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Short Supply Chains Increase Farm Returns

23 April 2012, at 6:29am

EU - Copa-Cogeca has welcomed the debate at the EU Commission Conference on Local Agriculture and Short Food Supply Chains, claiming short supply chain networks or local sales networks help farmers to get a better return for their produce from the market and maintain employment in EU rural areas whilst responding to an increasing expectation from society and European consumers.

Farmers currently only get a fraction of the price, since they are up against the power of a handful of supermarkets. There are various ways of enabling farmers to get greater value via short supply chain networks.

It can be via direct sales, where farmers market their produce themselves or via other possible networks. In that context, producer organisations such as farmers own cooperatives may play an important role in helping farmers to get a better return from the market. However, it is important to make a clear distinction between the concepts of short supply chains, local sales and direct sales as they can reflect different economic realities.

Speaking on behalf of Copa-Cogeca at the Conference, Cogeca Vice-President Peter Vrisk said: “In order to overcome the difficulties faced by producers and producer groups interested in such initiatives, we believe it is important for other specific provisions to be made at EU level, particularly in the field of promotion and in Rural Development Policy. These aspects must be taken into account as part of the discussions on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2013”. The EU Commission has proposed some measures to help farmers and cooperatives do this in the future under EU rural development policy.

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen stressed: "It is important to gain experiences from the shorter supply chain to make the conventional food chain deliver better economic results to farmers for the high production standards they meet, irrespective of whether they deliver raw materials for local, regional, national or international supply chains."

This event, which was a joint initiative of the European Commissioners Dacian Ciolos and John Dalli, aimed at discussing ways to mobilise and value the economic and environmental potential of local agriculture and short food supply chains.