Part 3: Implementing origin-linked product strategies

Motivating producers

Several factors can influence OLP producers to collectively develop a business strategy around their OLP. These factors include:

  •   A lack of value chain organisation for the product. Adopting a collective strategy to market and promote the OLP will result in strengthening value chain actors.
  •   There is a need to legally protect the name and traditional name of the product and develop a strategy for the product to be distinguished on the market.
  •   The potential to strengthen and codify production practices and to integrate environmental, social and cultural conditions of production.
  •   There is also the potential to promote the territory of production, strengthening communities in the territory and communication of the unique characteristics of the product to consumers and exporters.

What is required

  •   There must be a product or several products which must have specific quality characteristics or know-how linked to the geographical territory of production.
  •   There must also be producers operating within the geographical area who are producing the product(s)
  •   Producers must select an appropriate IP tool such as GIs or collective or certification marks which can be integrated in the overall business strategy being developed for the OLP
OLP requirements

Steps in the process

  •   Determining the potential for implementing a collective origin branding strategy and benefits to be gained by the group of producers
  •   The producers must come together to identify the needs, objectives and willingness to collectively implement a strategy
  •   Establishment of formal or informal producer group structure and building the capacity of members of the producer group
  •   Development of an appropriate strategy which can be easily implemented by all value chain stakeholders
  •   Development of the OLP management system inclusive of GI specification for the product, and the control system
  •   Development of a business plan and appropriate IP protection and branding strategies
  •   Daily management by the producer group as it relates to implementing the OLP strategy and allocation of appropriate human, financial and technical resources for sustainability

Developing quality scheme

Protecting OLPs using GIs provides a mechanism for producers to give some guarantee(s) to consumers about the characteristics and quality of their product.

Producers must therefore be competent in implementing and managing a quality scheme as it relates to the product specifications, the control system and monitoring plans developed to check conformity to the production practices defined in the specifications.

What are the risks?

  •   It is important to avoid monopolies which may favour the most powerful actor in the geographical area;
  •   Exclusion of value chain actors because of the delimitation of the geographical area or because of technical constraints.
  •   There may be additional costs to develop, implement and manage the OLP strategy which may make it difficult for small farmers to implement quality schemes (controls and certification) required for them to participate in the strategy being developed.

Competent producers’ association

The process of developing an OLP business strategy which integrates IP tools such as GIs must be led by producer groups. There are several activities that can be undertaken by the producers’ association including:

  •   Identifying the appropriate IP tool to be used for the protection and branding of the OLP
  •   Defining product specifications and associated control system
  •   Implementing and daily management of the GI system (e.g. monitoring compliance)
  •   Defining and implementing a collective branding and marketing strategy for the product
  •   Enforcing IP rights
  •   Networking with other stakeholders to enhance the promotion and trade of the OLP

Market access for OLPs

  •   It is important to understand the target market and the legal, regulatory, labeling, quality, compliance, and IP protection requirements to enter this market
  •   Knowing the preferences of consumers in the target market – tastes and gastronomic practices will also be important
  •   Establishing partnerships in the target market can facilitate ease of entry to the market and access to potential consumers
  •   Visual appeal of the product – packaging and design are important as information on the product can be communicated through these media
  •   There must be a clear, impactful communication strategy developed by the members of the producer group

Summary: Implementing an OLP strategy

  •   It is important to identify producers and value chain stakeholders and to ascertain the value of the OLP and the potential added value due to its unique characteristic and quality linked to the geographical origin
  •   Identification of the most appropriate intellectual property tool(s) for branding and marketing the OLP
  •   Collective elaboration of the product specification and development and implementation of the quality scheme and the control system
  •   Identification, implementation and daily management of the management system developed to implement the OLP strategy
  •   Capacity building for the producer group and related value chain actors

Learning exercise

Question 1: There is a collective group of producers for an OLP, however, there is no common vision for the OLP strategy. What are the implications in this case?

Building a collective strategy can take time because there is need to find consensus among the members within the group regarding key elements related to the specifications of the product.

Very often mediation is required to achieve concrete objectives and consensus.


Question 2: Is it mandatory that the control system developed for the OLP be a certification system?

The answer is no.

Origin-linked product certification is compulsory only if it is mandated in the legal framework of the country and requested by traders or exporters.

This can be the case for certain types of products traded on the market such as coffee or cocoa beans.

Other types of control systems are also possible for origin-linked product.

Question 3: Our OLP is protected as a GI, however, there is no communication strategy. What are the implications in this scenario for developing an OLP business strategy?

It is important that producer groups develop a communication program to convey to exporters and consumers the key elements of the origin-linked product.

A communication strategy should facilitate visibility of your products on the market and is therefore fundamental to the origin-linked product strategy.