The Ghent azalea receives the European PGI quality label

Importance of this recognition
The Flemish association of azalea growers, in cooperation with the Flemish government, sought to obtain this recognition in order to guarantee the quality of the azaleas. The designation ‘Ghent azalea’ meets a multitude of strict quality criteria for the plant as well as the producer. It is the first time that a horticultural product has received this quality label in the EU.

Main criteria
The requirements for obtaining the ‘Ghent azalea’ PGI label are:
  • The azalea has to be cultivated and forced in the established geographical zone in East Flanders (Belgium).
  • The azalea has 80% coloured buds.
  • The producer complies with the Azalea Quality Project (PAK) and meets the strict quality standards (fine leaves, well-cared for pot without weeds, correct pot/plant ratio, etc.).
  • The producer has to be registered with the Federal Government Economy Department and remains under its control.

Solid brand name
This European recognition gives producers the opportunity to bring their product to the forefront with a solid brand name. This recognition in fact provides the designation ‘Ghent azalea’ with the same legal protection as a registered trademark. So producers can use this brand only if they fulfil all the criteria of the specifications.
For the consumer this European label guarantees that they are buying a quality product from our own country.

A long road
Obtaining the ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ label for the Ghent azalea has taken four years.

Some key dates
  • 12 September 2005: official application by the association of Flemish azalea growers
  • 10 March 2006: acceptance of the application by the prime minister and submission of a dossier to the European Commission
  • 5 August 2008: publication of the application by the European Commission in the Official Journal of the European Communities
  • 17 March 2010: approval of the dossier after voting in the standing PDO/PGI committee of the European Commission

Fact and figures
  • 80% of the European azalea production originates from Flanders
  • annual production: +/- 30 million azaleas
  • 160 azalea growers, of whom 66 keep to PAK - these 66 companies produce 20 million azaleas a year
  • around 7 million will be sold (= 23% of the total Belgian azalea production) with the ‘Ghent azalea’ designation

Contact: Adrien Saverwyns
Tel +32 9 272 23 09
adrien.saverwyns@lv.vlaanderen.be
www.gentseazalea.be

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