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Sustainable food chains through public policies: the cases of the EU quality policy and of public sector food procurement


Specific challenge: In 2012 a new Regulation on the quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs was adopted in the EU. Important pillars of the EU quality policy are the 'protected designation of origin' (PDO)/'protected geographical indication' (PGI)/'traditional specialty guaranteed' (TSG) schemes, a scheme for optional quality terms and organic food and farming. They are meant to maintain a large variety of agricultural products, reflecting the diversity of EU agriculture and to allow remunerative prices to producers. The policy is expected to play an important role especially in disadvantaged and remote territories where agriculture is a prominent economic activity. On the other hand, the European public sector is emerging as a powerful actor in the food chain notably through public procurement policies which can create new markets and foster the development of an 'economy of quality'. Innovative approaches in this area are multiplying in various parts of Europe from different types of governance (communal, regional, etc.). These approaches cater for different objectives such as improving the nutritional balance of school canteens, contributing to education on food or fostering the procurement from local producers. Hence they have the


Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the


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potential to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits (including health) to the society.

Scope: Proposals should investigate the impact of both the quality policy and public sector food procurement policies (including ""school schemes"") on the overall sustainability of rural territories and their role in fostering the provision of public goods as well as the impact of public food procurement on balanced nutrition. They should extend to short food supply chains which are impacted by both types of policies and assess their impact on the rural economy. Proposals should investigate the contribution and impact of the quality policy to the various objectives of the agricultural and rural development policies ranging from social and territorial cohesion to consumer confidence. Costs related to the policy and possible routes to improve its delivery should be researched. Proposals should cover a large array of PDOs and PGIs, organic products (including agriculture and aquaculture products), and short food supply chains based on regional sourcing. On food procurement policies, proposals should review existing practices, identify constraints to their development, investigate how communities of practice and partnerships involving a broad range of stakeholders can be utilised and shed light on its impact on territorial development. A large review of existing schemes should allow elaborating good practices, decision tools and recommendations for scaling up. Relevant data on short food supply chains should be gathered, which should allow the assessment of their contribution to the agricultural and rural economy. Relevant knowledge platforms should be set up. Research should involve relevant categories of stakeholders and cover an appropriate number of EU Member States, Associated Countries and Third countries. Proposals should fall under the concept of 'multi-actor approach'41. This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

 provide insight into the effects of the EU quality policy and public sector food procurement policies on sustainability and on the promotion of a healthy diet

 allow to better design and implement these policies and to foster their delivery to the overall sustainability of agriculture and the rural economy

 clarify how these approaches, through the creation of new quality markets, can foster the development of local food chains.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions