POLICY FINDINGS AND POSITIONS
Field research findings about Agriculture and Rural Development policy issues at national level
The responses to the farm-level policy questionnaire reveal that ESSEDRA partners took at least two approaches to identifying traditional food products. One was to concentrate on the farmers who produce the raw materials, while in the second approach the stress is on the final product, so that the ‘food producer’ identified is not necessarily a farmer, but rather a processor or home-producer. This variability in the approaches influenced the policy findings from the field research in terms of breadth of issues identified, since the latter class of producer has no direct experience of the many policies which impact only on farming and certainly does not have the detailed knowledge of their implementation which a farmer (and farm-related administrators or specialists) would have.
ESSEDRA partners’ approaches to nominating traditional food products from policy perspective
Approach 1) Nominating the original raw material and/or product, for example:
- Breeds – sheep, cattle, pigs;
- Plants – herbs, vegetables, cereals, etc;
- Permanent crops – apples, cherries, vines, etc;
- Products with minimal processing - Honey, fish, olive oil, tobacco, etc.
Approach 2) Nominating the resulting and/or processed products such as:
- Processed food – cheeses and dairy products, cured meats, pasta, preserves
- Cooked food – bread, pies, meals, etc.
Having examined both the evidence on the ground and considered the interests and capacities of the ESSEDRA partners, two aims were proposed for the ESSEDRA partnership policy strategy, namely:
- Ensuring that small scale cheese producers – milk farms and (traditional) dairies are supported by national and IPARD funds
- The hygiene and direct sales rules adopted at national level make full use of the flexibility options providеd by EU Regulations and Directives, so as to be as appropriate as possible to small scale cheese producers – milk farms and (traditional) dairies – in the respective countries.
Enlargement countries must use IPARD II financial support to address the needs of small-scale cheese producers: Dairy Farms and Traditional Dairies
Pre-accession support for agriculture and rural development in the 2014-2020 period (IPARD II) remains the major source of financial assistance for rural areas in the enlargement countries. The large number of small farms and their particular importance for the social, environmental, cultural and welfare functions of any vibrant rural community requires the IPARD II programmes to deliver support measures which are targeted specifically at small farms.
However, an analysis of the first IPARD programming period reveals that it was mostly the larger farms and businesses which were able to avail themselves of funding. IPARD II must better consider the needs of the small farm and reduce the administrative burden on small farms wishing to access any appropriate measures which are made available.
The ESSEDRA Advocacy Partnership urges the EU to request IPARD competent authorities in enlargement countries to make a proper assessment of the needs of small farms and rural businesses among which particular attention should be paid to small-scale cheese producers and to design well-targeted interventions in order to address them.
Although the IPARD Regulation does not require it explicitly – IPARD countries must not ignore the needs of the majority of their farmers!
The European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development Regulation (EAFRD, Reg. 1305/2013) provides for a specific thematic sub-programme on small farms, revealing the new policy importance placed on this specific group of farms. Given the even greater importance of small farms in most IPARD countries, it is only right that they can and should develop an integrated package of measures targeting such producers.
Read the full IPARD II position