What Does the Optional Quality Term “Mountain Product” Involve? The Biellese Mountain (North-West Italy) Farmers’ Opinions

Alessandro Bonadonna


The latest European Regulation on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs, in addition to underlining the importance of consolidated voluntary certification schemes (PDO, PGI, TSG), confirms the importance of origin specifically for rural areas. The European Parliament drew attention to the need for the enhancement of mountain and insular areas and introduced the “Optional quality terms”. The Delegated Regulation, EU n. 665/2014, defined the conditions of use of the term “Mountain Product”. According to the current orientation, this optional term provides for a labelling scheme that allows to promote qualified mountain production. This paper aimed at the evaluation of when this term can be used i.e. the goods must meet set criteria as well as reporting the farmers’ points of view. The data were collected with the scope of defining a certification scheme dedicated to this optional quality term. A model mountain area (Montagne Biellesi, North-West Italy) was taken into consideration with semi-structured interviews on 33 farms collecting information from the producers as to their opinions on the use of this optional quality term. The resulting data, not only emphasizes the need for more extended and detailed communication as to which initiatives the European Union is taking, but also poses some doubts about the implementation of a certification scheme. As some critical points emerged, it would be advantageous to verify the consequences the adoption of the Term Mountain Product would have on all the stakeholders that were identified in the planning phase.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2016.v7n1p18

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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