Ref. Ares(2021)4240352 - 29/06/2021
2. Farm-to-Fork Strategy:
x The Farm to Fork Strategy
already calls for lessons to be learned from the
Covid-19 pandemic, which will be taken up in the initiative to develop a contingency plan
to ensure food security during crises, and in the tabling of
a legislative framework for sustainable food systems
, to be delivered in
x The Commission also continues its work on the implementation of the
Directive on Unfair Trading Practices
and the new rules on market
along the food supply chain. These are clearly issues that
continue topical, and you will see this reflected in the Farm to Fork Strategy
x We see too that many consumers want to make healthier and more
The Farm to Fork Strategy reflects this. If we do this
right it can be of benefit not only to the planet and to public health, but also
to our food supply chain operators.
x As you will know, we consult extensively
on our policies and we seek to
make policy based on evidence. You and other stakeholders will be invited
to contribute in public consultations and other ways as we progress in our
Why a Farm to Fork Strategy?
Strategy, together with the Biodiversity Strategy, aims to
ensure such a resilient food system and translate the Green Deal into
x The strategy recognises that EU farmers
have made great efforts to
produce in a more sustainable
way – and successfully so.
x Agriculture is directly affected by climate change
and depends on high-
quality eco-systems. We cannot afford to be complacent
That is why the Commission proposes targets for 2030 to drive our
common policy agenda
. The Commission believes it will be necessary to
significantly reduce the use and risks of chemical plant protection
, as well as the use of fertilisers and antibiotics
, while increasing
the area under organic farming
I would like to recall that the Farm to Fork Strategy is not a proposal for a
new agricultural policy. It is a vision
for reforming the entire food system in
a sustainable way. It aims to design fairer, healthier and environmentally
friendly food systems in the EU by 2030
The Farm to Fork Strategy envisages a just transition
to a sustainable food
supply system. It explicitly recognises the need for fair economic returns
the supply chain as one of the three objectives.
Therefore, the Commission will closely monitor food security, as well as
competitiveness of farmers and food operators
closely throughout the
process and adjust as needed.
Farm to Fork and consumer demand for sustainability?
To deliver on this ambitious vision, we need first and foremost a sustainable
That is why a wide range of actions in the strategy focuses on consumers,
processing and retail
. On how to help consumers make healthier and more
environmentally friendly choices.
Citizens’ expectations are evolving and driving significant change in the
food market, with a growing demand for sustainable products
organic, quality, locally produced, etc.). This will be an opportunity for
farmers to sell products with higher value-added and reinforce connection
The strategy should also be an useful help in better integrating the value
chains by linking local and regional primary production
to value added
processing and retail. This should also help rural areas to maintain its
What measures will the Commission take to shift consumption to healthy
and sustainable dietary choices?
x Consumers themselves have power to influence the type of food produced,
how it is produced and where it is produced. Indeed, citizens are
increasingly asking for healthy diets from a healthy planet.
x To encourage consumers to make healthy choices and to encourage the food
industry to offer healthy food products, the Commission will propose mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling
x The Commission will stimulate reformulation of processed food
the setting of maximum levels for certain nutrients, and set nutrient profiles
to restrict promotion of food high in salt, sugar or fat.
x The Commission will also examine ways to harmonise voluntary green
and develop a sustainable food-labelling framework
nutritional, climate, environmental and social aspects.
x To improve the availability and price of sustainable food and to promote
healthy and sustainable diets, including organic products, in schools and
public institutions, the Commission will determine the best modalities for
setting minimum mandatory criteria for sustainable food procurement
How will the EU sustainability label help farmers?
x Labelling schemes and marketing standards have a high potential to link
production methods on the farm to (premium) consumer demand and
x For example, EU animal welfare labelling
has the potential to translate
farm sustainability efforts and investments into higher returns to farmers.
x Development of an EU sustainable food label
will highlight the level of EU
production standards and quality criteria that EU farmers meet. It will
incentivise trade partners to ensure that food imported into the EU has been
produced in a sustainable way.
What is the intention of the Farm to Fork on the issue of mandatory origin
labelling for certain products? Will this be harmonised at EU level?
x Consumers are increasingly interested in the origin of certain food
as demonstrated by the number of national measures in this area
since 2016. This is also reflected in the recent European citizens’ initiative
x The Commission will consider the possibility to propose extending
mandatory origin or provenance indication
to a defined set of products to
be agreed, in accordance with the better regulation rules.
x Any proposal in this regard will have to be in compliance with the EU’s
, including those under WTO rules, and be subject
to a comprehensive impact assessment
, including concerning potential
impacts on EU and international trade.
What other relevant initiatives for the food industry are there in the Farm to
x As part of the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Commission is working on the
development of a corporate governance framework
, which will include a
requirement for the food industry to integrate sustainability into corporate
x Simultaneously an EU code for responsible business and marketing
is being developed. The EU code will contain a monitoring
x These initiatives are led by DG JUST and DG GROW
, respectively. AGRI
is an associated DG and supportive of the work.
x The work of the Commission is at an early stage
, but all the regular steps –
like a public consultation and an impact assessment – are foreseen to allow
the participation of all stakeholders and to create a solid evidence-base.
x The Commission will develop its work in the spirit of the Green Deal, base it
on the guidance of the Farm to Fork Strategy, and more generally follow the
Better Regulation agenda to make evidence-based decisions.
Commission and Member States measures:
x In March the Commission acted to ensure food security and the preservation of the
single market through Guidelines on border management measures
follow-up meetings with MS.
x A special temporary state aid framework
increased resources for farmers.
x A number of flexibility measures
concerning direct payments, rural development and
x The Commission adopted a package of market measures on 30 April
12 separate Commission regulations. They are aimed to stabilise markets, through private storage aid
for dairy and meat products, flexibility in the implementation of
market support programmes
and crisis cooperation measures
in such sectors as the
milk, potatoes, live plants/flowers.
x Finally, the Commission proposed exceptional flexibility and simplification in the
use of the rural development fund
, to extend the scope of support to rural
SMEs/businesses. This was adopted by the co-legislator on 24 June 2020.
Unfair trading practices
x The Directive lists 16 well-defined unfair trading practices which are either blacklisted
or forbidden if the parties did not clearly agree on these practices beforehand.
x An important point in the transposition process is the designation of the national
enforcement authority, which must be vested with powers to stop infringements and
x The new rules will be evaluated by November 2025
, and may, if appropriate, lead to
x FoodDrinkEurope has been generally supportive
of the new unfair trading practices
x Improvements in market transparency put agricultural producers and food SMEs in the
food supply chain on a more equal footing
with their larger counterparts.
x An amending Regulation was adopted in 1 October 2019. The new rules will apply
from 1 January 2021.
x The legal amendments increase transparency in key sectors
(meat, dairy, fruit and
vegetables, etc.) and, crucially, along the length of the food supply chain
, for buying
and selling prices and certain quantities.
x This increase in market transparency is one of three elements of a package to improve
the functioning of the food supply chain, the two others being the Directive on unfair
trading practices and improvements to the rules for producer cooperation.
x FoodDrinkEurope has opposed
the new rules, citing as reasons that there is already
sufficient transparency in the supply chain, concerns about negative effects on
competition, and that the new rules would not help address power imbalances in the
What is the state of play on the study on the cumulative impact of trade
x There is clear evidence that agricultural exports have a positive impact on
jobs in the agri-food sector. As confirmed by the cumulative study carried
out in 2016, EU agriculture has a clear interest in maintaining an
ambitious international trade agenda so as not to lose existing market
shares to our trading competitors. Major additional benefits are expected
from increased export opportunities for processed food, enhanced
protection of Geographical Indications, and the tackling of SPS barriers
for EU exports.
x The study also confirmed that the EU approach to keep a firm line on
limited access for sensitive products, such as beef and rice, was – and
remains – justified. EU negotiators know they need to manage the
expectations of their partners in third countries and are determined to
secure adequate protection for those sensitive products, which are of very
considerable economic and social value to various Member States.
x We believe this objective was fulfilled in the negotiations with Mercosur.
x Commission services are working on an up-date of the 2016 study to take
into account the latest developments in EU trade negotiations, in
particular to integrate the results of negotiations with Mercosur, Japan and
Mexico. The up-date is expected this autumn.
x I am committed to present the results of this study to the Agri-Fish
Council, once it is published.
Cumulative study: Which agreements will be covered in the study?
x study only covers a selection of major trade agreements either just in
force, recently concluded, or under negotiation, or likely to be launched in
the near future.
x In the 2020 study 12 trade agreements will be covered simultaneously:
Canada, Japan, Vietnam, Mercosur, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand,
Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Chile, Malaysia.
x regarding the United States, as the EU position is not to include
agriculture in a trade negotiation, the updated study will not include an
FTA (TTIP-like or a light version), contrary to the 2016 study. The update
of the agreement with Turkey will also not be considered. The
modernisation of the FTA with Chile will however be added, as well as a
future FTA with Malaysia.
Cumulative study: How is Brexit accounted for?
x This study is not about Brexit.
x As indicated in the Political Declaration and in the negotiation directives
of the EU (and of the UK), a tariff free, quota free trade agreement is
envisaged (conditional upon robust provisions ensuring a level playing
field and an agreement on fisheries, among others), making this the
default or preferred option.
x This study will hence assume duty free quota free (DFQF) trade between
the EU and the UK, both in the baseline and in the tested scenarios. As the
analysis is comparative, no quantitative specifics of the EU-UK
relationship will be reflected in the report.
x While we are aware that the DFQF trade relationship will generate
additional friction when compared to participation in the single market,
we will not reflect this in the modelling approach, as this adds an
additional strong assumption.
x In addition to the DFQF assumption, we envisage that both the EU-27 and
the UK will apply the apportioned WTO TRQs.
x For the trade relationship of the UK with the rest of the world, we assume
the proper implementation of the trade deals that the UK had already
secured with third countries at the time of starting the study.
Cumulative study: How is the Covid19 crisis accounted for?
x This study is not about the impact of the Covid19 crisis.
x We look at the impact of the trade agreements in 2030. This makes less
relevant taking into account the crisis.
Implementation of agreements: Singapore
x The Singapore-EU FTA entered into force on 21 November 2019.
x It is an important agreement for EU agri-food exports, not only in
Singapore but also in the whole ASEAN region.
x Singapore is a valued partner for the EU and is the most important trading
partner in ASEAN, accounting for 24% of EU-ASEAN trade in goods (48
x Singapore also plays a leading role in Southeast Asia as a financial centre
and transportation hub.
x This agreement will enhance our bilateral relationship, boost EU
commitment to ASEAN, and is a sign of support for the rules based
x This FTA will create great opportunities for some EU agri-food products
like wines, spirits, confectionery, dairy and meat.
x There are currently 1388 European GIs registered in Singapore and
protected through the agreement.
x However, several of our GIs are being challenged by Third Parties, either
through legal proceedings at the Intellectual Property Office or at the
High Court of Singapore.
x The Commission is very concerned by these on-going procedures and is
following very closely the development of the situation.
Implementation of agreements: South Korea
x The conclusion of the FTA with South Korea is a success story in terms of
agri-food trade for both the EU and Korea. Korea is an important partner
for the EU not only on the global stage but, in particular, in the Asian
x We are fully engaged with Korea to make sure that the implementation of
the FTA enhances all expected benefits for both sides. The EU-Korea
FTA protects a relatively short list of 162 EU Geographical Indications
(GIs). Since 2014, the EU has tried to add 46 names. After long
discussions currently preparatory works are on-going to update the GI list
and add additional geographical indications from both sides.
x On SPS measures, access for EU beef has been raised on every occasion
by the Commission. In 2019 the market has been finally opened for the
Netherlands and Denmark, however for other Member States the approval
process is dragging along for years. We will continue using all possible
avenues to obtain firm assurances towards the approval of beef from the
other Member States.
Implementation of agreements: Canada (CETA)
x The comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) entered into
application in 2017. The Agreement has significantly improved market
access for many EU foods and beverages in Canada.
x Since then, EU exports of agri-food products have increased steadily
across a broad range of products. We have registered growth both for
traditional exports and for products which were hardly traded with Canada
before CETA. To name just one example, the EU has become a net
exporter of bovine meat to Canada.
x That said, more can be done to reap the full benefits of CETA. EU
exporters are still facing trade irritants on dairy products and alcoholic
beverages, as well as sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions and issues
with the protection of geographical indications. The Commission is
actively engaging with Canada to find a way forward on all of those
people to people, business to business and government to government,
a critical role in that transformation. The original TFRA report recommended that four
strategic areas of action should underpin the transformation of Africa’s agri-food
sector and rural economy: 1) A territorial approach for income and job creation; 2)
Sustainable land and natural resources management, and climate action. 3) Sustainable
transformation of African agriculture. 4) Development of the African food industry
and food markets
x The TFRA has revised its report’s recommendations
to take account the COVID-
19 and the European Green Deal. The significant change in context led the TFRA to
one central conclusion: that food and nutrition security has become of such
fundamental political, economic and social importance that it must be at the centre of
all future planning and policy. Thus, the AU-EU Summit in October has then the
opportunity for both continents to commit to a set of short and long term policies to
deliver on this food and nutrition security objective.
x For the short term
– until end 2021 – the TFRA suggest that the Summit should
commit to three high level political priorities: 1) Address the urgent needs of the most
vulnerable African populations impacted by COVID-19 and, in certain countries and
regions, by the plague of locusts. 2) Lay the foundations of long term sustainable
African food systems, through strengthening the resilience of local food systems and
the rural economy. 3) Bring climate action to a new level of political priority through
committing to an Africa Europe Climate Alliance and agree the early stages of
bringing this Alliance into being.
x For the longer term,
to 2030, the TFRA endorses the proposal that cooperation
between Africa and Europe should be based on partnerships in five key areas: green
transition; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace and governance;
and migration and mobility.
x The new Task Force report has been sent to AGRI, TRADE and DEVCO
Commissioners and a common reply from these EC services is under preparation.
Africa-Europe Alliance Task Forces
Under the Africa Europe Alliance, four new Task Forces will be set up to enhance
cooperation and get the private sector and broader civil society closer involved. DG DEVCO
has adopted a ‘decentralized approach’ for this by entrusting the work to a consortium
(composed of the Friends of Europe, Mo Ibrahim Foundation and IPEMED).
What is the objective?
The Task Forces (TFs) aim at putting in place a structured dialogue between African and
European stakeholders from business, politics and civil society on investment climate and
reforms. They cover 4 sectors (digital, transport, energy and agriculture), as well as
¾ The TF on sustainable agriculture
will build on the work of the previous Task Force
¾ High-level dialogues
will use and further develop existing networks; putting into
place a communication strategy and conducting further research.
During this 2,5-year process about 40 experts work at issuing
policy recommendations for sustainable investment and jobs.
Expected outputs are:
x 4 TF
- digital, transport, energy and agriculture.
x 4 high-level meetings per TF
, in Africa and EU, during these 2,5-years.
x Policy recommendations
for sustainable investment and jobs.
x Outreach strategy
to disseminate the work and recommendations.
Why is it relevant?
The TF on sustainable agriculture
is relevant to:
x Promote the European Green Deal as a starting point for a new global growth
based on reasonable, sustainable, green and balanced development of an
interconnected world. During the critical, post-COVD 19 period, there is an urgent
need to rethink and overhaul the global food system, including its climate impact.
International cooperation is essential for doing so.
x Agriculture and rural areas have an important role to play, in Europe and in Africa, to
achieve the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals
. Sustainable value
chains building on agricultural production have a huge potential to reduce poverty
(SDG1), end hunger (SDG2) and create jobs and income. Thus, cooperation with
Africa addresses the root causes for migration.
x Demonstrate that the EU & AU Commissions steer agricultural transformation
(environmental, social and economic), be it within the
European Green Deal & Farm to Fork initiative or within the African Agenda 2063 &
CAADP process. The Rural Transformation Action Agenda contributes to this green
transition on an international level.
x Strengthen the successful policy cooperation on agriculture between Africa and
, which is already leading the way for other policies. Indeed, regularly
organised AU-EU Agriculture Ministerial Conferences (2016, 2017 and 2019) are a
great opportunity to enhance the policy dialogue and to boost the launch of concrete
actions that transform agriculture and food systems.
x Take forward and further implement the recommendations of the Task Force
(Report of March 2019). The Rural Transformation Action Agenda,
adopted by Ministers of both continents in June 2019, is an instrument to advance
operational cooperation initiatives (in view of the AU EU Summit in October
next AU EU Ministerial Conference in 2021).
Rural Transformation Action Agenda
Cooperation on agriculture policy already exists between the AU and the EU, both at
technical level and political level. Work builds on experts’ recommendations (Task Force
Rural Africa report, 2019), regular high-level political dialogues and a joint Action Agenda;
adopted in 2019. These existing tools provide the right channels to advance internationally on
the European Green Deal and the ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy.
Under the joint AU EU Rural Transformation Agenda the implementation (together with MS)
of the following actions can be highlighted:
x Bring closer European and African agrifood companies, thought the establishments of
AU EU agri-business platform.
x Support to the implementation of the AU Continental Strategy on Geographical
Indications (GIs) as an instrument for rural development and promotion of value
addition in African agrifood.
x Support to the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area
(AfCFTA), particularly to enhance capacity to implement Sanitary and Phytosanitary
measures. These can contribute to stimulate sustainable food consumption, promote
affordable healthy food for all and create new opportunities for all operators in the
food value chain.
x Promote growth in African rural areas and improve governance following a LEADER
inspired approach of development. Feed in this way into the proposed “NaturAfrica”
initiative aiming at offering opportunities in green sectors for local populations.
x Share knowledge among researchers and policy makers on policy impact analysis, on
agricultural economics and policy issues through the PANAP (Pan African Network
for economic Analysis of Policies) network. Thus, foster innovation and help green
x Activate education and training to the continent and building capacity, particularly of
African women and youth, through the African-European Famers’ exchange
x The EU-Africa research and innovation partnership on Food and Nutrition Security
and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) focuses on R&I actions that can contribute to
unlock Africa's potential to make rapid progress towards a sustainable, greener
agriculture (agroecology) and circular food systems.
x In the preparation of the AU EU Summit (end Oct. 2020), DG AGRI has proposed to
revisit this “open” Agenda. Additional actions could be tangible Summit results.