Presented on the occasion of the conference entitled "Geographic Indications:

Europe opens its doors to the world" held in Rome today

Rome, October 19, 2006 – Established in 2004 by the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium, on the occasion of its 70th anniversary, to reward commitment to the defense and valorization of the typical food products of the world, the "International Parmigiano-Reggiano Award", in its second edition, was presented today in Rome by the president of the Consortium, Giuseppe Alai, to Luis Fernando Samper, representative of the producers of "Café de Colombia".
"In conferring the award on 'Café de Colombia' – said Giuseppe Alai – the Consortium recognizes the important work done to improve the conditions of cultivation and the life of the populations linked to the production of coffee by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia in its almost 80 years of existence. In that time the Federation has achieved important results by supporting coffee production and organizing a system of social protection with mechanisms that, even at times of severe depression of the market, offer guarantees to the coffee producers of Colombia. Moreover, the Federation is the first organization ever to have presented a request for recognition to the European Commission, thus opening the way for a new extension of Geographic
Indications outside of Europe".
"Supporting Colombian coffee – declared Luis Fernando Samper, director of the Federation – means supporting large group of hard working and decent individuals that work every day to improve their daily lives, it is in a way supporting the entire nation. It is important to understand that for the success of our products and thus of an entire population of growers, it is essential to establish the identity of Colombian coffee in the world. For this reason we requested the juridical recognition of European protection, because we believe that the best way to strengthen our position is to increase international exchanges in a logic of Geographic Indications of the products of the land".
The ceremony for presentation of the award to "Café de Colombia" was held in the sphere of the conference on "Geographic Indications: Europe opens its doors to the world" held today in Rome, and also attended by Paolo De Castro, Minister for Agrarian, Food and Forestry Policies.
Thanks to the presence of many exponents at the national and international level of the institutions and organizations that deal with the promotion and safeguard of agricultural and food products, the conference was able to develop a useful discussion of the link between product and origin. There is a strong drive to overcome the overlapping and confusion that all too often arise among products with the DOP label and brand name products, two categories that have a great tradition in Italy (for example, with the many DOP cheeses and industrial products in the sector of pasta and coffee).
"We must not waver in our efforts – said Alai – to establish the value to world trade of safeguarding products of specific origins, not to ensure our own self-referentiality, but to offer the 'global' consumer the appropriate guarantees and the possibility of a real recognition of the value of productions, because Geographic Indications are an instrument of access to the market".