The federal government of Nigeria has reiterated its commitment to industrial property legislation to improve and promote Nigeria‘s geographical indications (GIs).
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Hajiya Mariam Katagum said this in her welcome speech to the Capacity Building Workshop on Geographical Indications for the Public Sector and Policy Makers in Nigeria in Abuja.
The one-day workshop was organized by the IP First group and Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation in Africa (AfrIPI)with the support of the European Union Intellectual Property Organization and others .
According to her, industrial property legislation is a necessity to boost the country’s industry, trade and investment in the agricultural sector of the economy.
She said the legislation would go a long way in strengthening and promoting President Muhammadu Buhari‘s quest and desire to diversify the economy from oil to agriculture.
Likewise, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, said agriculture is a vital sector of the Nigerian economy, in terms of food and nutrition security, trade and livelihoods.
He added that it was also a key driver of the country’s economy, which contributed around 21% to gross domestic product in 2019 and still mobilizes 70% of the active workforce.
“GIs, together with a well-functioning intellectual property rights system, will help produce a pull effect that can improve productivity and competitiveness in the agricultural sector.
“This can then be used to support sustainable food systems and, ultimately, our economic diversification efforts.
“Identifying and developing these unique products originating from different regions of the country as part of the GI initiative will help to market these products in national and international spaces.
“This is especially true, as it serves to signal consumers that a product has a particular quality, reputation or other characteristics due to its location and origin,” Nanono said.
He explained that if GIs were properly exploited, they would also support the preservation of our biodiversity “which faces an existential threat from the effects of climate change and the resulting environmental destruction.
Nanono who was represented at the event by Hajiya Sugra Mahmood, Deputy Director, Irrigation and Crop Development at the ministry.
Speaking, Mr. Gregor Schnelder, AfriPI Deputy Team Leader and EU Representative for Geographical Indications, said Geographical Indications could be used as an agricultural tool to boost production in Africa.
Schnelder also pointed out that the IG could promote specific natural resources and reduce the inequality gap in the area of poverty.
In addition, Mr John Clarke, Director General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission, said the GI was also good for non-agricultural products.
According to him, the GI provides protection of the quality of products to prevent imitation in the market and also improves the position of products in the markets.
“The Nigerian has great potential for the IG. The country has Genger and many other products. We can help create GI, awareness, training and cooperation for better promotion.