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Thursday, 01 August 2013

EU plans labelling for short supply chains

The introduction and strengthening of short food chains is on the European Commission’s agenda, as part of the EU Common Agricultural Policy reform, The Guardian informs. In January 2014, the directorate general for agriculture and rural development is due to present the European Parliament a new labelling scheme for the producers who want to market their produce locally.
However, no clear data exists on how such a label will look like, and how it will differentiate between a product that comes completely - or only partially - directly from a farm. The project undergoes a large consultation.
Short chains – which are defined by a limitation of the links in the producer-consumer chain -  are supposed to enhance transparency of food chains, a point with important lacks, as it could be observed during the horse meat scandal.  
Commission’s idea is to help the approximate 11 million European small farmers to make an extra win from selling their products directly. They would avoid thus any extra charges incurred when dealing with intermediaries.
Another advantage of this type of food trade is the increased  levels of trust that consumers have when buying directly from producers. This is expected to lead to long-term relationships and stability for both parties, Research from Coventry University's Centre for Agroecology and Food Security suggests.
On the other hand, small-scale farmers would have to personally get involved within the marketing and selling activities, a time and knowledge-intensive process. Another matter of concern would be the cost of this label, which might deter producers from choosing it.

Source: The Guardian