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Guimaras growers to seek GI status for mangoes

Mango growers have committed to start developing a “code of practice” to push for the certification of Guimaras mango as a geographical indication [GI].

Rose Griesser, chairman of the Guimaras Mango Growers and Producers Development Cooperative, made this commitment during a recent meeting with European Union (EU) Ambassador Franz Jessen in the province.

Griesser told Jessen the cooperative’s code of practice is an initial step to pushing for the application for certification of Guimaras mango as a GI.

“Geographical indications support rural development, new job opportunities and add value to products,” Jessen said in a statement.

GIs are distinctive signs used to identify a product as originating in the territory of a particular country, region or locality where its quality, reputation or other characteristic is linked to its geographical origin.

Jessen said Guimaras mangoes have strong potential, and farmers could expand their international export market should they take advantage of the opportunities the protection and familiarity the Guimaras mango can provide.

The EU envoy was with Mihai Sion, chargé d’affaires (ad interim) and German Deputy Ambassador Michael Hasper for a two-day mission to Guimaras Island.

Meanwhile, the Guimaras mango farmers were among the beneficiaries of workshops and trainings designed to assist producers and processors in crafting the code of practice for Guimaras mango as a GI that will be duly certified by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (Ipophl). Marketing GIs, international standards on food safety, packaging and labeling for the Guimaras mangoes was also covered in these capacity-building activities.

Jessen also called on farmers to take advantage of the Generalized System of Preference Plus (GSP+) status granted to the Philippines in 2014.

The GSP+ scheme allows for a significant reduction of customs tariffs on Filipino export products, and has led to a marked increase of export to the EU.

The EU grants the GSP+ status to generate economic benefits that will help the benefiting country not only economically, but also to assume its responsibilities under core international conventions on human and labor rights, environmental protection and good governance.

To boost the competitiveness of specific Philippine products in the global market, the Trade Related Technical Assistance Project 3 has mobilized experts to support the Ipophl in developing, promoting and protecting the  Guimaras mango as a GI.

The Guimaras mango GI serves as a label that characterizes the mangoes as both originating in Guimaras, as well as reputedly fresh and sweet.

Studies show that sales value of GI-registered products can be more than double in similar products without a GI.

The EU said it supports efforts of the Philippines to develop its own sui generis GI regulation so that farmers can take advantage of the opportunities the protection and familiarity the products can bring.

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