THE COMMISSION 2021 PROMOTION POLICY IS SURPRISINGLY FLAWED
The EU agri-food promotion policy is a very important tool to expand sales and increase penetration in international markets.
In the current times, marked by the negative effects of the Covid-19 crisis in some key sectors and uncertainty on the future outlook, farmers are even more eagerly reliant upon the boost that promotion programmes bring to agri-food sales.
It came thus as a surprise that the Commission intends to reserve a lion’s share of the available funds to only promote organic products. The Commission indicated to the European Parliament AGRI Committee that 50% of the funds would be reserved to contributing to the objectives of the Farm-to-Fork strategy, organic products first and foremost.
Farm Europe sees two fundamental problems in this approach.
First, as organic production represents close to 10% of the whole value of agriculture production, what is the justification to treble its share in the promotion programme to the detriment of the majority of farmers? EU agri-food products are healthy and recognized as top quality worldwide, why discriminate against most producers in the allocation of promotion funds? Not to mention that the promotion of organic products in the EU will also boost imports of products labeled as organic, from a host of third countries.
Second, we see a serious institutional problem as the Commission imposes its proposals (Green Deal, Farm-to-Fork) before they are endorsed by the co-legislators – the European Parliament and the Council. The basic promotion Regulation was adopted by the co-legislators, as it was the allocation of CAP funds. On which grounds does the Commission skew the programme to adhere to its non-adopted proposals? Unfortunately, this seems to become a pattern, as the Commission has also indicated that it intends to impose its Green Deal, Farm-to-Fork and Biodiversity Strategies in the CAP Strategic Plans, before they are EU law.
The Commission also points out to renewed scrutiny of the promotion of alcoholic beverages and red meat. On which scientific basis? Important segments of the wine and meat sectors have been particularly affected by the Covid-19 crisis, they should thus come high in the 2021 promotion programme, not the opposite.
The Commission 2021 Promotion Policy flaws should be reversed and adhere to its basic objectives, without discriminating against most producers and overstepping institutional powers.