Tobias heifer workshop_110824_eng

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  • 1. Lessons learned from the protection of Gruyre cheese (Switzerland) Tobias Eisenring Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) Kyiv, August 27, 2011

2. Swiss PDOs and PGIs 3. Le Gruyre - a very old product !

  • First historical reference: 13th century
  • Major source of income for the production region since the 17th century (mainly for export)
  • Early professional organizational structures
  • Since 20th century: strong involvement of the Swiss Government in the promotion of Gruyre (protectionism)

4. Important changes in the 1990s

  • GATT / TRIPS 1989-94: national support and protection for Swiss quality cheese is reduced and stopped.
  • Increased international demand for quality cheese.
  • Appearance of relevant Gruyre imitations originating from different countries (lower quality and lower cost).
  • Increased interest to improve cooperation along the value chain (strengthening of vertical integration).
  • Claim for a PDO to better position and promote real Gruyre cheese in the international market.
  • Development of the Gruyre Declaration.

5. Gruyre Declaration (1992)

  • Shared specifications among different value chain actors in respect to technical processing procedures and the production area of Gruyre cheese in Switzerland.
  • Implementation of a local-based governance structure involving 95% of stakeholders
  • But:Outsiders can still produce Gruyre cheese not respecting these specifications (no intellectual property)

Need for a strong professional organisation enforcing the declaration and promoting Gruyre cheese from the specified region. 6. Gruyre Association (1997) Board (13 members):4 milk producers + 4 cheese makers + 4 cheese refiners + 1 president Assembly of Delegates (50 members):20 milk producers + 20 cheese makers + 10 cheese refiners Directorate:Director and hired staff(specialists, administration) 2300 milk producers, 176 cheese makers, 52 mountain cheese makers, 9 cheese refineries 7. Tasks of the Directorate

  • Market transparency Notification of quantities, sales agreement, casein mark.
  • Sales promotion Basic marketing, advertising, attendance at trade fairs.
  • Enhancement of quality Control of production, price assessment, correct branding and labelling.
  • Lobbying

8. Gruyre PDO (2001)

  • Basis relates to Gruyre Declaration
  • Specifications become mandatory for all stakeholders
  • Almost all value chain partners become members of the Gruyre Association (Interprofession du Gruyre)
  • ButProtection only within Switzerland

Need for a larger protection to better promote export 9. EU Recognition for Swiss PDOs (2010)

  • Mutual recognition / protection of PDOs Switzerland and UE exchange their PDO registers, including Gruyre.
  • Advantages:increased export, fight fraud within EU.
  • But:French Gruyre still exists, due to an older treaty between Switzerland and France.

Gruyre Association still faces different challenges to boost (Swiss) Gruyre PDO! 10. Challenge 1 Optimal inclusion of Tradition

  • Hard discussions about technical specifications:silage, heating, ripening etc.Pressure from industry towards technical rationalization / progress versus consumer preference for tradition.
  • Agreement:Technical improvement only if not putting at risk the core of typicality of Gruyre (taste in particular).
  • Outcome:Today, still 176 active cheese makerssatisfied consumers, working places and landscape maintained, cultural heritage preserved, good image for the Gruyre region.

11. Challenge 2 Create Collective Advantages

  • Difficult governance issue:How can2300 milk producers, 176 cheese makers, 52 mountain cheese makers, and 9 cheese refineriesdecide together?
  • Agreement:Set in place democratic and professional organizational structuresGruyre Association (Gruyre Parliament).
  • Outcome:All partners along the value chain gained through improved market penetration of Gruyre PDO higher milk prices for farmers, interesting margins / added value along the supply chain (processing, storage, marketing).

12. Challenge 3 Optimal brand management

  • Individual trademarks versus a collective PDO:How to stimulate collaboration and healthy competition to strengthen the brand while preventing free riders from benefiting (image, quality, etc.) without participating?
  • Agreement:All stakeholders respect the PDO code of practice, which enhances fair competition along the supply chaineach cheese maker and ripener has an own (additional) trademark and freedom to sell.
  • Outcome:Strong positioning of the Gruyre PDO in the Swiss andinternational marketprice and volumes increase

13. Thank you Et bon apptit !