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Europe’s farmers are coming under extraordinary financial pressure as shifting export markets and volatile prices take their toll. But new markets are emerging and consumers in Europe and beyond are increasingly choosing to buy high-quality products from the EU.
In a globalised market, Europe’s agri-food producers can stand out by focusing on quality. The EU’s quality schemes help reassure consumers that they are buying an authentic, high-quality product, while enabling farmers and producers to command higher prices and protecting their specialities from unfair competition.
As the Russian market has closed, others have opened up: Asia’s booming middle class is a new and dynamic market for Europe’s high-end agri-food producers. And one that will only grow in the years to come.
However, the value added by the EU’s quality schemes makes them a popular target for fraudsters, with counterfeit products costing consumers and producers billions of euros each year.
This Special Report is also available in Spanish, Greek, and Italian.
Disclaimer: This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
The EU’s Southern member states are the leading producers of foods certified by EU quality schemes: between them, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece account for 70% of the total.
The promotion of geographical indications (GI) has helped EU products attract new emerging markets which seek quality food. However, Europol warns that fake GI products are on the rise across the EU and policymakers should not disregard the protection of intellectual rights.
The ‘vinhos verdes’ (green wines) of northwestern Portugal have no direct international competitors, but their producers nevertheless want the European Union to safeguard the regional demarcations in its trade accords with foreign markets, local officials said. EURACTIV’s partner Lusa reports.
Spain is an agricultural powerhouse: agri-food products account for 20% of the country’s exports. And if there is one thing keeping Spanish farmers competitive in the age of globalisation it is the quality of their products. EURACTV’s partner EFEAgro reports.
In June, the EU and China published a list of 200 European and Chinese geographical indications (GIs) that are protected on their respective markets, as part of a bilateral deal that should be concluded by December. EURACTIV’s partner Italia Oggi reports.
Farmers in Greece are concerned about the fate of feta cheese in EU trade agreements with third countries after the EU failed to fully protect the iconic product in the CETA free trade deal with Canada. EURACTIV Greece reports.