Melitopol sweet cherry became the first Ukrainian berry to receive a geographical indication patent from the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade, and Agriculture of Ukraine. This means that only cherries grown by local producers can be called Melitopol Cherries. The status of a geographical brand strengthens the export potential of the region, opens opportunities for the promotion of local manufacturers. This was a joint result of many years of cooperation between regional suppliers of berries, the city authorities, and PLEDDG.

“PLEDDG joined the support of the initiative of Melitopol residents to launch the local berry brand on European markets when it supported the establishment of the Melitopol Cherry Growers’ Association,” commented PLEDDG Director Oleksandr Kucherenko. “This is a great example of a systematic and focused application of efforts of regional producers and city authorities on the path to joint results. New export opportunities are opening up for suppliers of Melitopol sweet cherry, and at the same time, the city is activating its economic potential, with both the local business climate and the well-being of the region as a whole improving. We are glad to be involved in this historic event, the registration of a Ukrainian regional brand. I am convinced that this example will inspire other cities to take more decisive and confident actions to enter new markets.”

According to Iryna Rudakova, First Deputy Mayor of Melitopol:

“Obtaining the status of a product with a protected geographical indication is a very important step for the economic and social development of the city. We are happy that thanks to many years of cooperation with PLEDDG, our berry is now able to reach a more powerful level of exports, to become a Ukrainian business card in international markets. We also count on the development of sectoral approaches due to the joint promotion of the Melitopol sweet cherry brand with PLEDDG: strengthening touristic capabilities, launching a cosmetics area based on sweet cherry ingredients, publishing thematic books, creating a museum of sweet cherry, and more.”

Hennadii Podshyvalov, Chairman of the Melitopol Cherry Growers’ Association, shared his experience of cooperation with PLEDDG and obtaining the status of a product with a protected geographical indication:

“The assistance of PLEDDG has become a crucial component in achieving the protected geographical indication status for our cherries: we have received expert support at the stages of research, preparation of specification documents for the Ministry of Economic Development. It is especially important right now to systematically monitor the quality of producers who will have the right to use the Melitopol Cherry brand for their products. In this, we have already benefited from special equipment purchased with the support of PLEDDG. Thus, we are able to analyze the main characteristics of the berry: its size, density, color, the volume of sugar, the components of the unforgettable taste of Melitopol cherries, which our grandmothers still remember, and which makes us very proud. Soon, we are planning to hold workshops for potential suppliers, as the new status of Melitopol cherries only gives the right to apply for access to large European markets, so we have a lot of plans and joint work ahead. In the near future, we plan to apply for registration of a product with a geographical indication “Melitopol Cherries” to the European Commission.”

The PLEDDG team congratulates its partners on this crucial achievement and we are confident in the fruitful continuation of this successful cooperation. New economic opportunities for the city lie ahead: strengthening the export and tourism potential, the participation of manufacturers in international exhibitions to create new jobs and niches for sectoral businesses. PLEDDG will remain a loyal partner in the development of Melitopol’s territorial identity and access to new export capacities, strengthening of economic capacity, and participatory governance.