They are very popular in Russia; this is because they are environmentally clean and have special taste. This is probably the popularity of Abkhaz tangerines that has caused problem.
Mass inspections, conducted by Roscontrol at Moscow markets, revealed, that nearly 100 percent of ‘Abkhaz tangerines’ available there, were actually brought from China, and partially – from Turkey and Greece.
The inspection was conducted in October. For every residents of Abkhazia the very fact of such an inspection sounds ridiculous. The matter is that Abkhaz tangerines cannot be at the market in October! Citrus harvesting in Abkhazia begins approximately in mid-November, and their import to the Russian markets has started just recently.
Abkhazian Facebook is overjoyed at the stories about mass falsification of Abkhaz tangerines in Russia and is proud of its brand. A typical comment is: ‘If our tangerines are as actively forged, as once the American jeans used to be, that is another proof of their quality and popularity.’
Abkhaz experts have different feelings in this regard and insist on urgent protection of the brand, that has become so famous.
‘No efforts have been made in the past 20 years to promote the brand. There is no customary visual image of that tangerine, such as Mercedes or BMW logo, that immediately causes an associative array, saying it is reliable, high-quality and worth buying, – says Tengiz Tarba, Director of the ‘Mountainous Abkhazia’ Foundation.
Tengiz Tarba, Director of the ‘Mountainous Abkhazia’ Foundation
He believes, there is a need for a state program, since commercial organizations alone cannot develop mechanisms for system protection of the Abkhaz product.
‘Once you create a graphic image of a tangerine, put a phrase, let it be even ‘Abkhaz tangerine’, once you patented this image – that very moment you get a legal opportunity to protect your brand. It will no longer be just a phrase, it will be the national value, that can be estimated at millions of dollars ‘, – says Tengiz Tarba.
As long as there is no such protection – one can be protected oneself. A tip from the Minister of Agriculture of Abkhazia, Timur Eshba: ‘If you are doubtful, you certainly can demand a certificate of origin. But tangerines can be also distinguished visibly. Abkhaz tangerines have a strong yellow color. Moroccan, Turkish and Greek tangerines are bright orange. They also differ in taste – when it is our tangerine, it has acute citrus scent, while this is not the case with Chinese tangerines.