How EU helps Melitopol sweet cherries and other Ukrainian goods become world-known

Melitopol sweet cherries will become an international brand. In July, its registration as the first berry in Ukraine with a historical-geographical indication will be completed.

Only sweat cherries grown in or around Melitopol, of a certain caliber and taste, will have the right to be called Melitopol sweet cherries. The Association of Melitopol Sweet Cherry Growers told NV Radio that because of this certificate they would like to protect almost two dozen varieties of this berry, as well as enter foreign markets.

For example, one of the main competitors of Melitopol sweet cherries is Italian cherries, which also has a geographical indication. Now the price between Italian and Melitopol cherries differs four times in favour of a foreign one. However, it took Italian cherries ten years to earn a place in the market.

In Ukraine, the system of geographical indications of products is just being formed, the first was the Hutsul sheep bryndza, which received a certificate last fall. And in Europe, more than 3.5 thousand products with a geographical indication are registered.

Ivan Haivanovych, Marketing Communication Expert of the European Union Supporting the Development of the Geographical Indication System in Ukraine project, told NV Radio in an interview what producers and consumers will get from it and what Ukrainian products may become known all over the world.

Радіо НВ · Що відбувається: Що відбувається: Мелітопольська черешня стане брендом. Як вона підкорить світ?

– What Ukrainian products are already waiting for the registration of their geographical indication?

– A dozen Ukrainian products were identified as a priority by the Ministry of Agriculture a year and a half ago. Applications have already been submitted by the Association of Hutsul Cow Cheese Producers and Kherson Watermelon Producers. Wines from the Odesa oblast and Melitopol sweet cherries will also be on the line in the near future.

– What does it give producers and consumers?

– First, the geographical indication is the object of intellectual property, confirms that such a product, with such qualities and with such a name can be produced only in a certain area and only by manufacturers who meet the established requirements.

The benefit of manufacturers is that products with a geographical indication are at least one and a half times more expensive. Geographical indications serve as a kind of magnet for tourists.

An even more side effect of the development of the system of geographical indications is that they contribute to the export potential of this product. In the European Union, more than 15% of total exports are geographical indications.

– How much time and money does it take to bring your authentic product to the foreign market to become famous?

– A lot of different factors play a role here. What kind of product it is, how prominent is the market, and with whom do we have to compete. It ultimately depends on whether the state provides support. Depends on what amount we expect.

Today, Ukraine is one of the world’s most powerful honey producers and a very large exporter of honey. In the EU, a huge proportion of honey sold is of Ukrainian origin, but it is not sold as Ukrainian honey. We are currently preparing documentation for Zakarpattia honey, but this does not mean that everything is limited to Zakarpattia honey.

– Is there any responsibility if someone uses the same name without any ground?

– Even the current authorities may carry out such supervision and may impose sanctions. First of all, we are talking about the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection. In case the goods marked illegally will be sold, the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection may impose a fine.

In addition, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine may initiate an investigation and impose a fine for violating unfair competition. We had a precedent when the AMCU fined a producer of sparkling wines that were labelled as Asti – the fine exceeded one million hryvnias there. Truth be told, Asti continues to be produced. The benefit from the sale of Asti exceeded the losses caused by this imposed fine.

– What Ukrainian products can have potential, even become known to the whole world, and what can be the support of the state?

– The same Hutsul sheep cheese and Hutsul cow cheese can be such products. But we must understand that the volume of their production is very small. That is, it is unlikely to be a product that will sound to the whole world, that everyone will know.

We need to go step by step, we need to open the market for goods with a “national” geographical indication. In Ukraine, many people know nothing or almost nothing about these products. It is necessary to promote the distribution of these products in Ukraine, and only then to look at exports abroad.

If we talk about the export potential of the Odesa black grape variety and wine of it, which receives very positive reviews, has the potential for export. One of its manufacturers supplies it to Ukrainian embassies abroad, and it serves as a kind of business card of Ukraine. But here again there are many prerequisites. You need to expand the area of vineyards, you need to control the quality and you need to promote this product, this geographical indication abroad. It will be extremely difficult to achieve this without the help of the state.

Editor: Diana Kovalova

Source: NV.UA