Study tour to the European Union dedicated to Geographical Indications and Agro-clusters

July 8, 2022
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

01 July 2022, Vienna, Austria - 24 participants from Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), visited Austria, to learn the best practices of the European Union in Agro-clustering and tools to increase recognizability of agricultural produce through the application of Geographical Indications.

The Governments of the Central Asian countries have been paying special attention to the issues of clustering the agricultural sector over the past few years, in order to ensure the requested volumes, commercial quality and food safety of agricultural produce.

The initiative to create a regional working platform (CAWG) came from the business community of the region, and was subsequently supported by the authorized state bodies of the countries participating in the CAWG, in particular, state bodies for standardization, and export agencies. A key place in the CAWG is given to producers, processors and exporters of agricultural products, as well as representatives of industry associations.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

In addition, in recent years countries of the Region show interest in promoting products through Geographical Indications (GI), because of the possibility of highlighting and promoting regional products as unique, which allows to increase their recognition and market value due to the interest of consumers (national, regional and international) in products due to their certain geographical origin, specific properties and characteristic associated with local traditions and production methods. It should be noted that interdepartmental national working groups on Agro-clusters and Geographical Indications with the participation of the private sector operate in the countries of the Region in order to form institutional conditions.

The participants of the tour had an opportunity to get acquainted with the following:

  • Clusters and cluster policy of the agro-industrial complex of Austria;
  • National cluster support programs in Austria;
  • AAC “Austrian Agricultural Cluster”, development and sustainability;
  • Interaction of science, education and business within clusters;
  • Policy and system in the field of branding and individualization of products through
  • Promotion of agricultural produce and rural development through GI;
  • The role of producer organizations in the GI system;
  • Organizing and co-hosting a showcase event to promote exports from Central Asia to the EU.

The study tour was attended by representatives of relevant government agencies, industry associations, producers and exporters of agricultural produce in Central Asia.

The tour was organized by the “CANDY V” consortium led by the international Austrian organization Hilfswerk International within the framework of the project “Regional Integration and Capacity Building to Boost Agribusiness MSMEs Competitiveness and Trade Promotion in Central Asia”, funded by the European Union program “Central Asia - Invest V” and the Austrian Development Agency jointly with the UNDP Regional Project "Aid for Trade for Central Asia", funded by the Government of Finland.