EU agri-food promotion policy boosts competitiveness of the sector

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11 January 2021, EU: The EU agri-food promotion policy is effective and efficient in supporting the policy’s objectives. Furthermore, the objectives of the policy are relevant to stakeholders’ needs and address market challenges, have a clear EU added value, but need to be better aligned with evolving societal needs and political priorities. These are among the key findings of the ‘Evaluation of the impact of the EU agricultural promotion policy in internal and third countries markets’ published today by the European Commission.

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The evaluation of the EU’s agricultural promotion policy, supported by an external study and a public consultation on the topic, examined the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of the EU policy measures implemented between 2016 and 2019. This evaluation will feed into an overall review of the policy planned for 2021, aimed at enhancing its contribution to sustainable production and consumption in line with the Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy’s objectives.

The evaluation found that activities funded under the promotion policy contribute effectively to increasing the sales and consumption of the EU products promoted in target markets, although this is difficult to quantify precisely. Overall support given to outreach and promotion activities is effective and has the right tools in place to meet the policy’s objectives.

The evaluation concluded that the policy has been implemented efficiently. Still, some differences were noted depending on the type of programme, with direct management being implemented generally more efficiently.

Stakeholders consulted for the evaluation indicated that the objectives of the current EU agricultural promotion policy are relevant and meet their needs to address market challenges. In particular, the policy is most relevant for activities outside the EU as the funded activities raise awareness and improves perception of EU product quality.

The evaluation found that the policy is coherent internally, and with comparable measures implemented at national level. No major inconsistencies were found with other EU policies, including health, climate, environmental and development policies. Coherence with other EU policies was evaluated against the various policy objectives adopted for the current promotion policy, and on the basis of evidence available during the observation period. As such, the evaluation did not cover coherence with policies that have been launched more recently, notably the farm to fork and biodiversity strategies, which concern fields marked by rapidly evolving scientific insights, societal concerns and policy objectives, such as health and environment/climate policies. However, the evaluation also concluded that the promotion policy can play a bigger role in the green transition, by for instance aligning its strategic priorities with other relevant EU areas. This was already addressed in the 2021 annual work programme, where almost half of the budget was allocated to campaigns more directly in line with the European Green Deal ambitions, and in particular the Farm to fork strategy.

Moreover, the promotion measures being implemented at EU level demonstrated clear added value. For instance, the focus is on categories of products, rather than brands. In addition, it provides opportunities for learning and cooperating between EU trade operators that go beyond national or private initiatives.

Finally, the evaluation highlighted areas where there is room for improvement. This includes improving the exchange of knowledge and experience between beneficiaries, making greater use of the ‘Enjoy! It’s from Europe’ signature, further exploring links between promotion programmes and the Commission’s own initiatives, as well as improving coherence with other EU policies (in view of the aforementioned evolution in scientific insights, societal needs and political priorities).

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