The new label places a premium on goods that support local biodiversity and production methods linked to cultural traditions of mountain communities
The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Mountain Partnership and Slow Food have launched a voluntary product label for mountain products meant to improve market access for small highland producers from developing countries. The initiative aims to highlight mountain products as distinct and sustainable.
The new label places a premium on goods that support local biodiversity and production methods linked to cultural traditions of mountain communities. Products carrying the mountain label will be available in national markets, organic stores and specialty shops.
Among the flagship products that are part of the first phase of the Mountain Partnership Products initiative are apricots grown in the remote mountainous region of Batken in Kyrgyzstan and rare black amaranth grain produced in the Bolivian Andes.
A variety of other goods ranging from coffee to tea and spices from different mountain areas of developing countries will also be marketed under the new label.
“We believe that a mountain label will attract consumers that are interested in high quality and environmentally-sound products and give them the information they need to make conscious choices about the values, methods and communities they want to support with their purchases,” Rosalaura Romeo, programme officer of the FAO’s Mountain Partnership Secretariat, said.
“Promoting biodiversity and supporting smallholder producers are both crucial actions to improve rural development and secure the future of mountain areas,” General Secretary of Slow Food Paolo Di Croce said.
By promoting high-value products that benefit biodiversity and equitable returns, the label allows consumers to buy into environmental conservation while reducing pressures that drive producers to engage in production methods harmful to the environment.
The mountain label is not mandatory for mountain producers nor does it replace other labels their products may have to carry under national laws. But it is an easy tool for small-scale producers and associations to set their wares apart in a positive way.
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