tuber crop in Africa with production reaching just under one third the level of cassava. More than 95 percent (2.8 million ha) of the current global area under yam cultivation is in sub-Saharan Africa, where mean gross yields are 10 t/ha. In Asia, production for 2004 stood at 226,426 metric tons.

Top 3 Producers by Area Harvested in 2004                            

Country

Hectares

 

 

Nigeria

2,837,000

Ghana

310,834

Benin

72,739

World

4,371,947

Source IITA

Yam exports in Nigeria were primarily handled by the informal sector, compared with countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire that had advanced marketing channels and dominated the international market. The Federal Government has undertaken programs to enhance Nigerian yams placement in a crucial position in the international market. The NEPC is set to reduce the quantity of yam tubers being wasted for seeds, while increasing production through the sensitization of farmers and exporters to new procedures in selecting, propagating and processing yams to meet international standards. NEPC has conducted several trainings for stakeholders on farm best practices, packaging and labeling.[206]

The Institute of Tropical Agriculture has developed a new technique of propagating yam through vine cuttings with carbonised rice husks as the growth medium.[207] Yam plays a major role in the sociocultural life for a wide range of smallholder households especially in the dominant production zone of Nigeria. Consumer demand for yam is generally high and yam cultivation is very profitable despite high production costs.  This, ought to being seen in the context of majority of such farmer holdings are largely peasantry whose acreage averages 1 hectare, often fragmented owing to the population pressure with its attendant high density rate.

Yam Propagation

An annual rainfall of about 1000 mm spread over five to six months and deep, fertile, friable, and well-drained soils are ideal for yam cultivation. Whole seed tubers or tuber portions are usually planted into mounds or ridges before or at the beginning of the rainy season. The sett sizes planted, sizes of mounds, interplant spacing and provision of stakes for the resultant plants depend on factors such as the yam species, agro-ecology, and tuber sizes desired at harvest. Small-scale farmers in West and Central Africa often intercrop yams with cereals and vegetables. Care is needed during harvesting to minimize damage to tubers that lead to rot and low market value.[208]

Constraints to Yam Production

Yam cultivation is generally limited by high costs of planting material and of labor, decreasing soil fertility, inadequate yield potential of varieties, as well as increasing levels of field and storage pests and diseases associated with intensification of cultivation. The labor requirements in yam cultivation for mounding, staking (especially in the forest zone), weeding, and harvesting exceed those for other starchy staples such as cassava. These account for about 40% of yam production costs while 50% of the expenditure goes to planting materials. The seed yams are also perishable and bulky to transport. If farmers do not buy new seed yams, they must set aside up to 30% of their harvest for planting the next year. Increasing pressure from a range of insect pests (e.g., leaf and tuber beetles, mealy bugs, scales), fungal (e.g., anthracnose, leaf spot, leaf blight, tuber rots), and viral diseases, as well as nematodes contribute to suboptimal yields and the deterioration of tuber quality in storage.[209]

Case Study: The Nasarawa State PEPA Yam

Nasarawa State of Nigeria: Created from Plateau State of Nigeria on 1st October, 1996.

State Capital: - Lafia

Land Area: - 27,116.8 square kilometers.

Location: - Located in the Middle-Belt region latitudes of central position 080-35’ and Longitudes of Central position 08 – 2F.

Climate: - It lies within the Guinea Savannah region and has tropical climate. Rainfall is moderate with a mean annual rainfall of 1311:75cm.

Features: - It is made up of plain lands and hills of up to 300ft above the sea level at some points. 

Economy:- agrarian relying on its proximity to Abuja as a fast moving market for its various agricultural crops and products, which include yams, maize, rice, guinea corn, beans, tomatoes, acha, groundnuts, cotton, millet, cassava, oranges, banana, apples and wheat.

Nasarawa State government has exported over 160 metric tonnes of yam to the United Kingdom (UK) under the trademark, PEPA Yam. The state established a yam conditioning centre in Keffi, and is the first of its kind in the country through a novel Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the private sector, the federal and state government.

Nasarawa State launched itself into the international trade market with the formal introduction of its Yam into the United Kingdom and other European Union markets in July 2010.  The state launched the yam under the trademark   – “Pepa Yam”, Nigeria. The development followed three successful export trials of the yam to the United Kingdom during which the product was well received in the market. The project is drawing from the Federal Government agricultural policies as well as the massive schemes, interventions and incentives geared towards the promotion of accelerated and focused mass production of agricultural products for domestic and international markets.

The programme initially engaged 400 farmers all from Nasarawa State to specially grow yams for the scheme under a PPP initiative that has the collaboration of Oceanic Bank International PLC and other stakeholders in the industry. Arrangements were concluded to grant loans to deserving farmers in the state. An agricultural loan of N1b was initially provided for this by Oceanic Bank International Plc. at 9% interest (the average prime commercial interest rate stands at over 18%). The scheme, it is intended, to add value to agricultural produce through enhanced storage, processing and marketing so as to open the door for other Nigerian agricultural products not just into the UK, but also the European Union. 

Through such initiatives, Nigeria seeks a better future of security and prosperity without oil and gas, a future anchored on sustainable domestic food security, export of non-oil products, manufacturing, value-addition and a knowledge-based economy, among other drivers of a modern economy.  Exporting Nigerian yam to the UK, it is projected will enhance the farm gate incomes of farmers, create jobs, increase foreign exchange earnings, and improve the overall trade balance between Nigeria and the UK.

In order to ensure sustainability of this export drive, the 400 farmers in the State have been specially trained and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State Government for massive production of yams for international markets. A Nasarawa State Produce Development and Marketing Company Ltd., has been established by legislation to market agricultural produce from the State, to local and international markets. To this end, the Company has since entered into a joint venture agreement with Best Produce International (UK) Ltd., to ensure steady supply and marketing of the yams in the United Kingdom. There is significant potential for the protection of these Yams through GIs registration.

Other Product of Interest- Kola Nut

Kola Nut (Cola) is the nut of the kola tree, a genus of trees native to the tropical rainforests of Africa, classified in the family Malvaceae, subfamily Sterculioideae (or treated in the separate family Sterculiaceae). It is related to the South American genus Theobroma, or cocoa. It is an evergreen tree, growing up to 20 m tall (about 60 feet), with glossy ovoid leaves up to 30 cm long and star shaped fruit. Kola nuts, the seed of Cola nitida and Cola acuminata, are native to West africa. In Nigeria among the Igbo people it forms an intergrated part of the social life; the nuts are valued for its stimulating, aphrodisiac and healing qualities. Kola nuts (or cola nuts) are the seed pods of various evergreen trees; Sterculiaceae cola vera is the scientific name of the most common species. Kola nuts contain caffeine and act as a stimulant and anti-depressant, they are also thought to reduce fatigue and hunger, aid digestion, and work as an aphrodisiac. Among the Igbo, kola nuts are given as gifts to visitors entering a home, usually with some formal ceremony. Offering the kola nut is a gesture of friendship and hospitality.

The kola nut ceremony is similar to the traditional American Indian peace pipe or breaking bread in a religious context. Before a marriage, a bag of kola nuts are often given by a groom to the parents of the bride. Kola nuts are a used in rituals performed by religious healers. Besides the ceremonial uses, many consume kola nuts regularly, even daily, for the medicial effects described above. Kola nuts are a common sight in African markets in cities and villages. They are often sold by street vendors at bus and taxi stations.

Kola nuts are consumed by breaking them open and into pieces, then chewing the kola nut pieces as gum is chewed.  Most people find the taste very bitter, especially at first. Sometimes a knife is needed to cut the nut into pieces. The stimulative effect is similar to a strong cup of coffee.  Kola nuts are produced commercially in the African and American tropics. In their raw form they are rather hard to find outside the tropics, though some specialty/import grocery stores might sell them.

Kola nuts are best known outside of Africa as an ingredient in cola beverages. There is some evidence that the first kola (or cola) beverage was made by Western Africans who mixed water with dried or fermented kola nuts. Today, homemade cola drinks are very rare in Africa, though store-bought cola drinks are very popular. (Besides water, the most popular drinks throughout Africa are bottled soft drinks and beer.) Commercially produced cola drinks were developed in the late 1800s, when chemists and inventors the world over used kola nuts (as well as other exotic ingredients) in various drinks and tonics. The most famous of these is Coca-Cola, which has become a truly global beverage. More recently, kola nuts and kola nut extract have become popular in Europe and North America as a natural or alternative medicine.

Origin and distribution

Kola nuts, the seed of Cola nitida and Cola acuminata, are native to West Africa. In the 1800s, a pharmacist in Georgia took extracts of kola, sugar and coca and mixed them with carbonated water. His accountant tasted it and called it "Coca Cola." Today, Coca-Cola still uses kola in its original recipe. The original Coca-Cola contained coca leaf extracts (a source of cocaine prohibited in soft drinks in the U.S. after 1904.) Kola nuts (or cola nuts) are the seed pods of various evergreen trees that are native to Africa; Sterculiaceae cola vera is the scientific name of the most common species.

General description

Kola nut is a caffeine-containing nut of two evergreen trees of the cocoa family. Kola nut is a relative of the Sterculiacea plant family. The Cola acuminata is an evergreen tree of about 20 meters in height, and has long and ovoid leaves pointed at both the ends that have a leathery texture. The trees have yellow flowers with purple spots, and star-shaped fruit. Inside the fruit, about a dozen round or square seeds can be found in a white seed shell. The nut’s aroma is sweet and rose-like. The first taste is bitter, but sweetens upon chewing. The nut can be boiled to extract the cola. Cola nut is a breath sweetener and contains three times the caffeine of coffee. This tree reaches 25 meters in height and is propagated through seeds. C. nitida and C. acuminata can easily be interchanged with other Cola species.

The use of the kola nut, like the coffee berry and tea leaf, appears to have ancient origins. It is chewed in many West African cultures, individually or in a social setting, to restore vitality and ease hunger pangs. Kola nuts are an important part of the traditional spiritual practice of culture and religion in West Africa, particularly Nigeria. Kola nuts are used as a religious object and sacred offering during prayers, ancestor veneration, and significant life events, such as naming ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. They are also used in a traditional divination system called Obi divination. For this use, only kola nuts that are divided into four lobes are suitable. The kola nuts are cast upon a special wooden board and the resulting patterns are read by a trained diviner. This ancient practice is currently enjoying increased growth within the United States and Caribbean.

Ecological requirements

They grow best in tropical lowlands below about 600 ft (200 m). Kola trees are all evergreen, but they will start to shed their leaves at times of water shortage quite readily. The seeds will die if they are allowed to dry out, and they generally remain at the foot of the parent tree. In the wild this produces isolated groves of kola trees. Kola nut yield in tropical rainforest, and needs a hot humid climate but can withstand a dry season on sites with a high ground water level. It may be cultivated in drier areas where ground water is available. C. nitida is a shade bearer but develops a better spreading crown which yields more fruits in open places. Though it is a lowland forest tree it has been found at altitudes over 300 m on deep rich soils under heavy and evenly distributed rainfall.

Regular weeding is a must and this can either be done manually or by using herbicides. Some irrigation can be provided to the plants, but it is important to remove the water through an effective drainage system as excess water may prove to be detrimental for the growth of the plant. When not grown in adequate shade, the kola nut plant responds well to fertilizers. Usually, the plants need to be provided with windbreaks to protect them from strong gales.

Kola nuts can be harvested by hand, by plugging it at the tree branch. Like in western countries and other countries of the world, it has been harvested by the use of harvesters. When kept in a cold and dry place, Kola nut can be stored for a long time. The kola nut has a bitter flavor and contains caffeine. It is chewed in many West African cultures, individually or in a group setting. It is often used ceremonially, presented to tribal chiefs or presented to guests. It is preferred among African Muslims, who are forbidden to drink alcohol. Chewing kola nut can ease hunger pangs. Frequent chewing of the kola nut can also lead to stained teeth. Among the urban youth of West Africa, kola nut is becoming less popular.

There are over 50 species of kola. Of these seven have edible nuts, but only two have been commercially exploited (C. nitida and C. acuminata). The most important is C. nitida. The main centers of production are in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. Annual production from these countries alone is in excess of 250,000 tons.

The seeds are produced as quite hard nuts. These can be of various colors but are all about 2-3 in (5-7.5 cm) long. Nuts are not produced by the tree until it is six or seven years old. Peak production does not start until the tree reaches 15 years of age. Estimates for the number of nuts produced annually per tree vary due to the age and location of the trees. However, a top figure of 120,000 nuts is often given. The nuts are generally produced between November and December for C. nitida and from April to July for C. acuminata.

The commercial production of kola nuts is frequently carried out using clonal propagation. The plants thrive in half-shaded environments. Seed collection is still generally carried out manually in Nigeria, using hook-ended poles to cut the nuts down. Kola trees can be susceptible to attack by a number of species of fungi, and this becomes a major problem with the large scale farming that is now carried out. Insects can also cause great damage to kola trees. If the nuts are poorly stored, they may become infested with fungus or kola weevils.

Rwanda

Coffee Case study

Introduction

Coffee is one of the major agricultural products in Rwanda, accounting for more than 50% of the country’s exports.  The Government of Rwanda is following a proactive policy of strengthening the supply chain, based on a quality strategy.  The main focus of the policy currently pursued in the coffee sector is thus to improve the quality of production in order to position Coffees of Rwanda on the high quality, specialty coffees market.  This strategy is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture on the one hand, but also by OCIR-Café (Office des Cultures Industrielles du Rwanda) or the Coffee of Rwanda Development Authority, which assists in this process.

According to OCIR-Café, quality is to be improved through the setup of washing stations, with the aim of developing exports of green or even roasted coffee, to the detriment of the export of raw, semi-washed coffee, which still accounts for most coffee exports today.

The Ministry of Agriculture also promotes coffee processing in washing stations, considering this operation to be a pre-condition for producing better quality coffee and, consequently, obtaining a higher price on export markets. A regional analysis also supports this strategy.  Only 22% of Rwanda coffee production is exported in the form of "Fully Washed" coffee, whereas the equivalent production for Burundi is as high as 80%, and in the case of Kenya the percentage reaches 90%.  In order to proceed in this direction, Rwanda definitely needs to invest in the creation of washing stations.

The Ministry of Agriculture also promotes the export of a finished, roasted product, but this development requires large investments in infrastructure.  Furthermore, roasting is very energy-intensive.

Finally, such a strategy requires training of farmers and their representatives, especially in the development of business plans, as well as ongoing support to coffee-growing cooperatives.  This policy is implemented mainly through USAID-funded project "ADAR” (Agribusiness Development Assistance to Rwanda) and also takes shape in the form of organization of international competitions in Rwanda, such as the "Cup of Excellence” competition.  According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the development of geographical indications could well be part of this process.

Legal Framework

In Rwanda, the legislative framework for registration and protection of geographical indications consists of Law No. 31/2009 of 26 October 2009 on Protection of Intellectual Property, and more specifically Articles 165 to 176, the former concerning the filing of geographical indication, including setting conditions that must be met to allow the protection of a geographical indication. These include recognition of a specific quality, and of reputation of the product on the basis of this quality, or​​ on the basis of any other characteristic.  A Ministerial decree sets the cost of geographical indication registration by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) at the amount of 50,000 FRW[210], i.e. the same cost as filing a trademark.

It is noteworthy that the applicant is responsible to develop the specifications relating to the geographical indication; these specifications are then subject to the approval of the ORG, i.e. the Office of the Registrar General. Producer groups, however, may request assistance from the ORG in the development of these specifications and therefore the ORG, along with other institutions, could be associated with this phase.

 According to the RDB, as geographical indication designates a product group, contrary to a patent or trademark which clearly belong to an individual producer, management by the public authority should be provisioned. In this context, the status of the applicant for a geographical indication is not limited by law and may well be an individual or a legal entity, public or private.  The law does stipulate that a geographical indication must benefit "producers"- this could constitute a condition regarding the status of the applicant.

In Rwanda, Law No. 31/2009 is the first to integrate the issue of protection of geographical indications and establishes a "sui generis" protection system.  The Law was drafted with the support of experts from the World Intellectual Property Organization.  Integration of geographical indications in the Law is part of the overall strategy for economic development of Rwanda, which focuses on the development of local production.  An overall policy paper was prepared by the Ministry of Commerce prior to drafting this law.

 This legal framework was developed also with a view to meet Rwanda's international obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization and, therefore, signatory to the Agreement on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).  The legal framework’s provisions on Geographical Indications are very similar to the relevant content of the TRIPs Agreement.

Application of the law on intellectual property protection is the responsibility of the RDB, the Rwanda Development Board, an agency itself under the direct authority of the Presidency of the Republic, which has four departments: competent in matters of tourism and conservation of heritage; one for information technology; a department responsible for human capital; and finally, an entity in charge of trade and crafts and promotion of investments.  Within this latter department, the ORG- i.e. Office of the Registrar General, has jurisdiction over the registration and protection of geographical indications.  The ORG is composed of three sectors in charge of company registration, registration of mortgages and intellectual property respectively.

It should be noted that under Law No. 31/2009, management of the geographical indication is under the responsibility of the applicant.  The ORG could offer arbitration of dispute concerning the implementation of a geographical indication but has no authority to intervene directly in its management.  A specific agency should thus be created for this purpose.

Given the very recent entry into force of the Law, no product in Rwanda has been granted protection of its geographical indication to date, neither is any investigation underway for the protection of the indication geographic of a product.

It should be underlined that many coffees are already sold under names referencing a geographical origin; these names have been registered as trademarks prior to the adoption of the Law.  This is the case of "Maraba coffee" or "Kivu coffee”.  About a dozen trademarks would be affected.  These trademarks are the property of private corporations, cooperatives or OCIR-Café.  Filing a geographical indication under the same name could well conflict with the exercise of intellectual property rights attached to those trademarks which are also often protected on various export markets[211].

 Under Article 13 of Law No. 31/2009, the RDB ensures promotion of protection of geographical indications in Rwanda.  This promotion is based on an information campaign and awareness raising targeting producers, and builds on the findings of a identification study undergone by the Ministry of Commerce, to investigate products eligible for protection of geographical indication.

Although designation of protection of geographical indication of a product requires a thorough analysis, it appears at this stage that many products of Rwanda, according to the RDB, would be qualified for such protection; in particular, the coffees originating from various regions, but also tea, fruits and fruit juices, wines and flowers.

Another fact worth taking into account is Rwanda’s ongoing accession process to the ARIPO (African Regional Industrial Property Organisation)- which should enter into force within the year.

  1. Coffees of Rwanda: natural proprieties and reputation on international markets

1.1       Coffees of Rwanda: varietal and natural characteristics

The quality of coffee, like most agricultural products, largely depends on geological, climatic and biological features.  All these specificities have impact on the formation of the plant and, ultimately, on the particular organoleptical qualities of the product.  As in the case of wine, specialists and connoisseurs can actually recognize the geographical origin of a coffee based on its characteristic flavour.

From this point of view, coffee of Rwanda seems particularly distinguishable and recognizable.  Its particular quality is most often attributed to the following factors:

  • Variety: several hundred varieties of coffee are available, but only three are grown throughout  the entire territory of Rwanda.  These varieties are: Bourbon Mayaguez BM 71, Bourbon  Mayaguez BM 139, and Jackson.  All three belong to the Arabica family.  It should be noted that none of these varieties is endemic to Rwanda.  Two of them, as it seems, originate from the island of Reunion and the third, Bourbon Mayaguez BM 71, could come from Ethiopia and have been introduced via the Congo, from the region of Bukavu.  These varieties are also grown in neighbouring countries, such as Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi[212]. It should be noted at this point  that, according to several interlocutors, coffees from Rwanda and Burundi have very similar characteristics.  These varieties are called "long" in contrast to other dwarf varieties[213] ;
  • Soil: coffee of Rwanda is mainly grown on volcanic soils.  This is particularly the case of coffee grown on the shores of Lake Kivu and in the South.  In other areas, coffee is grown on combined soils of schist, clay and sand, which also favour this type of culture.  Each soil type is associated with a particular degree of acidity, which has been identified as one of the main contributors to the organoleptical qualities of coffee;
  • Altitude: coffee is cultivated in Rwanda at altitudes between 1,200 and 2,000 metres, even from as low as 1,000 metres, but the larger part of cultivations are at between 1,650 and 1,800 metres.  This altitude is a specificity of the cultivation of coffee in Rwanda, compared to other countries in the region.  Altitude has impact on the physiology of coffee, including its flowering. More specifically, the altitude leads to slow fruiting and a progressive maturation that result in turn in a particular degree of acidity of the fruit; the acidity itself has a major impact on the formation of specific flavours of coffee;
  • Terrain: coffee of Rwanda is often produced on slopes with ideal exposure to sunlight;
  • Rainfall: reaches levels of over 1,000 mm/ year;
  • Surrounding vegetation: it is common to distinguish coffees into coffee produced under shade or without shade.  Although production under shade is usually associated with lower productivity, due to the lower density of coffee trees, it appears that the average productivity per tree is higher when it is grown under shade, thus compensating for the lower density and resulting in equal or higher production per hectare.  In addition, the quality of coffee produced under shade appears to be superior to that of coffee grown without shade. This is attributed to the slow maturation that occurs under the shade, which creates an effect of artificial altitude.

The organoleptical qualities and granulometry specific to coffees of Rwanda have been studied through laboratory measurements performed by OCIR-Café[214].

The Institut Supérieur Agronomique du Rwanda - ISAR (Higher Institute of Agronomy of Rwanda) conducts research on new production technologies and improvement of production, viewing to increase production volumes and quality. More specifically, ISAR is conducting a multi-annual coffee research programme, aiming to determine those varieties of coffee most suitable to the soils, altitude and various natural proprieties specific to the regions of Rwanda. Technologies developed are made available to the OCIR-Café, which in turn disseminates them to producers.

These studies are focused on various aspects: the resistance of different varieties towards various types of pests[215]; optimum planting density[216], which may vary according to soil type, climate, and varieties[217]; pest control and research into eco-friendly pesticides; the adaptation of varieties to different geological and climate; on agro-forestry species that can be associated with coffee; cultivation of other, perennial or annual[218] crops associated to coffee – one of the most frequently associated cultivations is the banana, especially in Rwanda as many coffee-growing farms have been developed on land previously used for banana production[219].

 According to the ISAR, the Rwandan government focuses on developing the production of coffee as a monoculture, which can lead to locally replace banana plantations with coffee plantations. Yet the ISAR considers that the combination of coffee with other plantations, especially the banana, brings clear mutual benefits, though precise details remain to be determined.  Research is underway on this subject and may go on for several more years, given that for some perennials, productivity effects cannot be measured until four or five years after introducing the radical change in conditions of exploitation.

The ISAR also ensures the creation of cultivars and seed production, diffused exclusively through OCIR- Café to producers having tested the main characteristics of particular cultivars and their resistance to local pests.  Only after two years of testing does OCIR-Café nominate cultivars as suitable for sustainable agriculture and then ensures reproduction in order for them to in turn become available to cooperatives.  Cultivars are subject to certification by RADA, the Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority[220].

1.2       Exploitation, processing and local expertise

For OCIR-Café, the quality of the final product depends to a varying extent on agricultural production conditions per se (about 40% of the final quality), on the various processing operations coffee undergoes (washing, hulling, roasting – about another 40%) and, finally, packaging.

According to ISAR, coffee tree management has a decisive impact on the quality of coffee. The main operations of this management are the following:

  • mulching, or ground covering around the coffee tree, required throughout the year but especially important during the dry season in view of which it allows the formation of a water reserve;
  • size of "production";
  • general maintenance, illness management and fight against pests;
  • harvest: must be done early in the period of maturity.

Processing, washing, fermentation control and hulling also have a vital impact on coffee quality to the point that, according to ISAR, the quality of the final product would primarily derive from the processing of coffee. According to the same organisation, there is local know-how in terms of coffee tree management in Rwanda and, apart from that, there are "progressive" farmers applying new management technologies.

The coffee season runs from late February to late June, including all phases from harvest to processing and export.

Coffee cultivation is sometimes a secondary activity of farmers mainly engaged in other cultivations, or even of individuals engaged in other non-agricultural economic activities. The quality of coffee produced significantly fluctuates, depending on the particular circumstances.

The processing speed of the cherry also seems to be a key factor in the quality of the coffee produced. Indeed, the cherry should be treated not later than four hours after being picked to ensure the best value of its organoleptic qualities. It is therefore essential that the traveling time between the farm and the washing station is as short as possible[221]. It should be noted that about 5 kg of cherries have to be treated to make 1 kg of green coffee, the ratio ranging between ¼ for the best and 1 / 6 for worse cherries.

Two types of machines are used in coffee washing:

  • “Conventional” machines. With a processing capacity of between 100 and 400 tons, these are the same type as the machines used in neighbouring countries, i.e. Kenya and Tanzania[222];
  • “Non-conventional” machines. Originally from South America, these have the advantage of being more environmentally friendly as they consume less water. These machines are also using a somewhat different process because fermentation and removal of mucilage are performed at the same time.

It should be noted that processing of coffee cherries varies among countries. In Rwanda, like Burundi, coffee undergoes a double fermentation, the first one being dry and the second under water, while producers of Kenya conduct two dry fermentations and those of Ethiopia two under-water fermentations. These differences in processing also have, according to many interlocutors, a significant impact on the final outcome and the quality of the commercialized product. However, on the whole, the know-how implemented in Rwanda is generally not regarded as truly specific, as practices have been acquired and imported several decades ago.

1.3.      Identification of the production area and existing projects of geographical indication

Generally speaking, there are four coffee production regions in Rwanda which are associated with quite distinct characteristics: Kivu (West), North, South and East[223]. According to ISAR, all these regions have features that favour the coffee production: warm and rich subsoils in the case of West and East, where the average altitude of operation, between 1,400 and 1,500 meters, is also lower. Only few areas are cultivated in the southern region, at an altitude of between 1,650 and 1,700 meters, where the soil at some areas is too acidic to suit the cultivation of coffee[224]. It should be noted that all three varieties grown in Rwanda are to be found in these coffee-growing regions. However, according to ISAR, the quality and production yield depend more on the producer than on the production region and its natural features.

The main differences between coffees originating from different regions of Rwanda are sufficiently perceptible to be appreciated by discerning consumers and national and foreign "coffee shop" chains. Thus, Rwandan chain "Bourbon Coffee Shop" distributes various coffees under the names of Kivu, Maraba and others, referring to different production regions in Rwanda.

It should be noted that the Spread Program, jointly implemented by the American agency USAID and OCIR-Café, includes a section for the development of a designation of origin for Rwanda coffees and more specifically Maraba coffee. This project involves a process of identifying the physical origins of the inherent quality of coffee in this region. A report on the subject of geographical indications is expected by OCIR-Café by the end of 2011. Naming proposals should then be confirmed by a national forum.

Similarly, a project is underway, involving the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement-CIRAD (French Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development), and ICRAF, the International Center for Research in Agroforestry, for the development of designation of origin coffees from Rwanda. This project is currently in search of financing[225].

It is also worth mentioning the Cafnet project carried out thanks to aid from the European Union and another project with the support of the Belgian Cooperation aiming at developing an environmentally friendly coffee production that can be labeled as an organic product. Another initiative, undertaken by the retail chain Méo based in Lille, has also developed a "fair trade" label in connection with the COOPAC cooperative but it should be noted that the market price in New York has now exceeded the price agreed in the fair trade convention, rendering it somewhat obsolete.

No private producer has taken the initiative to protect the geographical indication of their product but it must be emphasized that, as noted earlier, many coffees from Rwanda are branded with reference to a geographical indication. This is the case of "Kivu Bourbon" coffee marketed by COOPAC cooperative or "Maraba coffee" which is both a brand and a company name.

Most actors agree that a geographical designation of coffees from Rwanda should at the same time identify both these regional characteristics and the specificity of coffees from Rwanda in relation to its neighbouring countries. Thus, the preferred designation would be a double name like "Kivu / Rwanda Coffee" or "Maraba / Rwanda Coffee". The generic designation "Coffee of Rwanda" could be considered for coffees from other growing regions without equally strong characteristics.

The Ministries of Agriculture and Commerce would prefer a principal designation of "Coffee of Rwanda" which could benefit a larger number of producers and cover a larger volume of production, while allowing for certain specialized designations, such as "Kivu coffee", where a specific recognized quality is attributed to a region of production.

According to ISAR, however, it is not possible to speak of "Coffee of Rwanda" because of the strong specificities and differences between coffees coming from different regions.

According to several interlocutors, besides Kivu and Maraba, certain coffees from the Northern regions could be particularly identified and, more specifically, coffees from Rulindo and Gatientye, and the Southern region, particularly those from Niamagabe and Huye.

It is interesting to note that almost each and every washing station is aware of the stake of a geographical indication and attempts to expand its geographical identification as a trademark.

For Mr. Emmanuel Rwakagara, the president of COOPAC, the Cooperative for the promotion of coffee activities, developing a geographic designation seems entirely appropriate. This should at once mention the name of the country (Rwanda) and the production area (eg. "Kivu"). It should be noted that Mr. Rwakagara, as a producer, sells coffee under the name of "Bourbon Kivu" marked "Speciality Arabica Coffee from The Shores Of Lake Kivu."

1.4.      Reputation of coffees of Rwanda on their main export markets

Coffee from Rwanda is widely recognized as a premium coffee in its main export markets but also in other producing countries of the region. This recognition was strengthened during the first decade of 2000 through the organization of international competitions in Rwanda, particularly the "Golden Cup", held in 2007, and the "Cup of Excellence."  The latter was organized in 2008 and 2010 and should be back in 2011.  Both competitions have the advantage of involving an international jury, which is obviously favorable to the recognition of the quality of Rwanda coffee abroad[226].

The "Cup of Excellence" competition is organized between the washing stations. The auction held in its outcome shows that quality premiums of a very high amount are attributed to coffees ranked among the top twenty in this competition. Thus, in 2008, the coffee variety that won the competition was sold at a price about 40 USD / kg, against about USD 3.50 per kg on average. In 2010, these prices were 50 USD / kg and 4.00 USD / kg, respectively. The quality premium thus results in an increase by a factor greater than 10 times the price of the commodity. These premiums remain significant, although lower, until the fifth place in the competition[227].

The main characteristics of Rwandan coffee recognized by connoisseurs and specialists are in terms of taste, acidity and body. These characteristics are correlated with the production traits mentioned above, especially with the variety grown, the altitude of operation, the type of soils (volcanic) and the quality of processing, i.e. essentially washing.

These organoleptical characteristics are sometimes considered to resemble those of coffees from Kenya, but may nevertheless be recognized as individual. However, they are considered identical as to the characteristics of coffee produced in Congo's Lake Kivu, the latter being produced on the same soil and under the same conditions as Rwanda coffees in this region. They are also very similar, though with slight differences, to the qualities of coffee from Burundi.

For the Rwanda Coffee Federation, reputation of the national coffee on international markets is greater than that of coffees from neighbouring countries, a fact that was confirmed by the scores obtained by certain Rwandan coffee lots in the last edition of the "Cup of Excellence" competition, several of which exceeded the score of 90/100 -which was considered exceptional.

It is interesting to note that a number of coffees regularly rank among the first places in these competitions. We observe a predominance of coffee varieties from the Northern and Western regions in particular, with six out of the top ten coffees coming from only two districts and the best coffee originating from the Rutsiro district (Kivu). It should be noted that OCIR-Café has performed soil and precipitation analyses in an attempt to scientifically determine the natural origins of the quality of consistently winning coffees.

Quite paradoxically, Maraba coffee, although ranked lower than others in international competitions, now appears to have the strongest national and international reputation, especially in Great Britain and Japan.

According COOPAC, coffee from Rwanda enjoys an established reputation in its main export markets, especially the United States, Japan, Scandinavian countries, Great Britain and, to a lesser degree, Belgium, France and Australia. According to OCIR-Cafe, the Japanese market in particular is very demanding of coffee from a specific district and the high demand for coffee from this particular district has led to the intesification of coffee planting and has had a real socio-economic impact.

  1. Analysis of the competitive structure

2.1       Sectoral analysis

The coffee production sector consists of a limited number of trades:

Coffee cultivators

Coffee cultivators, or producers or even growers, are individual producers operating mostly very small plots (180 trees and 0.5 ha on average[228] while the Federation considers it necessary to operate land of at least 600 feet in order to move above the poverty line). These coffee cultivators are often grouped in cooperatives.

Holdings with less than 600 plants operate on a purely family model, while employment of an employee is conceivable beyond this number.

Rwanda currently counts 394,206 farmers who operate a total of more than 72 million feet[229] on an area of 28,826 ha. The larger plots operated by a single producer reach a surface of about 60 ha, but it is very rare that the holding is over 1 ha[230]. Plantations of over 10 ha represent about 1% of the cultivated area. Rwanda counts, however, some large holdings, especially in the east of the country. The State promotes the concentration of small producers and the emergence of large holdings through its "Land use plantation" policy that has been implemented for two years.

The tendency of natural concentration observed over the past years has been interrupted. However, OCIR-Café continues to encourage the concentration of holdings on the basis of shared services: each producer retains ownership of their holding but shares with their neighbours services such as soil treatment, insect control etc.

Cooperatives

Cooperatives, which include individual producers or, in some cases, groups of producers, collect and sell their produce under the name of their washing stations or, in some cases, carry out washing themselves.

There are about 125 coffee-growing cooperatives in Rwanda, but their number is very unstable because of the rapid appearance and disappearance of cooperatives[231]. Eighty-four out of these 125 cooperatives are themselves members of unions grouped in a national cooperatives federation[232], the Coffee of Rwanda Cooperatives Federation, created in 2009 and housed in the premises of OCIR- Café. The cooperative is involved in all programs carried out by this organisation, including the Spread program mentioned above. Rwanda currently accounts for 15 coffee-growing cooperatives, 14 of which are members of the Federation, with the fifteenth one being under accession.

A cooperative must include at least seven producers, the largest grouping nearly 3,000 producers with an average number of around 500 producers per cooperative. A union, for its part, must include at least three cooperatives. In principle, there is a union per district, but some districts may count two unions following the consolidation of municipalities that already had their union.

It appears that cooperatives often begin to function as informal associations that do not make their activity official until after a certain period of operation.

Cooperatives usually buy coffee cherries from producers at a pre-determined price based on current market conditions, then negotiate, after washing, depending on market conditions that may have changed in the meantime. In case of profit, the cooperatives pay a rebate to producers. Some private washing stations also practice these rebates, but more rarely.

The strategic objectives of the National Cooperatives Federation are professionalisation and the improvement of the welfare of coffee cultivators. More specifically, the Federation aims to:

  • promote increased production and improve quality;
  • ensure the best possible marketing conditions for coffee and work toward stabilizing the market. This action involves, in particular, tracing contacts with industrial and commercial buyers so as to prevent that the coffee markets fall prey to speculators. The Federation helps the establishment of contacts between washing stations of cooperatives and foreign importers, in particular;
  • strengthen the managerial capacity of producers and cooperatives;
  • make the voice of coffee growers heard at decision-making bodies.

In addition to these strategic objectives, the Federation also wishes to encourage the organization of producers into groups. Today, only about 20% of nearly 400,000 cultivators are members of a cooperative. The Federation deems it is necessary to help small producers join a cooperative.

The case of COOPAC

COOPAC (Coopérative pour la promotion des activités café), the Cooperative for the Promotion of Coffee Activities, is one of the largest cooperatives in the coffee sector in Rwanda. It brings together about 2,200 producers who operate in two districts on the shores of Lake Kivu: the districts of Rubavu and Rutsiro. Other cooperatives are active in the Kivu region but are of a much smaller size.

The cooperative consists of small holdings, of 0.5 acres at the most, with the exception of those run by its chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Rwakagara, whose holding covers about 15 ha.

COOPAC owns four washing stations and a hulling plant in Gisenyi.

Like other cooperatives, COOPAC buys the coffee cherries from producers and provides the washing operation. But COOPAC also ensures the operation of hulling and markets the product by directly exporting it. It also carries out the operation of roasting for the local market. COOPAC is thus the only cooperative present on the entire value chain of coffee and is the first coffee-growing cooperative in Rwanda in terms of exports, with about 45 containers exported annually, against only four for the rest of the coffee-growing cooperatives. This activity allows COOPAC to illustrate a turnover of approximately USD 3 mn, against an average of USD 200,000 for other cooperatives.

COOPAC exported about 800 tons of coffee in 2010, a total of about 18,000 tons of coffee exported by Rwanda. It stood in fifth place among[233] coffee exporters in the country after four private hulling companies, but in first place for exports of so called "specialty" coffee.[234].

COOPAC implements a strategy of active development and controls two quality laboratories in Gisenyi and Kigali.

The cooperative is a member of the association of coffee exporters of Rwanda and the Private Sector Federation (Fédération du Secteur Privé)[235].

 

Washing stations

Rwanda counts 187 washing stations. Their number has increased since 2006. These washing stations transform coffee cherries into parchment coffee or "fully washed" coffee[236] before selling it in turn to hulling plants, in case they do not have such facilities.

Washing stations carry out a series of operations before and after the washing itself, namely:

  • Selection of ripe cherries and disposal of damaged coffee beans by a method of water filtering[237] ;
  • Pulping, which consists of the mechanical elimination of the coffee skin and cherry;
  • Fermentation; this is achieved by submerging coffee beans in a water bath for at least 24 hours, and results in the removal of mucilage;
  • Washing, which consists of emptying and then refilling the water tanks;
  • Grading, conducted according to the channel technique, which is to sort the seeds according to their weight, the lightest swept first in a stream of water being considered of lower quality;
  • Soaking, whichis a last passage of coffee in water;
  • Drying.

Washing stations are SMEs employing up to 50 people for the season (March-August). Some 80 to 90 of these washing stations belong to cooperatives, while the rest of them belong to private companies. In most cases, a private company controls only one washing station but the same company can sometimes own two or three such stations[238]. Large private corporations control both one or more washing stations and a hulling plant[239].

These washing stations can be distinguished into large stations that can handle volumes of more than 100 tons per year, also called "conventional washing stations", and smaller stations. The large washing stations are 81 in number, the smaller ones being 106. These 187 washing stations have a total processing capacity of 13,000 tons per year but their production is limited to only 4,200 tons. This gap gives, for RISO-Coffee, a measure of the progress still to be made ​​to increase local processing. This is partly due to fact that washing stations face significant difficulties accessing financing but, in some cases, they also lack technical capacity.

A number of these washing stations are in the hands of cooperatives and pay a rebate to producers when they record profits, a practice that, in good times, does not fail to attract to the washing stations producers who tend to turn more towards private washing stations outside these periods.

It should be noted that some producers carry out this first process themselves and produce what is described as semi-washed coffee, considered to be of lower quality than that resulting from washing stations[240].

Hulling plants

They are ten in number, the seven largest of which are all located in Kigali. Hulling consists of removing the skin of the coffee grain so as to get a green coffee suitable to be sold. These hulling companies generally export coffee in the form of green coffee.

Roasting plants

They are still few and often of small size in Rwanda. Their production is also mainly destined for the local market with very small amounts of coffee being exported in the form of roasted coffee. Some producers roast their own coffee.

It should be noted that the Spread program, already mentioned, is also aimed to the development of local roasting.

OCIR-Café performs roasting operations intended solely for the local market. Five chains of coffee shops, three of which belong to the same brand, Bourbon Coffee Roasters, are also coffee roasters. Some cooperative or private washing stations, including those of COOPAC, also carry out roasting, but their capacity in this regard is insignificant.

Besides its own activities, OCIR-Café is also committed to a project for the development of local roasting participating in the creation of a joint company, the "Grind Farmers Company", with the support of various international foundations, including the Bill Clinton Foundation. This joint venture has plans to build a roasting plant in Kigali with a capacity of about 1,000 tons per year, with the bulk production destined for exportation[241]. A preliminary market analysis has demonstrated the interest of export markets, particularly those of East Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, for roasted coffees in Rwanda.

Swiss investors have also recently focused on roasting and bagging in Rwanda, contributing to the achievement of higher added value in the country. More generally, since 2008 there has been a sharp increase in the capacity of roasting and grinding coffee in Rwanda.

Exporters

Rwanda counts 48 coffee exporters, with an export activity largely concentrated in the hands of the first five or six exporters who carry out about 85% of total exports of coffee from Rwanda. The main exporters are the private companies PAL Rwanda, which export roasted and bagged coffee, Rwacof, Rwandex, Rwanda Coffee Industries and various cooperatives, among which COOPAC.

For all these companies, exports of semi-washed coffee far outweigh ''fully washed'' coffee exports, with COOPAC constituting the only exception in this regard.

The crucial role of some other players in the development of this sector, such as carriers, banks and insurance companies, should also be mentioned, although they don’t actually belong to the sector of coffee production.


Estimated production and export volumes

Coffee still accounts for more than 50% of Rwanda's exports, although tea and some minerals have seen their share in total exports significantly increase in recent years.

In 2010, coffee exports accounted for a volume of about 18,000 tons. In any event, Rwanda will remain a small coffee producer, which only increases the importance of a quality-oriented strategy that could be based on the development of geographical indications.

2.2       Sector organisations

2.2.1     Public and semi-public organisations

OCIR-Café, formerly named “Office of Industrial Crops of Rwanda”, now the “Office Rwandais de Développement du Café” or “Rwanda Coffee Development Authority”, holds a special place in the coffee sector, since this public body plays a regulatory role in the sector by intervening in the production, processing and export of coffee[242]. More specifically, OCIR ensures the promotion of coffee cultivation in Rwanda and representation in international negotiations on coffee, regulation and coordination of the sector, quality control and advice to stakeholders. Its primary role today is to support production, processing and marketing.

Apart form OCIR-Café, the roles of the Ministry of Agriculture in the development of the sector should be mentioned -and in particular its Directorate General of Planning, as well as the Ministry of Trade and ISAR (the Higher Institute of Agronomy of Rwanda), which is in charge of agricultural research programs on coffee. Also noteworthy is the important role of the Spread program, implemented by the U.S. agency USAID in cooperation with OCIR-Café and the University of Texas, aiming to improve production processes and the quality of coffee produced.

2.2.2     Private sector organisations

The coffee sector in Rwanda is structured into many local cooperatives and some national federations, namely:

  • National Coffee Cooperatives Federation, member of the Chamber of Agriculture of the Private Sector Federation (PSF);
  • the National Federation of Coffee Exporters.

2.3          Price developments

It should be noted that coffee market is a semi-regulated market in Rwanda. Indeed, a minimum price to producers is annually set by the Ministry of Agriculture and OCIR-Café in consultation with the entire industry on the basis of prices prevailing in international markets, and especially on the spot market of New York, although coffee from Rwanda is not directly traded on the market[243]. Prices in this market can vary daily from +/- 2 to 3%[244].

As has already been mentioned, coffee season runs from late February to late June, including all phases from harvest to processing and export. In practice, a meeting is organized in January by the Ministry of Agriculture with the participation of cooperatives and exporters to fix the minimum price paid to producers.

This year, the price was established to 161 FRW/kg of cherries, but in mid-March, the actual price exceeded 200 FRW/kg in certain cases.

A kilo of cherries has traded in recent months at a price of about 180 FRW / kg on average, ranging between 125 and 200 FRW paid to growers, with the trend being on the rise due to low global stocks and bad harvests in Brazil and Colombia following a bacterial attack suffered by some areas of production in these countries. Thus, a kilo of cherries trades today between 165 and 250 FRW. Prices paid to various producers can vary quite significantly over the same period, and even more so if one compares the prices of ordinary coffees to those of first rank coffees. Prices paid to producers by washing stations also vary depending on quantities purchased and the market outlook.

In mid-March 2011, the export price stood in a range of 3 to 4 USD / kg for green coffee.

Quality differences between "semi-washed" and "fully-washed" coffee, the first resulting from a processing carried out by the producer himself and the second from a processing carried out in a washing station, affect the export price. Thus, in 2010, "semi-washed" coffee was sold at an average price of about 2.90 USD per kg while "fully-washed" coffee reached a price of about 4 USD / kg. For the beginning of 2011, the trend is even stronger with "semi-washed" coffee trading between 3 and 4 USD / kg and "fully-washed" coffee between 5 and 7 USD / kg.

Thus, according to the president of COOPAC, the export price is currently around 2.80 USD a pound for "fully-washed" coffee, while the bonus awarded to the best coffees can get as high as about 60 cents a pound[245]. According to the Coffee Cooperatives Federation, the rise of the export price is significant over recent months, with regular coffee currently trading at around 4 USD/ kg and "fully washed" coffee at about 7 USD. In this context, the Federation encourages the exportation of "fully washed" coffee against the exportation of “semi-washed” coffee.

The increase in prices since the beginning of 2009 has reached approximately 100% and is partly a result of speculation, as stocks were reported which did not exist.

  1. Market structure analysis

3.1       Domestic market

Local consumption of coffee is very limited and represents only 2-3% of total sales of Coffee from Rwanda, which means less than 500 tons of coffee roasted and sold locally per year.

This low consumption is due to cultural and historical reasons. Coffee is not part of traditional beverage consumption in Rwanda, where people usually consume tea. Coffee consumption is associated with an image of luxury and is reserved for the wealthy class of the population. Coffee is indeed expensive when compared to the average income of Rwanda. It is estimated that the average food consumption per person is about 1 USD per day while a pound of roasted coffee retails for about 4,000 FRW or around 8 USD.

This consumption, although still very limited, is on the rise. Increases in local consumption may be associated with the better adaptation of packaging. Many roasters have indeed moved from marketing 1 kg packages to packages of 500 grams or 250 grams, which, given the cost of coffee as compared to the average daily income, is clearly an evolution more in line with potential demand.

Note that COOPAC coffee is sold in Rwanda under the "Bourbon Kivu" name, marked "Speciality Arabica Coffee from the Shores of Lake Kivu." This coffee is sold in stores, and sales volumes represent about 1 ton per month, a volume very marginal in terms of total production.

3.2       Export markets

The main export markets for Coffee of Rwanda are Europe, which accounts for more than 50% of those exports, the United States, Japan and China. The principal European markets are Great Britain, Switzerland, France and Belgium.

These markets are not fully comparable. Europe and China import both "fully washed" and "semi-washed" coffee, while the U.S. and Japan import only superior quality "fully washed" coffee. In total, the "gourmet" market represents 20 to 25% of total exports of Coffee of Rwanda, the regular market 75 to 80%, with the U.S. accounting for about 50 to 60% of exports of gourmet coffee and the European Union for virtually all exports of regular coffee[246]. Rwandan coffee exported at a "semi-washed" stage is sold at an average price of approximately 2.90 USD/ kg and coffee exported at a "fully-washed" stage is sold at an average price of about 4.00 USD/ kg.

However, prices show great fluctuations in the course of a single year. With the current trend rising, prices of "semi-washed" coffee have increased in recent years from 2.40 to 3.40 USD / kg and those of "fully-washed" coffee from 3.00 to 4.00 USD / kg. This upward trend has been constant in recent years on all export markets, with the exception of 2008, perhaps under the purview of the international financial crisis OCIR-Café estimates that Rwanda suffers mainly from inadequate capacity and under-utilisation of this capacity. Indeed, Rwanda produces only 20,000 to 25,000 tons of coffee[247] per year for a production capacity estimated at between 40,000 to 45,000 tons, which means that the rate of capacity utilization is only slightly higher that 50%.

In any case, Rwanda's share in its main export markets is very low: Rwanda is a very small producer compared to market leaders Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania.

The principal markets in which the Department of Agriculture expects the coffees of Rwanda to win market shares are those of Japan, Great Britain, Germany, U.S. and the Middle East in which the reputation of coffees from Rwanda is already well established The Ministry of Trade also emphasizes the need to expand exports to the Indian market. For the Ministry, the main obstacle to the development of these exports is the low production capacity of Rwanda and not the quality of coffee products, as the market today is capable of absorbing much larger quantities than those exported. Thus, all exported coffee is distributed without apparent difficulty and without an identifiable impact caused by price increases.

It should be noted that a big proportion of regular "semi-washed" green coffee is exported to Kenya where it is blended with coffees from other countries, including Kenya itself, before being re-exported from the port of Mombasa. Thus, most of Rwanda's coffee exports do not reach their final destination directly but are exported in bulk to the port of Mombasa where they are mixed and re-exported by international companies, mainly American, Chinese or Arab, to their final destination, especially Great Britain or the United States where Starbucks is one of the main buyers. These coffees are then sold under a different brand depending on their final destination.

However, some coffees are directly exported to their final consumer market. This is the case of recognized quality coffees, such as Maraba coffee which is directly exported to the United States or Great Britain after being roasted in Rwanda.

Private companies and cooperatives sell on these export markets either to industrial roasters or directly to large retail chains[248].

It should be noted that "fully-washed" and "semi-washed" coffees do not share the same customers in export markets.  In the first case, customers are small roasters while in the second case, wholesale importers who re-sell their own product to industrial roasters.

Again, it should be noted that green coffee accounts for almost all coffee exports. Exportation of packaged roasted coffee to Europe and the United States is not completely absent but there are very limited volumes. However, much of the added value of the final product comes from the roasting phase, which is conducted in Europe and the United States. Under these circumstances, it seems natural to promote local roasting, so apparently another problem must be overcome in order to implement this strategy: the problem of having producers or exporters referencing coffee from Rwanda in large retail chains in Europe and the United States. Many are those who believe that access to distribution channels in developed countries is very restrictive, if not completely closed. Under these conditions, exports must be made with the mediation of wholesaler importers or industrial roasters.

Note that in the past the coffee market has been regulated by a system of tariffs and quotas in the frame of the "International Coffee Agreement" established under the auspices of the "International Coffee Organization".

  1. Value chain analysis

To date, coffee is purchased from the producer at an average price slightly higher than 200 FRW per kilo of cherries, the production cost of a kilo of cherries being estimated in the range of 80 to 100 FRW.

Semi-washed coffee, or parchment coffee, is sold at around 1,000 FRW / kg and green coffee ("fully washed") at around 2000 FRW / kg. The price OCIR describes as promotional, in other words the price of roasted coffee that is ready for consumption, now stands at approximately 4,000 FRW / kg and the retail price paid by final consumers in Rwanda is in a range of 5,000 to 6,000 FRW / kg.

In the case of COOPAC, the only cooperative present on the entire value chain, the price paid to producers is about 50% of export prices, the latter being determined based on the market price of New York.

There are varying degrees of competition within the value chain. There is a problem regarding the allocation of land to one cultivation or another, but competition is the most vigorous mainly among exporters. The latter are forty-eight in number and comprise washing stations, hulling plants and representatives of foreign dealers. Five of these forty-eight exporters collectively represent over 85% of the total exports of coffee from Rwanda. They are all hulling plants.

As previously mentioned, the main source of added value in the coffee chain is the roasting phase, conducted mainly in importing countries. Hence, the president of COOPAC estimates that the average retail price of roasted coffee on export markets is about 10/kg, which represents a quadrupling of prices during this phase of roasting. In the United States, the price of roasted coffee may even reach 25 USD / kg.

  1. Advantages, disadvantages and potential problems linked to GI protection

5.1       Potential profit and benefits linked to geographical indication protection of coffees from Rwanda

Geographical indication protection of coffees of Rwanda appears to be necessary, according to the Federation of Coffee Cooperatives in Rwanda.  For the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), GI protection could bring on the implementation of planning works and better product recognition - the designation acting as a guarantee, a form of free advertising, sending a strong signal to markets.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, the introduction of geographical indications protection could also help develop export markets for coffees of Rwanda.  The Department would welcome the introduction of protection of geographical indication of coffees roasted and packaged in Rwanda.

For the RDB, the introduction of geographical indications protection could lead to competition among producers and thus result in improved product quality and production processes.

From the OCIR-Café point of view, small producers would find no advantage in the establishment of a protected geographical indication unless the cooperatives and private washing stations commit to grant them a return on the additional margins redeemed from such a GI protected status. The protection of geographical indication may be accompanied by an improvement in the quality of exported coffee and production processes used, provided that the geographical indication designation is accorded only to “fully washed” coffees.

The signal to the market could have a very significant impact, particularly for Japan, the United States and Great Britain.  The introduction of a geographical indication protection could also foster even better cooperation between producers than the already good relations, but this development can be envisaged only with the support of OCIR-Café.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the introduction of GI protection would force producers to make collective efforts to meet the standards imposed by the “coffee of Rwanda" label, and jointly defend the value of their name of origin.

Access to finance is a true problem in the area.  Banks are considered to shy away from providing funding, because of risks of fluctuation in both production volumes and market prices.  This difficulty in accessing finance is reinforced by the current experience, as certain washing stations, perhaps due to their own management weaknesses, found themselves highly in debt and unable to repay loans they had been granted. 

The introduction of protection of geographical indications could give some perspective for higher prices and, consequently, facilitate producers and washing stations’ access of to finance by providing them better conditions of profitability.  According to the RDB, however, even if introducing geographical indication protection may have an impact at this level, improving conditions for producers' access to financing will occur from further consolidation of producers into cooperatives, at least for those who do not yet belong to one.  The Ministry of Agriculture confirms that membership in a cooperative is a pre-requisite for access to funding sources.

For the Ministry of Agriculture, access to finance is an important issue for the entire agricultural sector - not just for the coffee-growing industry, which is rather better off than others, as the specific industry actually receives 70% of the total private agricultural financing allocated.  The introduction of a geographical indication protection should lead to an increase in national income in general, and of each individual producer in particular.  The relevant Advance Market Commitment ensured by a geographical indication could only facilitating access for small producers to sources of funding.

The possible benefits to image quality linked to the introduction of protection of geographical indications seem quite realistic based on the experience of COOPAC, according to which, coffees, which already have established this image, are trading at prices substantially higher than the market for other producers and cooperatives. Depending on the year, the respective prices of these coffees could range from 2.70 to 3.50 USD per kg for coffee from an unidentified cooperative, contrary to the range of 4.00 to 4.50 USD / kg for coffee from COOPAC - the bonus can therefore reach even up to 2 USD per kg, says OCIR-Café, which is equivalent to about 70% of the basic price.  More generally, some washing stations have consistently higher prices than others due to their recognized production quality.

As previously mentioned, "Fair Trade" labels have already been granted to some coffees of Rwanda, including the Maraba coffee, while "organic" labels are now being developed.  Currently, twelve to fifteen cooperatives already have a "Fair Trade" label while a sector is soon to be granted an "organic" label[249].  Rwanda is favourable to the development of these labels, and introducing geographical indications protection seems absolutely consistent with this development, as the "fair trade" and "organic" labels may be granted to some producers, but not necessarily all, active in an area also protected in terms of geographical indication.

For the RDB, the combination of the labels might even result in higher added value.  It should be noted that if the fair trade label is in principle favourable to small producers, as it ensures regular income, it may be detrimental in times of rising coffee prices.  In fact, market prices can exceed the fair trade prices agreed and the bonus may turn into a malus, which is actually the case at present.

 The introduction of a geographical indication protection could also boost the development of existing markets, or open new markets.  Rwanda is already planning to significantly increase its coffee production and is targeting a production volume of approximately 40,000 tons within the next five years.  Rwanda, particularly hopes to develop its sales of “fully washed” coffee on the European market.  Rwanda also hopes to benefit from increased exports to the U.S. and China.  In any event, even if the objectives of its development plan are achieved, Rwanda will remain a small producer and small exporter of coffee[250].  The department in charge of export promotion in the RDB is disposed to conduct market research on the impact of the introduction of geographical indication protection on major export markets for coffees of Rwanda.

Development of existing markets or access to new markets will, however, be restricted by the low capacity of the coffee-growing sector of Rwanda in terms of volume production, according the Department of Agriculture.

Coffee-growing has already economically and socially transformed many parts of Rwanda, promoting the development of housing, education, infrastructure and health care as well as road infrastructure.  Evidently, introducing geographical indications protection can only strengthen this trend.

However, introducing protection of geographical indication, which will lead to increase and growth of parcels, could possibly constitute a risk to the protection of ecosystems and landscapes and subsequently result in harm to biodiversity[251]. This concern is taken into account by the Ministry of Agriculture, and the risk could be reduced by introducing conditions for allocation of funding, so that respect to biodiversity will be taken into consideration in development projects.

The evaluation of these benefits and other potential benefits associated with the introduction of protection of geographical indication of Rwanda coffees is summarized in the table below. It should be noted that assessments of these benefits may be divergent according to the different interlocutors. The different assessments are then listed in parallel.

Advantage

None

Low

Average

High

Very high

Broad access of producers to protection

 

 

 

x

 

 Improved product quality

 

 

 

x

 

 Improvement in the production process

 

 

 

x

 

 Message to the market regarding the reputation and product quality

 

 

 

x

x

 Better cooperation between producers

 

 

 

x

 

 Access to new financial resources

 

 

x

x

 

 Prevention of relocation

 

 

 

 

 

 Preventing theft of traditional know-how

 

 

 

 

 

 Possible combination of GI protection with other tools (eg. Organic certification)

 

 

 

x

 

 Opportunity  to sell at a higher price

 

 

 

x

x

 Development of existing markets

 

 

x

x

 

 Access to new markets

 

 

x

x

 

 Rural Development

 

 

 

x

x

 Protection of ecosystems and landscapes

x

x

 

 

 

 

5.2          Potential problems and disadvantages linked to GI protection of Coffee of Rwanda

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, no problems or major disadvantage has been identified in connection with the possible introduction of protection of geographical indication for coffees of Rwanda.  The Ministry notes here that exports represent over 90% of the total coffee production in Rwanda.  The introduction of protection of geographical indications could be used to stimulate the initiative of producers and promote their collaboration in groups, with the support of the state.  However, the risk of appropriation of the benefits by sector intermediaries to the expense of producers seems real and could also justify state intervention.

For the Ministry of Commerce, the development of a geographical indication could require significant resources in terms of expertise, and thus prove costly.

The study on the introduction of geographical indication protection of Rwanda coffees, as mentioned above, will address aspects related to the identification of their specific biological or cultural attributes. At this stage this does not seem to raise major difficulties, but conducting the study itself has nevertheless taken a long time, since it was launched five years ago.

Concerns regarding the complexity of developing a geographical indication from a legal and administrative point of view are probably valid, but the producers and their associations can count on the unwavering support of national institutions active in the sector, starting with OCIR-Café .

The RDB underlines that Law No. 31/2009 should be supplemented by an implementing decree or a ministerial order clarifying questions of quality and production processes.  The development of a geographical indication certainly requires material and human resources, but these do not seem disproportionate in regard to the situation of many cooperatives.  The RDB acknowledges that the situation is very different from one cooperative to another, as some are facing significant management challenges.

Lack of not only financial, as already mentioned, but also human resources to engage in the process of developing a geographical indication may, in turn, prove to be a real obstacle in implementation of this project - although, again, producers and their representatives can count on the support of national institutions in the sector.

According to OCIR-Café, precise geographical delineation of the area covered by the geographical indication could result in difficulties in implementing and managing a governance structure for the geographical indication.  However, according to the RDB, national institutions such as the OCIR-Café or ISAR could participate in the governance structure of a geographical indication in the coffee sector, and greatly facilitate its implementation and management.

Furthermore, the OCIR-Café estimates that the smaller producers would undoubtedly benefit from the introduction of protection of geographical indication, provided, as mentioned above, that a rebate system is generalized so that the washing stations return at least part of the bonus yielded from the geographical indication.  In this respect, the RDB notes that Law No. 31/2009 refers to the registration of a geographical indication on the condition that it can benefit small producers.  The RDB also underlines that the state intervenes directly in setting the minimum price, which is widely disseminated through print and audio-visual means to the entire population.

Risk of marginalization of other important productions in the region should be reduced by the establishment of national programs -already in place- to help maintain food production.  Each district is well delineated within the framework of a production zoning defined by the state.  Without imposing a specific cultivation, this promotes the development of one or several cultivation(s) within a given sector.  This recommendation is reflected as well in the easier access to financing, in factors of production and in seeds.  In any event, such a case has not yet been observed to date, again greatly due to the practice of mixed farming.

The risk of excluding certain producers from the geographical indication cannot be eradicated, since the introduction of a geographical indication necessarily implies the use of standards – some of which may not be able to respond to, or not wish to comply, as divergence in quality between products from neighbouring farms is a given fact.

To the contrary, possible exclusion from local demand does not seem to be a prospect of concern, at least not beyond a limited scale. Domestic consumption of coffee is, as previously mentioned, very low and belongs to a relatively wealthy class, since coffee is considered a luxury product.

For OCIR-Café, geographical indication should, at least initially, be owned by the state, even if subsequently it will be transferred back to the private sector.  According to this organization, the question of ownership of the geographical indication should not be a source of conflict in any event.

If the site for the installation of a washing station is properly chosen, it is possible to limit the impact on the environment - but is should not be overlooked that the activity of a washing station may have negative impact on its immediate surrounding environment.  In fact, washing stations are in principle located on sloping grounds and use a large amount of water, causing runoff of wastewater into rivers or groundwater.  Rivers surrounding the stations present high concentrations of sludge, containing large quantities of fermented saps[252].  The demucilaging operation, meanwhile, releases repulsive odours associated with the process of fermentation and growth of micro-organisms.  In any case, it seems essential to monitor the impact of coffee processing operations on the environment, and this aspect should be taken into consideration in a potential introduction of protection of geographical indication.

The introduction of GI protection, however, seems to not considerably affect local cultures.

The evaluation of these and other potential disadvantages and problems associated with the introduction of a geographical indication protection for coffees of Rwanda is summarized in the table below. It should be noted that there may be a divergence among interlocutors in the assessment of these disadvantages. In this case, the different assessments are listed in parallel.

Disadvantage

None

Low

Average

High

Very high

Difficulty linked to the identification of specific biological or cultural attributes of the product

x

x

 

 

 

Legal and administrative complexity of developing a GI

 

x

x

x

 

Lack of financial and human resources to engage in the development of a GI

x

x

x

x

 

Difficulties associated with the implementation and management of a governance structure appropriate for GI

x

x

 

x

 

Inability of GI protection to significantly help small producers

x

 

 

 

 

Marginalization of other important products and production in the region

 

x

 

x

 

Risk of appropriation of the economic value created by protection of GIs by processors and distributors

x

 

 

x

 

Economic exclusion on the supply side: exclusion of some producers due to the definition of product characteristics or the requirements in terms of information, security and traceability

 

 

 

x

 

Economic exclusion on the demand side: no access of local and low-income populations to traditional and / or alimentary products

 

x

 

x

 

Possibility of dispute over ownership of the GI, particularly between national authorities and local populations or authorities

 

x

 

x

 

Risks to biodiversity conservation

 

 

x

x

 

May distort the local culture

 

x

 

 

 

 

 


Senegal: Yett of Joal Case Study

Registration and protection of geographical indications fall directly under the African Intellectual Property Organisation- OAPI, based in Yaoundé, responsible for these issues on behalf all its Member States, including Senegal. However, it should be noted that to date the OAPI is competent only in principle, as until now no product of Senegal, nor of any other of the OAPI Member States, has been granted protection of geographical indication.

The OAPI has national liaison structures in its Member States. A preliminary investigation of the approach to protection of geographical indications could be set up through the consultation of these national representatives. The national liaison structure representing Senegal is the Senegalese Agency for Intellectual Property and Technology - ASPIT (Agence Sénégalaise de la Propriété Intellectuelle et de la Technologie), and responsibilities in terms of protection of geographical indications have recently been assigned to the Ministry of Industry.

  For Senegal, as for most Member States of the OAPI, the legal framework for the protection of geographical indication is laid out in Annex VI of the Bangui Agreement establishing an African Organization of Intellectual Property; Annex VI, which focuses on geographical indications, but has not been transposed into national law.

 It should be noted that in the context of the implementation of its policy of promoting protection of geographical indications within its Member States, the OAPI has recently initiated a pilot study aiming to identify eligible products for protection within three of its Member States[253] .

I.          The Yett, its natural properties and reputation in international markets

1.1.        The Yett or "cymbium cymbium"

 The Yett – its scientific name is "cymbium cymbium" - is a marine mollusk, a genus of sea snail. Dried on the beaches by artisan fishers, it is used as a condiment in the preparation of certain dishes such as kandia soup or thiebou dieune.

The cymbium feeds on seafood, and specifically the “tchanda”.  The cymbium sticks to the sand when the sea is rough; this behavioral pattern allows fishers to anticipate the volume of a catch by observing the weather conditions.

The cymbium breeds mostly in December and January, but this period may extend up until March.

 Fishermen distinguish several varieties of cymbium, among which are the rock or water cymbium . This cymbium has the distinguishing trait of gorging itself with water, which it gradually loses during the ride back to the port.  This variety is less popular among fishermen than others, such as the cymbium glans or cymbium pepo, a species that lives in the sand and remains the same in volume from catch to processing.  The price of this variety is actually higher than the rock cymbium.

1.2.      Geographical identity of the Yett

The Yett is found all along the coast of Senegal, and even beyond.  Yett fishermen, including those operating in Joal, are known to frequent the coasts of Gambia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

The Yett is fairly homogeneous across the "small coast" (from Dakar to Casamance). Joal and M'Bour are the two major mollusk fishing ports in the region.  The mollusk appears to have specific gustative qualities that consumers recognise.  For some interviewees, it is the Yett of Senegal, precisely, that differs from Yett of other origins, as the Yett caught on either the small or large coast are quite homogenous.  On the other hand, small-scale processors actually seem to be able to tell the difference of the Yett originating from one region of Senegal to the other.

 Informed consumers are also able to identify the origin of the Yett by the colour of the product.  As a result, the Yett from Sangomar point and Pointe-Sarene appear to be particularly appreciated and recognized by consumers and small-scale processors.

The cymbium is also present in Asia, which explains the habit of consuming this shellfish in Asia and the relevant interest in importing the Yett of Senegal.

Although the specific quality of Joal Yett is recognized by its consumers, the natural or technical origin of this specificity is not clearly defined.  One thought is that it owes its taste to the local plankton on which it feeds.

The industrial sector also underlines that there are local characteristics of the Yett, particularly in terms of water loss. These differences in quality do not, however, translate into differences in taste.

The quality of Yett also depends on how long it is stored on the boat before reaching harbour.  This depends on how long it takes to collect all the nets, and therefore the number of nets   has a crucial impact on quality.  Improved quality of the final product could therefore be ensured by reducing the number of nets on board each boat, which in turn implies leading fishermen to shift from their traditional strategy of volume, to one of quality.

1.3.      Fishing, processing and local expertise

Yett fishing is done using a special net with a large mesh but the Yett is also a very common by-catch with other types of nets.

It should be noted that the volumes of Yett catches have been constantly falling for several years now.  This reduction was observed after 1980.  Previously it was common for fishers to go out to sea twice a day, and haul in ten 60 kg baskets of Yett per day, per canoe; whereas, today fishermen set out every other day.  Fishing lines or a set of four nets attached to eachother used to ensure a full boat-load’s catch, but fishermen now use 30 to 40 nets to catch no more than 3 or 4 crates, in other words well below the capacity of a boat’s hold.

According to all stakeholders, this reduction in catches reflects the depletion of stocks.  Confronted with this situation, a fishermen association is trying to promote responsible fishing practices and, in particular, a pause during periods of biological reproduction, but seems not to be receiving much attention.  An experiment of this type was, however, conducted in January 2006 with the support of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JIMARC).

The technique of processing the Yett is common across Senegal.  It seems, however, that the traditional quality aspects, mainly related to the duration of the drying period, are no longer respected, in a purely profit-making orientation towards the activity.  This change of the production process is sometimes attributed to the arrival of the Asian industrial players in the late 90s.

There are six main steps to production of processed Yett once the shellfish has been captured: shelling, cleaning, salting, fermentation, drying and slicing.  This process is identical in all Yett fishing grounds.

 Once the shell is cracked open, the mollusk is buried under the sand for several days to season.  It is then washed with clean water four or five times, sliced and dried in the sun.

The quality of the finished product directly depends on the duration of drying, as it should be left to dry as long as possible, up to two or three weeks  . Drying results in a change in colour of the product which turns from whitish to a shade of red.

 Leaving the product out to dry in the open air is an essential phase in processing the Yett, as sunlight is a natural characteristic essential to its production.

 Yett fishing is an activity subject to a seasonal cycle linked to the period of Yett reproduction (December-March).  In principle, fishing is prohibited in Joal during this period.  Nevertheless, fishermen still have the option to unload their catch in a nearby port.

 It should be noted that the Management Committee of Small-Scale Fisheries of Senegal - COGEPA (Comité de Gestion des Pêches Artisanales du Sénégal),  has included the Yett among the list of species to be protected.  Awareness raising activities targeting fishermen have been implemented in this respect, as part of the cooperation initiative with Japan.


1.4.        Geographical Identification of the production zone

Two ports play a major role in fishing and processing the Yett: Joal and M'Bour; Joal is clearly the most important of the two.  These two ports combined account for about 70% of Senegal’s production of Yett.

 The fishing area where Joal fishermen daily cast their nets extends from Point-Sarene to Joal.

 Several geographical designations could thus be considered: Joal Yett, small-coast Yett, or Senegalese Yett.  In either case, the origin of catch remains to be certified, as it can sometimes be located very far from the port site.

 Some interlocutors, however, indicate that the Yett of Differe or Fadiouth (a town of Joal) along with the Yett of Sangomar are much more prized, and sold at prices higher than the Yett from other fishing zones.

 In general, it seems that Yett processing in Differe and Fadiouth also follows the traditional processing technique.

1.5.        Identifying key markets

About half the Yett caught in Joal is intended for the domestic market, and the other half is sent off to various export markets.

The main export markets of Joal Yett are Korea, China, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia. Elim Pêches company made an attempt to export cymbium to the American market, but requirements in terms of sanitary control imposed by local authorities were, according to Elim Pêches officials, too harsh for this market to prove profitable.

 It is worth noting that the Yett is not directly exported from Senegal to Europe; however, according to several sources, Yett exported to Asian markets could sometimes be re-exported to Europe, especially France, mainly to Senegalese expatriate communities.

1.6.        Yett reputation in main export markets

According to Elim Pêches company officials, the quality of its product, especially the quality of the cymbium originating from Joal, is recognized by Asian consumers.  When Elim had to cope with a lack of resources in Joal and resorted to sourcing cymbium from Mauritania, consumers noticed the substitution and sales declined.  According to these officials, only cymbium from Senegal or from Gambia can remain in a good condition after boiler cooking.

 Elim Pêches products appear to be extremely popular in Korea, and also have an excellent reputation in Japan.

II.         Analysis of the competitive structure

2.1.  Value chain analysis

Two streams should be clearly distinguished as regards to the processing and distribution of the Yett: the first is the local aspect, which features artisanal processing of the product destined for the domestic market.  The second is the industrial side, which performs a double cooking and freezing process on the natural product, and is intended exclusively for export.

A census of stakeholders involved in the Yett fishing and processing industry was recently undertaken, commissioned by the Ministry of Fisheries.

Fishers

The census shows that there were about 700 boats engaged in fishing in Joal in April 2010.  A percentage of 99% of these boats belong to the fishermen themselves, and a few others belong to a fish wholesale trader or a private investor .  In their majority, fishermen do not own a canoe; however, some may have two or even three.  Management of the activity does remain, in any event, based on a family model.

 The number of cymbium fishermen in Joal has rapidly grown in recent decades.  In 1960, not more than a dozen cymbium fishermen were operating in Joal.

 It should be borne in mind that the canoes come in very different sizes, capable of carrying 4 to 35 hired fishermen.  Small canoes, with fixed nets, gill nets, or encircling gill nets, set out fishing daily leaving the port each morning to return late in the day. Large boats, on the other hand, can remain at sea for much longer periods, reaching up to 20 days. These large boats can sometimes operate in pairs, in some cases with one boat handling a net like a purse seine, and the auxiliary carrier boat being responsible for retrieving the catch.

 Within the fishing community itself, it is necessary to distinguish several groups according to the fishing technique implemented: fishing using fixed nets, towed gear, cast nets, and finally, recovery of waste from trawlers.  As cymbium constitutes a bycatch of the latter, some fishermen actually specialize in the recovery of their releases.  This practice is, however, prohibited in Joal.  An estimated 90% of the total proportion of fishermen is using some type of net.

In 2000, the total catch of cymbium represented a volume of 4916 tons for the whole of Senegal.  In 2009, the catch amounted to a volume of 1,760 tons for the single port of Joal.  These volumes are marked by strong seasonality, the months presenting lowest volumes being October (21 tons) and December (1 ton), in contrast to the most productive months of May (280 tons) and August (291 tons).

 In Joal, a daily-catch boat would normally produce 4 or 5 crates per day in the month of June, each crate holding some 55-60 kgs of Yett.

 It should be noted that few Joal fishermen specialise in Yett fishing.  Most of them engage in other fisheries in parallel, and use a specific net for each case.

 No stakeholder can be considered dominant in the fishing industry itself.

Other actors involved in the chain include: fish wholesalers, national distributors and exporters, small-scale artisanal processors, processing plants destined for export operations.

Small-scale artisanal processors

 There is only a small number of processors, who are further reducing sharply in numbers in recent years, due to scarcity of the resource. Most of them have one or two employees.

 Traditionally, processors pay the fishermen in advance, to buy exclusive access to the product caught.  Usually processors do not work only in Yett processing but also operate with other fish products (kettiah, etc.).  Nevertheless, Yett constitutes their main product.  These processors are sometimes actually the Yett fishermen’s wives, and in this case a part of the catch is usually reserved for them, and the other part is sold to wholesalers who supply the domestic market.

Wholesale traders

 There are eight Yett specializing wholesalers trading in Joal.  All of them work exclusively with specific fishermen whom they pay in advance, while they themselves are pre-financed by a factory. These are the plants that fix the purchase price of the resource. Factories actually have economic power over the entire industry; furthermore, they pre-agree their purchase price, which of course considerably increases their economic power on the fishermen and fish wholesale traders.  The only effective competition that these plants could face would be from the processors, but this competition is clearly unbalanced.

Factories and industrial processing plants

The sector has four cooking and freezing plants and some thirty private facilities implementing the same type of operation on a smaller scale.  These facilities have emerged more recently than the factories, and this emergence seems to result directly from the success of the product on the export markets.

Factories are working directly for an exporter or, in some cases, belong to one of them.  This is the case of the Elim Pêches plant, the only factory located in Joal, and top exporter of the Senegalese Yett.  Elim Pêches collects Yett all along the small coast of Senegal, not only Joal.  The Company pre-finances five to six wholesalers over the period of a year.

 Elim Pêches employs 20 permanent employees and about fifty other fixed- term employees.  The company appears to be in a clearly dominant position, since the other three plants, located in Dakar, employ fewer than five people each.

 The company was founded in 2004 as a partnership between Korean and Senegalese entrepreneurs.  Elim Pêches does not process cymbium exclusively, but is also operating other types of gastropods, including mirex. The initiative was triggered by the emerging interest from the Asian market for boiler cooked cymbium, dating from the beginning of 2000.

Elim Pêches, like other industrial processing factories and facilities, processes the product using a cook-and-freeze technique. The production process implemented unfolds in a series of steps which are:

  • Receipt (weighing);
  • Washing-sorting;
  • Cooking;
  • Cooling;
  • Trimming;
  • Washing;
  • Calibration;
  • Weighing;
  • Shelfing;
  • Freezing;
  • Extracting;
  • Conditioning;
  • Storage;
  • Labelling;
  • Shipping.

The main technical characteristics of the process are cooking temperature, pressure and duration. These characteristics are considered to be an Elim Pêches trade secret but have not been patented.

Elim Pêches has three competitors in Dakar. These companies are all operating on the same upstream and downstream markets, and are all implementing a similar process, although the specifications mentioned above are individual to each entity.  These specificities are reflected in the different characteristics and gustative qualities, which are apparently recognisable.

 The entire Elim Pêches production is exported, mainly to Korean markets, which account for 62% of the company’s sales. The other export markets are Japan (22%) and China (5%). 

 However, production has sharply fallen at the plant level, especially for Elim Pêches, due to scarcity of the resource.  This decline has been particularly felt since January 2009.

 Elim Pêches sells to importers on the various export markets, who in turn resell the product to individual traders and supermarket chains.

 Elim Pêches is clearly in a dominant position in the "cook-freeze” industrial activity, with its sales representing approximately 70% of total industry sales.

 It is worth stressing that Elim Pêches has already identified imitations of its products in China.  Elim is therefore absolutely convinced that establishment of geographical indication protection of the Senegal Yett is important, and fully supports the prospect.


Sector organizations

In Joal, most Yett fishermen have formed economic interest groups (EIG), in turn divided into various local unions at the village and inter-village level, assembled themselves into a national federation, the FENALGIE.

 The organization of fishermen in EIGs responds to a government incentive to do so.  This form of organization facilitates the access of fishermen to finance.

There is also an association of Joal fishermen which includes all the fishermen, whether they are in the Yett fishing business -which they are, in the majority-, or not.

 Also to be noted, is an association of fishermen called “Oceanium”, which promotes measures to protect the resource by promoting the release of young cymbium caught, along with the respect of biological rest periods.

 Furthermore, there are national organizations of wholesalers and processors.

 There are five major national organizations related to Yett fishing and processing: the National Collective of Fishermen of Senegal, the National Federation of Fisheries EIGs of Senegal (FENALGIE), the National Federation of Fish Wholesale Traders of Senegal, the National Federation of Fish Processors and Wholesale Traders of Senegal and, finally, the National Union of EIGs of Fish Wholesalers of Senegal.

These five associations have grouped themselves into a single entity called the National Interprofessional Committee of Artisanal Fisheries of Senegal - CONIPAS (Comité National Interprofessionnel de la Pêche Artisanale du Sénégal).

 Also worth noting is the existence of the Management Committee of Fishing Piers of Joal, based in Joal, which manages the docks and includes all stakeholders in the sector: fishermen, processors, wholesalers, administrative services, municipalities.  This Committee is the interlocutor of the EU Delegation in the implementation of the Joal port authorisation, for import into Europe of products that are landed in Joal port.

The Joal Fisheries Committee is in charge of day-to-day management of the fishing pier and boat registration. The Committee constitutes an inter-professional economic interest group financed by collecting a fee from its members.  The Committee is managing the fishing pier in Joal, with a concession on behalf of the Municipality of Joal, which itself holds the main concession.

 Eleven organizations are members of the inter-professional EIG, representing from fishermen, fish wholesale traders, processors, to the unloading and handling personnel; three fishermen's organizations; FENALGIE Fisheries, which is a national organization; the National Collective of Fishermen of Senegal (Collectif National des Pêcheurs du Sénégal - CNPS); and the Collective of Young Fishermen.  It appears that these organizations do not know the exact number of their own members- some members may belong to several organisations. Such is for instance the case of CNPS, whose President also chairs the Inter-professional EIG.

III.        Analysis of the market structure

 As previously elaborated, Yett processing operations are divided into two very distinct processes: the artisanal process, intended solely for the domestic market; and industrial processing, intended exclusively for export markets.

3.1.        Domestic Markets

Although prices are quite volatile, nonetheless it seems that they are all increasing. The typical price of a 60 kg basket of cymbium in 2008 was at about 2,500 XAF.  Today, crates of cymbium, which have replaced the baskets but hold the same volume and have the same weight, are sold at 40 to 50,000 XAF, i.e. about 650 to 830 XAF / kg.  This price increase is mainly attributed to the scarcity of the resource.

 The average product price paid by the consumer on the domestic market varies from 700 to 1,500 XAF / kg depending on the quality of the finished product.  Quality differences are indeed recognized and considered important.

 The Yett constitutes a type of condiment used as an ingredient in the preparation of certain dishes; its consumption is linked to a certain consumer "comfort" and in no case can be considered staple food.  In addition, seasoning products do exist in substitution of this condiment, such as guedj or artificial flavors (Maggi, Knorr broth, etc).  It is therefore valid to consider that domestic consumption is highly dependent on its price and the price elasticity of this product in the domestic market is high.

3.2.        Export Markets

The production of the cook-freeze industrial sector is exclusively intended for export markets, mainly Asia, Korea, Japan and China.  Chinese and Korean companies have been established in Senegal to exploit this sector.  In the town of Joal, a processing industry called Elim Pêches was bought by a Korean company in 2004.

Yett production for export, which passes through the processing plants, represents a volume of 4 to 5 tons per day for the single port of Joal.  It should be noted that company Elim Pêches is the top exporter of Senegal in terms of cargo volumes (about 3,600 tons per year).

There is no international cash market or futures market for this type of product.  The Yett is the object of direct negotiations, firstly between fishermen and fish wholesalers, and the between wholesalers and processors on the one hand, and the processing plant on the other.

GI protection of the product on its main export markets

So far, the product has no protection of its geographical indication in Senegal or any of its export markets.

Main distributors of the product on its main export markets

 Each export market has a number of active import agents. Elim Pêches negotiates with four importers for the Korean market. Prices are set with each importer for the entire year. There has been an upward trend in prices since late 2007.

Substitute products on export markets

Cymbium as such is a dish in Asian countries, and therefore there is no competitor that could directly substitute the Yett.

IV.       Analysis of the value chain

The value chain is strongly characterized by pre-financing practices, from downstream to upstream, at each level of the chain.

4.1.        Analysis of the value chain

Prices charged by producers are homogeneous in a given period.  However, there is a strong variation of the price from one day to another.  Also, these prices have presented a remarkable upward trend since the port of Joal was awarded a license for export to the EU.  In this context, the Joal Fisheries Department is responsible to issue certificates of origin and health to wholesalers; implementation of this certification has resulted in establishing a traceability system for these products, now tracked from capture to sale.

The purchase price of the product from fishermen has risen from 6,000 to 35,000 XAF per case in a few years, while the selling price of the processed product to merchants who sell on local markets in 2010 varied between 700 and 1,100 XAF / kg.

Many processors who provide advance payments to fishermen, are themselves pre-financed by traders. These appear to be in an advantageous position since, according to our interlocutors, local demand would exceed supply.

Prices charged by wholesale traders take into account both the selection process to sort out the resource, and physiological characteristics - in particular, stability or instability of weight.  Cymbium can lose up to 30% of its weight during its trip from Joal to Dakar.

When there is no such type of direct agreement, the fisherman sells his catch either to an intermediary or to a wholesale trader, for a price of around 200 XAF / kg either way.  The intermediary, called the “lagalagal”, then sells the product to a fish wholesale trader or, occasionally, directly to a processing unit at a price of around 225 XAF / kg.  It should be noted that the fish wholesale trader can also occasionally pre-finance the fisherman.  The wholesalers then sell their product to the processing plant, occasionally to small scale processors.  When sold to factories, the product is sorted by the fish wholesale trader and meets certain pre-set standards.  Its price can then reach up to 700 XAF / kg .

 It should be noted that sales are most often based on estimates, without weighing the product, resulting in fairly common sales losses for fishermen.  However, fishermen are not obliged to sell their catch in Joal and can travel along coast to negotiate the catch at various ports.

 No price is fixed at any stage of the industry whatsoever.  Prices may vary at very short notice -sometimes slighty, other times considerably, depending on production volumes and demand.  However, the following prices have been quoted as representative "standard"  price at the time of this study (December 2010):

  • landing price: 500 XAF / kg (ranging from 450 to 700 XAF)
  • entry prices at the factory: 560 XAF / kg (ranging from 500 to 700 XAF)

The management cost of a net for a fisherman is estimated at 10,000 XAF, but he can earn up to 50,000 XAF by selling a crate.  Yett fishing is therefore a very lucrative activity.  This profitability has led fishermen to recognize the value of a pause during the period of biological reproduction, but this practice is not yet generalised.

 Elim Pêches quotes a resource purchase price of 600 XAF / kg, with this price on an upward trend since late 2008 because of the scarcity of the resource.

It should be noted that the yield of the finished product ready for consumption, is about 50% of the gross landed weight.

 Transportation is also an important element in this value chain. The cost of transportation is deducted from the "ex works" value of the product, ie the price paid to producers, so the producer's income decreases in proportion to the distance from the centre of consumption for which the goods are destined.  The main national consumption centres are Dakar, the other large urban centers and the Casamance region.

4.2.        Competition at different levels of the value chain

 Yett fishermen are numerous in Joal, as is the case throughout the small coast.  However, once their catch is sold, there is little competition. The absence of price competition also results from the practice of pre-funding of fishermen by processors and wholesalers.

Competition between wholesalers appears to be the stiffest, and it much explains their willingness to enter into pre-financing contracts with fishermen to ensure exclusivity on the product of their catches.

The plant located in Joal, Elim Pêches, is itself in competition with three other factories located in Dakar. Competition among these entities is considered rude, although Elim Pêches is indicated to be in a dominant position.

4.3.        Vertical integration in the value chain

There are two cases of vertical integration in the port of Joal between the activities of fishing, fish trading and processing. However, neither of these two players is involved in Yett fishing or processing

 Two other actors have attempted an integration of fisheries and the fish trade, but these attempts were unsuccessful. It seems that the fishermen are, by definition, too mobile to engage in activities other than their own core activity.

There is no other case of vertical integration in the value chain.

4.4.        Vertical cooperation in the value chain

As stated previously, the cooperation between fishermen and fish traders on the one hand, between fishermen and processors on the other, and finally between wholesalers and factories, is very common in the port of Joal - in the form of pre-financing agreements.

Factories in Dakar have their own representatives on the port site, the conveyors, but they do not deal directly with fishermen.

According to some of our interlocutors, small-scale processors would be expected to disappear from the Yett value chain, victims of an exclusionary effect due to the fact that industrial plants offer fishermen higher prices for their product. These processors remain however active in the production chain of many other products, such as the guedj.

The inter-professional EIG Diamo, managing the Joal fishing pier, constitutes another form of cooperation within the value chain.

V.        Advantages, disadvantages and potential problems linked to GI protection

5.1          Profit and potential benefits linked to geographical indication protection

Stakeholders consulted most often recognize the substantial potential benefit in establishing geographical indication protection for the Yett. The main potential benefits identified linked to a possible GI protection concern the impact of eventual labelling on development of infrastructure, stabilization, quantity and quality of production and, consequently, hopefully easier access for new funding. Funding is indeed a serious problem for the sector, as private and public institutions most often refuse to provide even limited support to further develop, or to even just maintain this activity.

Other expected benefits from protection of geographical indication include the opportunity to increase the selling price of the product, building awareness of the product in export markets, and stricter selection processes at the source, thus resulting in improved quality.

For small-scale processors, labelling could open new markets and assist them to develop their business towards export markets.

According to ELIM Pêches, protection of the Yett’s geographical indication could have a positive effect in improving production processes and final product quality. This protection could also be an important message to markets. However, the company possesses foreign capital, and faces no problem of funding - the introduction of protection of GIs would probably bring them no benefit in this sense.

According to Elim Pêches company officials, the impact of GI protection on sales volumes in key export markets could be significant (from a 50% increase to a doubling of exports).

The evaluation of these and other potential advantages associated with the introduction of a geographical indication protection for Yett is summarized in the table below.  It should be noted that there may be a divergence among interlocutors in the assessment of these advantages.  In this case, the different assessments are listed in parallel.  


 


 Advantage

None

Low

Average

High

Very high

 Broad access of producers to protection

 

 

 

 x

 

 Improved product quality

 

 

 

 x

 

 Improvement in the production process

 

 

 

 x

 

 Message to the market regarding the reputation and product quality

 

 

 

 x

 

 Better cooperation between producers

 

 

 x

 x

 

 Access to new financial resources

 

 

 

 x

 

 Prevention of relocation

 

 

 

 

 x

 Preventing theft of t