The Rooibos industry is celebrating a major win after the delicious plant became the first African drink to receive the international protection designation from the European Commission.
The famous ‘red bush’ will join the ranks of other iconic drinks, such as Champagne, Irish whiskey, Porto, and Queso Manchego. And this may just be the financial boost the industry needs, as food products listed on the EU register of protected designations of origins are said to generate almost R1.24 trillion, as per IOL.
What is the EU register of protected designations of origins?
Not only is this the first African food to receive the status of a protected designation of origin in the EU register, but this also means that consumers can distinguish and purchase quality products that are directly from the specified geographical location. This “stamp of approval” further allows the consumer to enjoy authentic products, in this case, straight from South Africa’s small Rooibos farms.
What does this mean for the industry?
With the Cederberg region being the only place on Earth that’s capable of growing rooibos, the registration will allow Europeans to identify an authentic rooibos product. In the long run, the registration will also provide the industry with a greater opportunity to protect the rooibos trademark internationally. According to Dawie de Villiers, the SA Rooibos Council legal director, the increased consumption of this delicious brew will help preserve traditional knowledge and further boost small-scale farmers in the indigenous communities that produce rooibos.
“The registration will allow rooibos to use the protected designation of origins logo, which is well-recognised by consumers in Europe. The logo will identify rooibos as a unique product.”
“Rooibos also forms part of SA’s rich biodiversity, and we believe that the registration will make way for other indigenous species, such as buchu and Aloe ferox to also be indicated as PDOs and reap similar rewards,” stated De Villiers.
The SA Rooibos Council hasn’t been the only one to praise this victory. EU’s ambassador to South Africa, Dr Riina Kionka, expressed her delight over the announcement.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that solid trade relations are critical to ensuring the continuous and uninterrupted supply of safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable food as well as to providing essential income and jobs along food value chains.
“These relations include the protection of geographical indications which enable a stronger connection between unique local food products and European consumer tastes,” Kionka said.
We couldn’t be more delighted that one of our favourite South African drinks is getting the recognition it deserves!