Acting Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock, Stephen Mombi, has praised the European Union for its sponsorship of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme. Mombi made his comments at the Geographical Indication (GI) Awareness Conference in Port Moresby, which the PNG Investment Promotion Authority hosted in collaboration with the EU-funded UN Joint STREIT Program.

The programme, which focuses on the Sepik Region, aims to develop sustainable agri-food value chains and promote the fair participation of women in agribusiness activities.

Mr Mombi explained that Geographical Indication (GI) is a certificate of intellectual property that develops brand names for traditional and original products, which are then sent to markets overseas. He said this ties in with PNG’s vision of building an agricultural sector that is modern, climate-smart, and business-oriented.

He said GI is a new road map that will see the development of various diverse products with international cooperation and added that the PNG government is pleased to participate.

Clarence Hoot, IPA Managing Director, said GI is an integral part of PNG Trade Policy. He described it as a significant strategic area to argue for the continued protection of unique PNG items, such as coffee.

Mr Hoot said, “The role played by the EU-STREIT PNG in GI initiative as a huge step in the right direction for agriculture and for Government’s agencies to take notice that GI is an opportunity to improve infrastructure, facilities and the processes to help our local farmers.”

Dr Pavel Burian, the Deputy Programme Coordinator for EU-STREIT PNG, held several workshops at the two-day conference. He stressed that the trademark registration of items originating from Papua New Guinea under GI aims to preserve manufacturing techniques, regional and traditional qualities, and distinctive local expertise. He added that the conference was part of a process of collective consultation to propose reforms to trademark law.

At the conference, local producers of vanilla, chocolate, fish, and coconut products presented a panel discussion that examined how their goods could be certified under GI.

Dr Burian said, “Together with the Intellectual Property Office of IPA, we already took initial steps to revise relevant framework, primarily the Trademark Law and related legislation, launched identification of pilot products. We started preparation of a roadmap for Geographical Indication implementation to PNG legal framework and its full-scale rollout nation-wide.”