Potatoes are one of the few agricultural products for which there is no Common Market Organisation. The potato sector has often been referred to as a symbol for autoregulation of agri-food schemes by national and international specialists. Since 2008, as a part of simpli¬fication rules of the CAP, all the potato areas in the EU can be potentially eligible to receive direct payments. Other legal aspects relevant to the potato sector concern phytosanitary and plant health issues, external trade, CAP promotion policy and a CAP quality policy.
On 29 November 2017, the European Commission presented a Communication outlining ideas on the future of food and farming. The communication came after a consultation on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP), to which Europatat contributed, and which results were presented in a Conference on 7 July 2017 in Brussels.
The communication proposes a number of changes to the CAP, focusing primarily on making it simpler and en-suring the best value-for-money. It also proposes a more flexible approach to implementing the policy in order to guarantee more effective results.
- Tackling climate change and preserving the environment is the number one challenge facing the EU, and the CAP must play an enhanced role in this battle – not only to protect farmers from the impact of climate change but also to ensure that farming does not contribute to making the problem worse.
- Support for farmers will continue through the system of direct payments, but the communication ac-knowledges that the way in which these payments are currently distributed needs to be revisited.
Full legislative proposals on how concretely to meet the goals outlined in the communication are expected be-fore end of June 2018.
On 20 November 2017 Member States endorsed the deal on the overhaul of existing rules on organic production and labelling of organic products, for which a provisional agreement with the European Parliament was reached on 28 June.2017. The new EU rules set more modern and uniform rules across the EU with the aim of encouraging the sustainable development of organic production in the EU. They also aim to guarantee fair competition for farmers and operators, prevent fraud and unfair practices and improve consumer confidence in organic products. The new regulation will apply from 1 January 2021.
Unfair Trading Practises
Following indications that the added value in the food supply chain is not adequately distributed across all levels of the chain, in 2017 the Commission launched a consultation, to which Europatat contributed, drawing on the work of the Agricultural Markets Task Force (AMTF). The AMTF sug¬gested a number of concrete ways to strengthen the position of farmers in the food supply chain, and the consultation will build on this work to inform the Commission’s potential future work. An inception impact assessment, detailing a range of possible policy options, was also published for consultation and feedback.
Potato traders have a pivotal position in the sector’s value chain as they connect producers to consumers, through distribution capacities and services. Traders improve the functioning of the market by constantly adjusting supply and demand imbalances in various markets, hence reduc¬ing inefficiencies and securing value for all participants in the supply chain. Traders contribute to the good functioning of the chain and add value along the transaction, from providing expertise on specific varieties to tailored services such as logistical services, trade operators make the deliv¬ery of potatoes efficient, affordable and secure to consumers worldwide. Traders also play a vital role in provision of the infrastructure investment required to meet the growing production in and demand from the market (product information, quality, storage, presentation and preparation, packaging, logistics…).