Crete excels in AREPO Network with its competitive quality and origin products. Its value was emphasized in the International Conference “GIs as intellectual property of the EU and their contribution to the development of the Regions”, organized by the Region of Crete.
Crete is the ideal place to “build” a productive model based on the quality and identity of its products, while at the same time building the necessary interconnections with tourism to absorb the highest possible added value. This was stressed by Mr Charalambos Kasimis, the Secretary General of the Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development, speaking at the international conference “Geographical Indications (GIs) as Intellectual property of the EU and their contribution to the development of the Regions” organized by the Region of Crete, in the Chamber of Commerce of Heraklion, under the aegis of Mrs. Theano Vrentzou Skordalaki, President of the Association of European Regions for Products of Origin (AREPO).
At the conference, Mr Stavros Arnaoutakis, Regional Governor of Crete, welcomed the participants from the European Institutions, Greek Regions, and Tertiary Educational Research Institutions. He pointed out that Crete’s policy for the valorisation and promotion of Cretan products on Greek and foreign markets is based on the following three pillars: quality, identity and competitiveness.
Furthermore, important interventions and suggestions where presented by Ms Simona Caselli, Minister of Agriculture of Emilia-Romagna Region, Mr Claude Vermot-Desroches, President of OriGIn (international network of geographical indications), representatives of the local government, French producers of geographical indications, the Geotechnical Chamber of the department of Crete, FORTH (Foundation for Research & Technology – Hellas ), etc.
In particular, the Secretary General of the Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development, Mr Kasimis, stated that “this is an important international meeting which has as its main object the defense and promotion of GIs products. For Greece in particular, it is extremely important to support a production model based on the quality and identity of its agricultural products. The Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development has designed a strategy, based on the comparative advantage of Greek high quality production, aiming at graduallly shifting the productive model towards a model of certified quality products, with higher prices in the international markets“. He also added: “The protection of quality and identity is ensured by the certification and inversions to promote these products. Nevertheless, to guarantee the objective of Greek strategy it is also important to guarantee a sufficient production, since there are a lot of PDO/PGI without sufficient quantities“.
The Regional Governor of Crete, Mr Stavros Arnaoutakis, highlighted the importance of organising the international conference on the island and stated that the Regional Government of Crete bases its policy on the quality, the identity and the competitiveness of local products. “We follow these three pillars from the very first moment, highlighting our quality products. In particular, through our Agro-Dietary Partnership, over 600 products and about 100 companies have been certified with the Brand name CRETE. So, we have to support our quality products, since this is the only way to assure their competitiveness. Moreover, Crete can take advantage of good practices from other European regions, working together to offer quality products in competitive markets“. Then, Mr Arnaoutakis publicly thanked AREPO’s President, Theano Vrentzou-Skordalaki, who as he said, made significant effort on the promotion of quality and origin products. Crete currently holds the Presidency of the European network AREPO and that’s a great success that came out of her work.
Mrs Vrentzou-Skordalaki stressed that the conference was organized to highlight the multidimensional character of GIs, their linkages with regional and rural development, their contribution to employment and sustainability of small and medium enterprises, as well as their potential in reducing the depopulation of rural areas and in assuring sustainable rural development. “For this reason, the Region of Crete considers that quality policy should be recognized as the main pillar of a sustainable European agri-food system and the CAP should support this virtuous economic model, in order to strengthen its capacity to adapt to the new social and environmental challenges, continuing to provide public goods. The aim of our interventions is to support GI producers so that all added value goes back to production areas, contributing significantly to their development“.