April 22, 2016

Guimaras mango will soon get its geographical indication (GI) certification which will distinguish the product in the export market.

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

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 linked to its geographical origin.

Mango industry stakeholders recently committed to start developing a “Code of Practice” in a recent meeting with European Union ambassador Franz Jessen.

Rose Griesser, chairperson of the Guimaras Mango Growers and Producers Development Cooperative, pledged to work on the cooperative’s code of practice.

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 of the “Guimaras Mango” certification can provide.

“Geographical indications support rural development, provide new job opportunities and add value to products such as ‘Guimaras Mango’,”
Jessen said.

Jessen was with Mihai Sion, chargé d’affaires, and German deputy ambassador Michael Hasper went on a two-day mission to Guimaras Island. 

Guimaras mango farmers were among the beneficiaries of workshops and training sessions designed to assist mango producers and processors in putting in place the Code of Practice for Guimaras Mango as a GI that will be duly certified by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines(IPOPh).

Marketing GIs, international standards on foods safety, packaging and labelling for the Guimaras mangoes were also covered in these capacity-building activities.

Jessen also called on farmers to take advantage of the Generalised System of PreferencesPlus (GSP+) status that was 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 benefitting country not only economically, but also to assume its responsibilities under core international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection and good governance.

The meeting with the mango industry stakeholders was linked to the Trade-Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) Program 3.

To boost the competitiveness of specific Philippine products in the global markets, TRTA Project 3 has mobilized experts to support IPOPh in developing, promoting and protecting the Guimaras Mango as a GI.

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

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

GI protection has economic and cultural impacts as it can create value for local communities through products that are deeply rooted in tradition, culture and geography.