FG To Institutionalize Framework To Protect Made-in-Nigeria Products

FG To Institutionalize Framework To Protect Made-in-Nigeria Products

Ladi Patrick-Okwoli

The Federal Government has reiterated its readiness to partner with the private sector and development partners in the creation of legal and institutional frameworks on Made-in-Nigeria products to boost export.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, who stated this while declaring open the EU Nigeria Geographical Indication Conference yesterday in Abuja, noted that agri-food and drink products with names that are protected by the European Union, EU, as geographical indications represent a sales value of about €75 billion.

Adebayo said his ministry is committed to ensuring that Nigeria exports more finished goods and this conference will go a long way in helping Nigeria establish an enabling environment for the growth and expansion of our national GI products.

According to him, “Today is an important step in ensuring that we have all the legal rights needed to preserve the benefits of our cultural capital for the people of our region.

”Nigeria is at the forefront of sharing Africa’s rich heritage with the world. As Nollywood and the music industry amplify our culture internationally, the demand for Nigerian products is rapidly increasing.

“I would like to commend the European Union and European Union Intellectual Property Office, EUIPO, in particular, for funding the Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation in Africa, AfriPI, project.

“The AfriPI Project has gone a long way in supporting African companies, creators and inventors to generate value from their intellectual property.

“These range from the popular Ijebu garri to Nsukka Yellow Pepper, Sokoto Red Skin Goat and the famous Yauri Onions. Unfortunately, poor knowledge of geographical indications and the absence of a specific legal framework have rendered our unique products more vulnerable to misappropriation. Nigeria has a strategic ambition to position itself as a major supply chain partner to key off-taker nations”.

He said geographical indications will play a major role in helping Nigerian producers generate greater value for their products.

“Currently over one fifth of this amount is generated by exports that originate outside the EU. This presents a huge opportunity for indigenous exporters who can capitalize on improved product reputation and the willingness of consumers to pay a premium for authentic products.

”Many potential Gls originate from rural areas that are challenged by extreme poverty and socio-economic issues.

“Geographical indications provide opportunities for some of Nigeria’s most impoverished areas to participate in the exportation of non-oil products, earn fair compensation and drive the much needed development. Once you are registered, everyone around the world will know that you come from a specific region in Nigeria.

”My ministry is working with private sector operators with a view to promote made-in-Nigeria products abroad so within the next few weeks, a major campaign will start to encourage Nigerians to patronize local products”.

To achieve this, the minister said his ministry is partnering with major supermarkets across the country to ensure that they create space in their stores where made-in-Nigeria products will be displayed.

Speaking on the legal framework that would be drafted, the minister said the federal government is partnering with World Intellectual Property Organization to achieve this.

Geographical Indication, even though relatively new in Nigeria, has been in operation in most developed world . It is the hope for the common man to be able to promote his or her products at the global market.

On his part, the National Coordinator of the Nigerian Technical Working group on Geographical Indication, Dr. Sand Mba Kalu said The Federal Government is committed to ensuring that Nigeria exports more finished goods and this conference will go a long way in helping Nigeria establish an enabling environment for the growth and expansion of our national GI products” Adebayo stated.

Also speaking, the Director General for Agriculture and Rural Development for the European Commission, john Clarke said Agriculture has huge potentials for export in Nigeria.

He reaffirmed that with a proper framework for farmers, the country’s economy will grow rapidly due to abundant agriculture unique varieties that  will be exported.

The Head of European Union Intellectual Property, Ignacio Medrano noted that we have important and specific product with quality in Nigeria.

Every product under geographical indication has a stamp of origin on it to ensure that they are not lost to other countries.

For example, we have seen in Cambodia what geographical indication can do. It puts money back to the people that own the products which means their products are protected.

“In other countries, geographical indication is supported by government to ensure that farmers produce and process their products to meet standard. This is where government has to come in through the legal framework to support farmers so that they can get value for their products”.

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