By Ossom Raphael
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otumba Adeniyi Adebayo, Thursday said poor knowledge of the Geographical Indications (GI) and absence of a specific legal framework has continued to render Nigeria’s products more vulnerable to misappropriation.
The Minister however said that the Federal Government will collaborate with the European Union to intensify campaigns for product specification in the country to boost exportation of Nigerian unique products.
Adebayo said this at the National Conference on Creation of Legal and Institutional Framework for Geographical Indications in Abuja.
According to him, “the AfriPI Project has gone a long way in supporting African companies, creators and inventors to generate value from their intellectual property.
“For many years, stakeholders from both the public and private sector in Nigeria have worked hard to promote and draw attention to geographical indications and other forms of intellectual property protection in Nigeria.
“The benefits obtainable from geographical indications in Nigeria are immense. Nigeria Is one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world. We can boast of a wide variety of products that can be classified as GI.
“These range from the popular Ijebu garri to Nsukka Yellow Pepper, the Sokoto Red Skin Goat and the famous Yauri Onions.
“Unfortunately, poor knowledge of geographical Indications and the absence of a specific legal framework has rendered our unique products more vulnerable to misappropriation”.
Adebayo further said that Nigeria is one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world, and added that the nation boast of a wide variety of products that can be classified as Geographical Indications.
According to him, these products, range from the popular Ijebu garri, Nsukka yellow pepper, the Sokoto Red Skin Goat and the famous Yauri Onions.
“Nigeria has a strategic ambition to position itself as a major supply chain partner to key off-taker nations.
“Geographical Indication will play a major role in helping Nigerian producers generate greater value for their products.
“Agri-food and drink products which have names that are protected by the European Union as Geographical Indications represent a sales value of about £75billion,” Adebayo said.
The minister however reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring that Nigeria exports more finished and hope that the onference will go a long way in helping Nigeria establish an enabling environment for the growth and expansion of the GI products
Also speaking, the Director General of World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Daren Tang, said Geographical Indication is emerging as an important tool for developing countries to create jobs, attract investments and grow the economy.
Tang, who spoke virtually, commended the Nigerian government for its commitment to institutionalising a legal framework on the geographical indication, noted that it would benefit farmers, artisans, among others.
On his part, Head of European Union Intellectual Property, Ignacio Medrano said: “we have important and specific product with quality in Nigeria. We are here to support the country to establish legal framework, to establish protection for agricultural products with specific links to tradition and culture.
“We are convinced that here in Nigeria, with the protection of the Geographical Indications, there will be an increase in agricultural product price, export and tourism,” he said
In his remarks, the Director-General for Agriculture and Rural Development for the European Commission, John Clarke said Agriculture has huge potential for export in Nigeria.
Clark said with a proper framework for farmers, the country’s economy will grow rapidly due to abundant agriculture unique varieties that will be exported.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator of the National Technical Working Group, Sand Mba Kalu, said Geographical Indication, even though relatively new in Nigeria, is a hope for the common man to be able to promote his or her product to the global market
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