Sustainable rural development is a key contributor to food security and is essential for improving nutrition and life quality. The demand for traditional agricultural and food products is increasing both from the people in the region and from visitors. That is an indicator of consumer’s preferences for authentic and quality food linked to a particular region or country and creates the potential for development of niche markets for promoting rural economy, increasing farmers’ income and creating opportunities to maintain the population in less favored or remote areas.

With the multiple aim to provide guidance for the development and implementation of new origin-based quality schemes, such as geographical indications, to promote and support the production and preservation of traditional agricultural and food products, to contribute to rural development and to diversify the available food, FAO launched in 2007 the Programme on Quality Linked to Geographical Origin (www.foodquality-origin.org).

Traditional regional agricultural and food products – perspective policy for rural development, nutrition improvement and food security sustainability

Subsequent to the 24th and 26th sessions of the FAO Regional Conferences for Europe (2004, 2008), Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia has developed a series of studies and capacity building activities on the promotion of regional traditional agricultural and food products. These activities,  as well as the dialog with stakeholders have identified the need to provide countries with a systematic information on state of art and developments in the area of origin-based quality schemes, as well as on FAO assistance in this particular field.

The Regional dedicated webpage Traditional Regional Agricultural and Food Products Quality Linked to Geographical Origin,addresses the identified need, providing countries with relevant information on benefits from developing geographic indications and traditional food products, policies, legislation framework, institutions involved in registration, protection, controls and surveillance of specific quality food in region countries, applied procedures and good practices.

The webpage is addressed to agricultural and public policy-makers, stakeholders interested in the promotion of traditional food production and rural development, producers of traditional products, academia, research institutions, competent national structures, professionals concerned with aspects related to food safety, nutritional balance and quality of products, consumers. The aim of the page is to facilitate the access to information and good experiences, thus fostering collaborations and partnerships in increasing the presence and variety of regional traditional products associating them with sustainable rural development.