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Sustainable food and nutrition security through evidence based EU agro-food policy

Specific challenge: The EU agro-food sector has considerable potential in addressing the various multifaceted challenges on food and nutrition security (FNS). Demographic, dietary and income trends, the broader economic and policy context, climate change and environmental sustainability as well as technological change are perceived as major drivers that shape FNS. Furthermore, as EU agriculture itself operates within a complex policy environment involving a plethora of domestic, EU and international policies (themselves being subject to change), a comprehensive understanding is required with regards to the combined implications of the numerous and multidisciplinary factors, including considerations on their future developments. Such an assessment should encompass the role of EU fisheries and aquaculture.

Scope: Proposals should address one of the following issues (A) or (B) or both, and should clearly indicate to which they refer.

A. [2014] Strengthening the analytical capacity on food and nutrition security

A holistic approach is needed to capture the various socio-economic, environmental, climatic and territorial factors impacting on the EU agro-food sector along with their inter-linkages.  Attention should be given to the implications of various policies and drivers of change affecting different actors along the supply chain (e.g. health and nutrition policies are gaining increasing importance for FNS) and to distinguish between long-term consumption trends (including their main socio-economic drivers) and consumer reactions to short-term shocks (e.g. economic, food scares, etc.). Research should develop indicators and analytical tools that improve the monitoring of EU FNS at various geographical scales (including at sub-regional level) and develop capacities for short-term forecasts and early warning systems for the most relevant agricultural commodities. It should also deliver improved quantitative modelling tools integrating socio-economic and bio-physical models, reflecting prevailing factors driving supply and demand at different geographic scales and a broad scope of agricultural products. Foresight exercises should contribute to the formulation of alternative future scenarios.

B. [2014] Understanding relevant issues impacting the agro-food sector

Specific analyses should address the following issues: 1) Potential role of financial markets on commodity price formation and their potential benefits for farmers (including the conditions for access of farmers) for risk management; 2) Conditions of farmers' access to credit, especially young farmers, in a context of economic uncertainty and increasing capital intensity of production; 3) Mapping the web of policy requirements applicable to farmers at EU, national and regional levels and developing tools to assess their implications on farming across the EU, including an extensive review and comparison of agro-food standards in the EU and important third countries and assessment of their impacts on cost and competitiveness or on access to markets; 4) Developing approaches to better take account of the functioning of the food supply chain, measuring implications of unfair business practices along the chain and developing solutions to address discrepancies, including the potential role of ICT to increase market transparency.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 5 million for (A) or (B) respectively would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Proposals should show how some, or all, of the following impacts will be achieved:

         provide an assessment of the state of EU FNS at sub-regional level (including the implications of fisheries and aquaculture)

         improve the capacity of policy makers to monitor its development, to carry out short-term projections and evidence-based risk assessments and to implement quantitative modelling of alternative future scenarios to aid the design and formulation of longer term agro-food policies

         bring about foresight and identify long-term challenges to FNS and the role of the EU agro-food sector, thus improving the capacity of related policies to provide appropriate answers.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions