Protected autochthonous products are "signature products" and with 14 such products, including the Lika potato, Croatia is ranked 12th among the 28 EU member-countries, a round table discussion organised in Lovinac by Croatian member of the European Parliament Tonino Picula heard on Friday.
The event also included the fourth cycle of workshops on the protection of autochthonous products in Lovinac, a Lika municipality whose protected potato is the sixth of 14 Croatian autochthonous products protected today, Picula's office said in a statement.
"This is a concrete benefit of Croatia's EU accession - we have 22 products in the data base of protected products, 14 are currently protected, which puts us in 12th place in the 28-member EU," Picula said.
Picula, who has made the protection of autochthonous products a priority of his term as a member of the European Parliament, said that the region of Lika, which accounted for almost 10% of Croatia's territory, should promote its autochthonous products.
Ana Marusic Lisac of Biotechnicon, a certification company, said that quality was the best guarantee of a product's market success.
By becoming a protected autochthonous product the Lika potato has become a signature product, which is no longer in the "one kuna potato" category, she said.
"What should motivate producers from this region is the fact that protected products are two and a half times more expensive than products without such a designation," said Picula, recalling that in the 1980s Lika used to produce 75,000 tonnes of potato for the market while today the production was below 1,000 tonnes.
After Brussels, Dubrovnik, Sibenik, Rovinj and Zagreb, Picula's office organised the workshop in Lika to present models and good examples of how to use product protection as an integral part of rural development.