Agriculture News Digest
No. 196 - 28 May 2009Agriculture on Europa


EU agricultural product quality policy

Food and drink: Commission proposes actions to get the most out of marketing and quality schemes

28/05/2009 Also available in:
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Action is needed to improve communication about the qualities of agricultural products - to help reconnect farmers with consumers. Quality labelling schemes must also be easier for people to use and understand and EU policy must be more coherent. These are the main recommendations of a European Commission Communication on agricultural product quality policy, adopted today. EU farmers meet some of the most stringent farming requirements in the world regarding environmental protection, animal welfare and the use of pesticides and veterinary drugs. In addition, they use their expertise and skill to give their products individual qualities that add value. But do farmers get a fair return for their efforts? Do consumers get accurate information about product characteristics and farming attributes?

More on the Communication


How best to address soil degradation and support soil-friendly farming? The Directorate General for Agriculture and the JRC present the results of two years research


The European Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) will today present the main findings of the two-year project 'Sustainable Agriculture and Soil Conservation (SoCo)' in a policy seminar held in Brussels. The meeting will be attended, among others, by Member States' ministries and academia as well as farming, industrial and environmental organisations.

The gathering coincides with the release of the reports on the SoCo project that form the basis for the seminar. The research was carried out by JRC in collaboration with scientific institutes from several Member States. It is based on a comprehensive review of the risk of soil degradation processes most closely linked to agriculture, of soil-friendly farming practices and of the existing policy measures available at EU, national and regional level. This is complemented by ten case studies analysing the linkages between these three elements in greater detail.

SoCo website


Olive oil: Commission to activate private storage aid to support market

25/05/2009 Also available in:
DE | EL | ES | FR | IT

The European Commission is proposing to allow olive oil producers to tender for aid for the private storage of extra virgin and virgin olive oils for a period of 180 days and a maximum quantity of 110,000 tonnes. This is because of a significant and prolonged decrease in prices in the EU. Olive oil prices have been consistently decreasing in the EU since the beginning of the 2008/09 marketing year. On several major representative markets, the level of olive oil prices, specifically for extra virgin and virgin qualities, have over recent weeks remained below the trigger levels foreseen for private storage aid (1779 EUR/t for extra virgin olive oil and 1710 EUR/t for virgin olive oil).


Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel visits China to promote 'Tasty Europe'

15/05/2009 Also available in:

Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will visit China from Monday 18 May until Friday 22 May to promote the quality and diversity of European food and drink. The Commissioner will be accompanied by a delegation of 11 top executives from food and drink companies from across the European Union, representing an annual turnover of around EUR 27 billion, under the "Tasty Europe" banner. The business representatives have been selected taking into account products where there already is an EU presence on the Chinese market and where there is significant potential for growth in the future. The main objective of the visit is to spearhead a promotional effort to increase joint business opportunities in the agri-food sector between the EU and China.


EU and US reach provisional agreement in beef dispute


Today EU and United States agreed in principle on a way forward in the long-running dispute over hormone-treated beef. Under the terms of the agreement, the US would agree not to impose new so-called 'Carousel' sanctions which were due to come into force this week and would affect a range of EU products including Italian mineral water, Roquefort cheese and a number of other food products. The U.S. would maintain the currently reduced level of existing sanctions against EU products (68% or USD 79 million lower), and would eliminate all sanctions beginning in the fourth year of the agreement. In return, the agreement would provide additional duty-free access to the EU market for the type of high quality beef traditionally exported by the US and produced from cattle that have not been treated with growth-promoting hormones. The agreement would provide additional duty-free access for 20,000 tons of beef in the first three years, increasing to 45,000 tons beginning in the fourth year. Before the end of the four-year period, the two sides will seek to agree on the conditions for the settlement applicable beyond that period.


Beneficiaries of CAP payments

Transparency: Recipients of CAP payments now on-line; Germany must fulfil its legal obligations

01/05/2009 Also available in:
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Since midnight on 30 April, details of all recipients of payments under the Common Agricultural Policy must be publicly accessible on websites managed by Member State authorities. Transparency of EU funds is one of the priorities of this Commission. This is taxpayers' money and they have the right to know how it is used. Germany is the one Member State which has not yet published the data for direct aid payments. The Commission acknowledges that there are legal issues specific to Germany, after injunctions were granted by certain local and regional courts stopping publication in individual cases. The Commission is confident that Germany will take the necessary steps to clear away these obstacles for full publication. However, the Commission also expects Germany to go ahead with the publication of all other beneficiaries not covered by these rulings.  If this is not the case, the Commission will not hesitate to initiate infringement proceedings.

Links to Member State websites


Commission approves revised Nordic farm aid scheme for Finland


The European Commission today approved a revision of the nationally financed Nordic Aid scheme for agriculture in the northern part of Finland. So-called Article 142 aid, part of Finland's Accession Treaty, was agreed to help maintain farming in the country's northernmost regions. Following a Commission evaluation of the programme and a Finnish request for modifications, consultations on changes to the system were concluded in December 2008. The changes are reflected in today's Decision. It simplifies the aid scheme by setting maximum aid rates and maximum eligible volumes for the whole area covered by the scheme rather than by sub-region. The different production sectors will be re-grouped into six groups: milk, ruminants, pigs and poultry, horticulture, crop production and other aid (mainly reindeer). Aid to pigs and poultry will be decoupled from production. The maximum authorised aid per year is fixed at EUR 358 million. Payments in the last four years have not exceeded EUR 330 million. To allow for some flexibility in the payment levels between sectors, the sum of the maximum aid amounts for the six production groups is EUR 40 million higher than the overall ceiling, but actual payments may not exceed EUR 358 million per year.


Organic farming

European Commission launches competition to create a new EU organic logo

27/04/2009 Also available in:
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Organic food meets fresh design: The European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development is inviting all design and art students from the 27 EU Member States to enter the EU-wide organic logo competition. The competition offers a prize that money just can’t buy: The winning logo will be introduced as the official logo for organic products throughout the European Union in July 2010.



Aid to farmers in Less Favoured Areas (LFA)

Less Favoured Areas: Commission intensifies cooperation with national authorities to simplify and better target the aid

21/04/2009 Also available in:
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The European Commission today adopted a Communication paving the way for a new classification of agricultural areas with natural handicaps. With the help of scientific experts, the Commission has identified 8 soil and climate criteria as a basis for objectively and clearly classifying such areas. However, before presenting a legislative proposal, the Commission needs more data to assess their feasibility. Therefore, Member States are asked to provide simulations using national data to show how the criteria might work. The new classification system is likely to be in place in 2014; meanwhile the current system remains in force. This review exercise does not affect mountain areas (already classified based on objective common criteria) or areas with specific handicaps (e.g. islands and coastal areas) which are classified according to those specific handicaps.

Commission Communication


Commissioner Fischer Boel's website

Commissioner Fischer Boel: Speeches and blog entries

Blog entry: "Getting down to business in Beijing" (26/05/2009)

"Working the land, working with the land" (Launch of EU-Chinese Joint Agri-Environmental Project China, Beijing, 21/05/2009)

"The search for green productivity" (Lecture at China Agricultural University, Beijing, 21/05/2009)

Opening address (Opening ceremony of the 10th SIAL Food and Beverage trade show China , Shanghai, 19/05/2009)

Blog entry: "From Salzburg to Shanghai" (15/05/2009)

"The countdown to Copenhagen: climate change, agriculture and global food security" (Seminar organised by the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council Salzburg, 11/05/2009)

Blog entry: "Logomania: an organic solution" (04/05/2009)

"The development of Polish and European agriculture since 2004" (Conference 'Polish Rural Areas and Agriculture - Five Years since Poland's Accession to the European Union', Warsaw, 29/04/2009)

Blog entry: "Food prices: What goes up must come down" (17/04/2009)

"Five years of achievement: developments in the CAP since 2004" (Session of Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament, Brussels, 31/03/2009)



What's new on the Commission's "Agriculture and Rural Development" website?

"April update on the price developments on international agricultural
commodities markets" [pdf]

"Agriculture in the European Union - Statistical and economic information 2008"

"Report on the coexistence of genetically modified crops with conventional and organic farming": Text [pdf] / Annex [pdf] / More info

"Adapting to climate change: the challenge for European agriculture and rural areas": Text [pdf] / Annex [pdf] / More info


EU agricultural product quality policy: PDO, PGI or TSG

Registration as PDO, PGI or TSG

Applications for registration:

'Crudo di Cuneo': PDO (OJ C 112 - 16/05/2009, p. 12)

'Marrone di Caprese Michelangelo': PDO (OJ C 112 - 16/05/2009, p. 17)

'Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio': PDO (OJ C 111 - 15/05/2009, p. 21)

'Bremer Klaben': PGI (OJ C 110 - 14/05/2009, p. 7)

'Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano': PDO (OJ C 108 - 12/05/2009, p. 15)

'Cornish Sardines': PGI (OJ C 108 - 12/05/2009, p. 11)

'Marrone di Combai': PGI (OJ C 107 - 09/05/2009, p. 23)

'Skilandis': TSG (OJ C 106 - 08/05/2009, p. 27)

'Idrijski žlikrofi': TSG (OJ C 104 - 06/05/2009, p. 11)

'Aglio Bianco Polesano': PDO (OJ C 104 - 06/05/2009, p. 16)

'Wiśnia nadwiślanka': PDO (OJ C 104 - 05/05/2009, p. 21)

'Redykołka': PGI (OJ C 103 - 09/05/2009, p. 21)

'Truskawka kaszubska' or 'kaszëbskô malëna': PGI (OJ C 89 - 18/04/2009, p. 4)

'Marroni del Monfenera': PGI (OJ C 89 - 18/04/2009, p. 9)

'Insalata di Lusia': PGI (OJ C 89 - 18/04/2009, p. 13)

'Riso del Delta del Po': PGI (OJ C 75 - 31/03/2009, p. 37)

'Sobao Pasiego': PGI (OJ C 75 - 31/03/2009, p. 41)

'Limone Interdonato Messina': PGI (OJ C 74 - 28/03/2009, p. 70)

'Černá Hora': PGI (OJ C 73 - 27/03/2009, p. 45)

'Grelos de Galicia': PGI (OJ C 72 - 26/03/2009, p. 58)

'Moutarde de Bourgogne': PGI (OJ C 72 - 26/03/2009, p. 62)

'Štajersko prekmursko bučno olje': PGI (OJ C 72 - 26/03/2009, p. 67)

'Amarene Brusche di Modena': PGI (OJ C 71 - 25/03/2009, p. 25)

'Makói vöröshagyma' or 'Makói hagyma': PGI (OJ C 70 - 24/03/2009, p. 27)

Applications to amend a specification:

'Parmigiano Reggiano': PDO (OJ C 87 - 16/04/2009, p. 14)

'Bitto': PDO (OJ C 87 - 16/04/2009, p. 20)

'Picodon de l'Ardèche' ou 'Picodon de la Drôme': PGI (OJ C 74 - 28/03/2009, p. 74)

'Prosciutto di Norcia': PGI (OJ C 71 - 25/03/2009, p. 21)

'La Bella della Daunia': PDO (OJ C 71 - 25/03/2009, p. 28)


'Mariánskolázeňské oplatky': PGI (OJ L 125 - 21/05/2009, p.56)

'Petit Épeautre de Haute Provence': PGI (OJ L 125 - 21/05/2009, p.58)

'Kiwi de l'Adour': PGI (OJ L 125 - 21/05/2009, p.60)

'Znojemské pivo': PGI (OJ L 112 - 06/05/2009, p.5)

'Lapin Poron liha': PDO (OJ L 112 - 06/05/2009, p.3)

'Andruty kaliskie': PGI (OJ L 102 - 22/04/2009, p.3)

'Wielkopolski ser smażony': PGI, 'Budapesti téliszalámi': PGI (OJ L 101 - 21/04/2009, p. 14)

'Melva de Andalucía': PGI, 'Caballa de Andalucía': PGI, 'Ovos Moles de Aveiro': PGI, 'Castagna di Vallerano': PDO (OJ L 94 - 08/04/2009, p. 15)

Amendment of specifications:

'Kölsch': PGI (OJ L 127 - 26/05/2009, p. 3)

'Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage': PDO (OJ L 118 - 13/05/2009, p. 67)

'Jamón de Teruel': PDO (OJ L 101 - 21/04/2009, p. 16)


Calls for tender

Calls for tender

Contract notices are available in all official EU languages.

Important notice: This selection is not exhaustive. For a complete list of current calls for tenders please log on to Tenders electronic daily.

"'Ex post' evaluation of Leader+": Contract notice and tender documents [Deadline for submission: 14/08/2009]

"Evaluation of direct aid in the beef and veal sector": Contract notice and tender documents [Deadline for submission: 07/08/2009]

"Marketing standards in the fruit and vegetable sector": Contract notice and tender documents [Deadline for submission: 21/08/2009]

"Synthesis of Sapard 'ex post' evaluations": Contract notice and tender documents [Deadline for submission: 23/06/2009]