The Africa Intellectual Property and Innovation (AFRIPI), in collaboration with the Africa International Trade and Commerce Research (AITCR) and the Nsukka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organised a stakeholders’ consultative meeting for the proposed support to establish the managing group for Nsukka Yellow Pepper as a potential Geographical Indications product in Nigeria.
The meeting is part of the organisers’ endeavour to support the Government of Nigeria and Enugu State in creating an enabling environment for developing and promoting geographical indications in Nigeria. The event, which brought together participants from both public and private sector, particularly the relevant players in the Nsukka Yellow pepper value chain, was held on the 20th of October, 2021 at Grace Manor hotel, Old GRA, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.
Africa International Trade and Commerce Research (AITCR) is the national partner of the Africa Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation (AFRIPI) project in Nigeria. AFRIPI is an international cooperation project funded and directed by the European Union, co-funded and implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The overall objective of AFRIPI is to facilitate intra-African trade and African and European investment. It specifically aims to create, protect, utilise, administer and enforce Intellectual Property Rights across Africa, in line with international and European best practices and in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and the African Union´s Agenda 2063.
The concept of Geographical Indications (GIs) is an important area that offers the opportunity for Nigeria’s diversification and sustainable development goals, especially in the agricultural sector. It refers to unique goods or services originating in a specific locality or region in a country, given that the quality, reputation or other characteristics are essentially attributable to the specific locality or region.
GIs preserve local cultural practices and traditional knowledge throughout a product’s value chain due to their peculiar local characteristics, territorial reliability, and source of origin.
GIS is Intellectual Property Rights that protect certain products with specifications closely linked to their geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, country) and therefore are often identified with their geographical names, such as “Abakaliki rice” from South-east, Nigeria, “Ofada rice” from South-west Nigeria, “Miango Pepper” from Miango- Plateau State Nigeria, “Palm Kernel Fruit” from South- south Nigeria, to name a few.
Although the concept of GIs is not a new idea in many countries, it became a common subject of discourse in Africa. For decades, countries in Europe, Asia and the US have benefited immensely from GI certification, locally and internationally.
For example, in the European Union, over 3,100 unique products were registered between 2010 and 2017. In 2017 alone, revenues from GIs products in the bloc stood at over €74 Billion. 51% of this amount was earned from wines alone and 35% from Agricultural and food products.
In France, popular wine products such as Champagne, Bordeaux and Côte-du-Rhône alone contribute over €19 Billion, making the country the one-stop destination for exotic wines. A similar example is observed in the Kampot pepper, which was registered as a GI in Cambodia in 2010, thereby attracting significant investment, creating thousands of employment opportunities and boosting the income of the local producers.
Between 2009 and 2020, the number of producers of Kampot pepper and the size of land cultivated in the region had increased by over 600% and 28,000%, respectively. The producers were also able to sell at premium prices as demand grew exponentially at both local and international markets. The pepper which was sold for $4/$8 in 2009, had appreciated to $15/$25 by 2020.
Dr. Monique Bagal, the AFRIPI long term GI expert, said the Nsukka Yellow pepper is one of Nigeria’s numerous potential candidates for GIs products. She further affirms that studies have highlighted the unique taste, yellowish colour and aroma of Nsukka Yellow Pepper, attributable to the soil and farming practice unique to the Nsukka area of Enugu State, Nigeria.
In addition, Mr Sand Mba-Kalu, the Executive Director at Africa International Trade & Commerce Research, expressed confidence that Nsukka yellow pepper will replicate the notable successful GIs products across the world just like Champagne from France, Basmati Rice from India and Penjan Pepper from Cameroon, Campot Pepper from Cambodia, etc.
The attainment of GIs status will put Nsukka, Enugu and Nigeria on the global map as the source of GIs pepper, while it will improve the livelihood of rural women, youths, farmers and other stakeholders along the production and marketing value chains.
The Nsukka yellow pepper managing group members were nominated during the consultative meeting to establish Ose Nsukka as a GIs product. The managing group comprises persons who have deep knowledge and experience in the Nsukka Yellow pepper value chain and will represent the interests of stakeholders by ensuring compliance with the GI certification specifications standard.
Early in his welcome speech, the President of Nsukka Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture(NSCCIMA),Dr. Basil Onugu expressed his appreciation to the Management and staff of AITCR and AFRIPI for accepting to partner with NSCCIMA to make Nsukka yellow Pepper a global product through the Geographical Indication (GIs). Dr Onugu said the desire to include Nsukka Yellow pepper in the global GIS products is in line with the overall objectives of the Chamber with regards to economic development, job creation and financial empowerment of the people of Nsukka zone Enugu State and Nigeria in General.
With the formation of GIs Managing group for Nsukka Yellow Pepper, the produce may likely be the first Agricultural produce from Nigeria to be enlisted in the world GIs thus making Nsukka Pepper a global produce with the associated increase in demand and market value especially in the international market.