The news is in – and it’s fantastic news, for rooibos producers across the whole of the Western and Northern Cape growing regions of South Africa: rooibos has finally been awarded Protected Designation of Origin Geographical Indicator status by the European Union!
This is a cause for celebration and pride, for everyone involved in the rooibos industry, as the achievement of GI status is the final outcome in a longstanding process that has taken many years to reach this point. What’s more, it’s also a great achievement for Africa, as the Protected Designation of Origin GI status awarded to rooibos is the first product from the continent to achieve this important designation.
What Does This Mean For Rooibos Producers?
Essentially, being awarded PDO status by the EU means that rooibos produced in the specific growing regions with which it has long been associated – which would be the Cederberg and outlying districts which make up the ‘home range’ of the rooibos plant – can now bear the Protected Designation of Origin logo when taken to market and shown on shelves.
GIs are designed to protect the names of specific products to promote their unique characteristics, linked to their geographical origin as well as to the know-how embedded in the region.
European citizens can find these products on their supermarket shelves dedicated to specific labels for local food specialities such as PDO (protected designation of origin) and PGI (protected geographical indication). These product names are included in the EU system of intellectual property rights, legally protecting them against imitation and misuse.
So, from here on out, our Klipopmekaar rooibos will now carry these important stamps of approval, which reassure customers and tea buyers that the rooibos they’re buying is the real deal, and has been certified as coming from the limited area that the rooibos plant is grown in.
To find out more about rooibos being awarded PDO status, see this article on Euractive.