One outcome of the 1992 Rio Earth summit was a closer dialogue between Europe and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The agrifood sector is an important plank for collaboration between the two regions, with the EU constituting a significant market for Latin American food products. A new networking platform, ALCUEFOOD, has been set up between four Member States and four Latin American countries from the Mercosur (Southern Cone Common Market) region. By promoting cooperation in science and technology for agriculture and food, it will help to spread knowledge about good practice and environmental protection and to reinforce the already strong trade links.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR COOPERATION
The EU is already the second largest trading partner for Latin America. The ALCUE-FOOD action will contribute to strengthening the trade in the food sector by promoting a total food chain approach that will ensure that food exports from Latin America comply fully with European safety and quality regulations. The aim is to enable products to be traced back 'from European fork to Latin American farm' by developing EU-LAC partnerships in food quality and safety.
In this three-year action, the network will share information on regulations and safety issues, and act as a platform for a dialogue between all the stakeholders-policy-makers, producers, food processors, regulators and consumer organisations. It will encourage the competitiveness of LAC countries by giving them real advantages on the global market. It will also enable them to keep up with developments in consumer requirements for food safety, high-quality products and the latest risk-assessment procedures. The other important strand is scientific and technical cooperation on all aspects relevant to agribusiness.
Research results from European Framework Programmes will be shared with Latin American partners. Cooperation could cover topics connected with developing or improving the safety of the food and feed production chains. It will also look for novel functional ingredients that could be produced in LAC countries, and find niche markets in Europe. It will promote clear food labelling for the fork-to-farm initiative and quality management tools to estimate food safety and assure its quality. The environmental impact of agricultural practices and food processing will be also emphasised. Partners will work together to propose new joint R&D projects after analysis of social demands and the needs of the prodution sectors.
Effective communication is essential to the success of ALCUE-FOOD, realised through an innovative global information system. A dedicated website contains data on food quality and safety issues, existing and evolving food standards, research results and market intelligence. It also forms the platform for dialogue between expert groups and organisations in the agrichain, and provides news about technology transfer opportunities.
Workshops and seminars in both regions will provide a face-to-face transfer of results, information and methods to national and regional food and agriculture associations. The end results of all this communication will be made available to all LAC countries. Through this exchange of information, LAC countries will gain a deeper understanding of the requirements of EU research programmes and of the European food market. ALCUE-FOOD will further encourage the flow of investment between the regions and help the EU to get more value from its research.
List of Partners
- Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (France)
- Instituto Nacional de Investigacion y Tecnologia Agraria y Alimentaria (Spain)
- Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Pescas (Portugal)
- Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica (Portugal)
- Secretariat for Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (Argentina)
- Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria (Argentina)
- Universiteit Gent (Belgium)
- Coordinadora de las Industrias de Productos Alimenticios (Argentina)
- Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria - Centro Nacional de Pesquisa de Tecnologia Agroindustrial de Alimentos (Brazil)
- Camara de Comercio França-Brasil (Brazil)
- Fundacion Chile (Chile)
- Consumers International. Regional Office for Latin America and Caribbean (Colombia)
- Asociacion de las Universidades del Grupo de Montevideo (Uruguay)
- Full title:
- From European fork to Latin American farm: an innovative networking platform for EU-LAC partnerships in food quality and safety R&D
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Gérard Chuzel,
- EC Scientific Officer:
- Elisabetta Balzi,
- EU contribution:
- € 737,000
- Specific Support Action