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Rooibos as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is a big win!

We are delighted to announce that Rooibos/Red Bush, our flagship product, has been recognized by the European Commission as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Geographical Indication (GI).

Managing Director of Cape Natural Tea Products and legal director of the South African Rooibos Council, Dawie de Villiers, says this development is a “big win” for the Rooibos industry.

“While Rooibos was already included as a GI under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the EU, its inclusion in the register of PDOs means that protection becomes permanent,” de Villiers says.

“The PDO logo is also well-recognised by consumers in Europe and its use will provide an indication of the value of Rooibos as a unique product. In addition, when trademark searches are done in the EU register, it will confirm Rooibos as a protected name and registered GI, which wasn’t the case before

“The inclusion of Rooibos in the EU Register may also smooth our path when applying for 3rd Country GI status in other markets, such as China and India. Since SA is not party to the Lisbon agreement and does not have other bi-lateral GI agreements in place, we intend to use the Rooibos PDO GI, to continue the process with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to secure the registration on an international level.”

The registration will contribute greatly to the sustainability of the Rooibos industry.

“As an industry we recognise the close connection between Rooibos, the area where it grows, as well as the community and their traditions. Our goal is to protect, support and promote the sustainability of not only Rooibos, but the rich heritage of the industry as a whole, which is why we so doggedly pursued the PDO GI.

“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,” says De Villiers.

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