The call to boycott the purchase of strawberries from Huelva in German supermarkets, arguing that they were irrigated with irrigation water from Doñana and that the German website Campact! (similar to Change.org in Spain), has prompted the sector to seek a kind of ‘shield’ against future reputational crises. Specifically, after the meeting held this Wednesday between the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, with the president of the Spanish Federation of Associations of Fruit and Vegetable Exporting Producers (Fepex), Jorge Brotons; and the manager of Freshuelva, Rafael Domínguez, the socialist leader showed his support for the sector’s efforts to register a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). “Our position is one of support, but always hand in hand with the Freshuelva initiative,” stressed the minister who recorded that Spain is the second country in the EU after Italy with the highest number of DOP (208) and PGI (140).
In this way, Planas endorsed the movements of the interprofessional of the Interfresa sector. In their subsequent appearance before the media, the representatives of the strawberry growers announced that “a technical table” will be set up with representatives of the Junta de Andalucía and the Ministry to study this possibility to analyze the pros and cons of betting on a Denomination of Origin or a Geographical Indication. Specifically, according to sources from the Andalusian Ministry of Agriculture consulted by this medium, they pointed out that there have been conversations in this regard in recent weeks.
Interfresa: “We have been working on this for several months”
In this line, to questions from La Información, from Interfresa they recognized that “we are always committed to initiatives that promote the sector and its products.” In addition, they added, that “we have been working in this regard for several months, studying possibilities and leading our producers on the need to promote actions that protect and value the excellent work of the sector.”
In addition, as La Información has been able to verify in the corresponding registry of the European Union, it would be the first time that among the Twenty-seven there would be a DO or PGI related to strawberries. There are them for products as different as wine, oil and cheese, among others. But, what would a figure like the one mentioned contribute to the producers of Huelva? EAE Business School professor Javier Sanmartín explains that both labels “send the message to consumers that quality standards are higher” and points out that other products such as Amsterdam strawberries “. In this regard, this expert also adds that it would serve to differentiate themselves from their Moroccan counterparts.
Denomination or Indication, a not trivial choice
In any case, Sanmartín (EAE Business School) recalls that the initiative must start from “a group of interested companies that must prepare the requirements that they will then commit to comply with” and that the European Commission will have the last word. In other words, Brussels would be the one to give its final endorsement to register the future PDO or PGI in the corresponding European registry. For the rest, the processing of the application is a complex process that can take years and, since the geographical area affected is limited to a single autonomous community, its initial registration and processing must be carried out before the Junta de Andalucía. Administration that will have future supervisory powers, so the Ministry of Agriculture would limit itself to raising the ‘file’ to Brussels.
In this regard, the choice of a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) must be well considered because, although both are limited to the product of a certain geographical area, in the PDO all must meet this requirement. production faces. On the other hand, in the case of a PGI, it would only be necessary in the case of one of the faces. According to this expert, many producers in Huelva have farms on both sides of the Strait. Something that must be taken into account.
Despite the fact that a product from a PDO or a PGI is neither better nor worse, in the second figure the link between the characteristics of the product and the geographical area of origin is more flexible, since only this affinity was required to be fulfilled a unique quality, reputation or characteristic of the same.