Agricultural interbranch organisations (IBOs) bring together various operators active in the food supply chain, from farmers and manufacturers to supermarkets, with the aim of improving communication between the various players in the food supply chain and strengthening their collective hand in discussions and negotiations with public authorities. A new study conducted on behalf of the European Commission shows that while IBOs are not an established part of the supply chain in every EU country, their effectiveness in the countries where they exist might help boost their popularity elsewhere.
IBOs are not obligatory under EU rules and so far only eight EU countries have officially recognised interbranch organisations (France, Greece, Spain, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania). But their importance and effectiveness is clearly growing; in 1990 there were just 56 IBOs but by 2016 this figure had risen to 119.
The study suggests that this increase is at least partially due to evidence that IBOs can concretely help in ensuring coherence and cooperation throughout the food supply chain in a wide range of areas, from improving knowledge and transparency of production and markets to exploring potential new markets and improving marketing.
Not all IBOs are structured or work in the same manner – if they exist at all – and the study also looks at why no interbranch organisations have yet been created in some EU countries. The study analyses the different approaches adopted at national level and assesses how good these different approaches are at helping IBOs work efficiently and effectively within the food chain.