Mr. Mayor Vasić,
Mrs. Mayor Golubović,
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today and to address the Swiss-Serbian Forum, on this interesting topic of geographical indications as a tool for local development.
To start, let me underline that Serbia is a place where generations have built their local identity through traditional food, which in many cases reflects the interactions between landscapes and products.
Linkages between products, places and people in today’s economy do not only represent a heritage to be preserved but they also have a market value. Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in quality related to geographical origin and tradition.
Switzerland highly values products of origin. Currently in my country, we have 38 products with registered names that directly contribute to better quality of life in rural areas.
A good example is Gruyere cheese, which is a Swiss signature product!
Gruyere has been produced since mid-12 century, and today has a yearly production of over 30 thousand tons. The House of Gruyere, a museum located in one of the ancient diaries, tells the story of this cheese to over 170 thousand visitors each year. The tradition is kept alive with many events, including the famous Désalpes when the cattle is brought back from the Alps down to the valley at the end of the summer season. Such an authentic festivity brings life to the identity of the whole region.
As tradition and heritage of Serbian gastronomy is equally vital, we have been active with the Swiss-Serbian program in several fields contributing to improve the visibility of GI products, the understanding of the market potential as well as the management of origin-linked quality.
The Swiss financed project works on enhancing the role of the State in supporting and supervising the food safety system for small-scale producers. Working with small-scale diary production, we have been supporting Serbian producers of traditional and GI cheeses from Zlatar, Sjenica and Pirot.
Moreover, the Program adds to the collective promotion of the GI producers network, their motivation to manage product specification, to monitor quality control as well as to take care of marketing.
That is why we are all here at the Swiss-Serbian forum, to empower the local Serbian actors with knowledge and inspiration for systematic support. We also aim to develop the GI products as local resources that could be beneficial for the whole community.
I would like to wish you a successful workshop, and hope to see many more Original product with Serbian geographical indication in markets all across Switzerland! And I promise – I will buy them!
Thank you all for your attention!