Tunis, 19 June 2019 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Fondation Rurale Interjurasienne (FRIJ) organized an international workshop for typical food products that coincided with the second edition of the Tunisian competition of traditional food products (www.concours-terroir.tn).
During the workshop, delegations from Tunisia, Morocco and Switzerland shared their experiences in identifying traditional food products and promoting them through the organization of national contests with representatives from Egypt, Georgia, Ghana, Serbia, South Africa and Ukraine. Several countries confirmed their interest in replicating the contest, with UNIDO, FRIJ and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) addressing the new requests.
“Promoting terroir products has many positive effects”, said UNIDO Senior Industrial Development Officer Fabio Russo. “These include decent incomes; the preservation of jobs; a product quality standardization and the safeguarding of an authentic, living culture, which, in turn, contribute to sustainable tourism”.
Within the framework of the Project for Market Access for Agrofood and Terroir Products (PAMPAT), which is being currently implemented in Morocco and Tunisia with SECO funds, UNIDO has supported the organization of nation-wide tasting contests for hundreds of traditional food products. These competitions follow the FRIJ methodology established for the biannual Swiss Contest of Traditional Food Products that is being organized since 2005; Morocco has already organized three editions of its contest, while Tunisia is organizing its second edition.
“While the essential features of the Swiss, Moroccan and Tunisian competitions are the same, each country enriches this shared experience with unique elements”, said FRIJ Director Olivier Girardin. “The objective is now to increase the number of SECO-priority countries that organize their national competition and to create an international network of contests of typical food products”.
UNIDO and FRIJ have teamed up to develop a contest methodology that can be easily applied in different geographical contexts. The impact indicators confirm the success of this approach: the annual turnover increase for dozens of medal-winning products reaches up to 50% thanks to quality-upgrading measures and promotional efforts that are spurred by each contest on national and international markets.
UNIDO has been supporting the promotion and market access of traditional food products (terroir products from the French terminology) in several countries; FAO estimates that terroir products that have specific characteristics, qualities or reputations stemming from their geographical origin and are already protected by a Geographical Indication (GI), boast an annual trade value of over $50 billion worldwide.
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