On December 2013, the European Commission adopted a report on the case for an optional quality term “product of island farming”, considering the socio-economic implications of island farming and the specificities of agricultural production in islands.
Currently, no legal instrument at EU or national level is specifically devoted to protecting products originating from islands or island farming as such. After analysing whether establishing a new term “product of island farming” would add value to island product as compared with similar ones, the Commission presents the advantages and drawbacks of reserving an OQT “product of island farming” at the EU level.
From one hand, the introduction of the term could help to protect island farming products against misuse. It could also be adequate for some small scale producers, in particular on small islands not benefiting from a sufficient scale to use other marketing tools (as collective, certification, territorial brands, PDO/PGI schemes, RUP logo).
However, reserving a term “product of island farming” could penalise producers already engaged in quality schemes. Furthermore, considering that the majority of island products is sold locally or within the Member State to which the island belongs, the possibility that the regulation of labelling claims could be better addressed at Member State level is emphasised. Finally, it is argued that the structural problems faced by islands might be better addressed by the existing structural instruments.
The discussion will now continue in Council and in the European Parliament.