Image - The contribution of producer organisations to an effective agri-food supply chain

The European Commission has an interest in improving the functioning of the food supply chain in the European Union, not least by enhancing farmers’ position within the chain. In this context the Commission established an Agricultural Markets Task Force (AMTF) in 2016 that made in particular three recommendations, namely to

  • address unfair trading practices
  • increase market transparency
  • improve cooperation among farmers

The Commission has proposed legislation to ban unfair trading practices in the food supply chain, and it is currently working on measures to improve market transparency. The issue of cooperation among farmers has already been addressed by the European legislator with the “Omnibus regulation” that entered into force at the beginning of 2018 and that contains a derogation from competition rules for certain activities for producer organisations (POs) and associations of producer organisations (APOs) in all agricultural sectors.

Related information:

These developments are indicative of the increasing interest in the self-organisation of farmers, in particular in POs and APOs as well as in their recognition and function, and in the benefits they may provide for farmers and the food supply chain at large. In this context, the agri-food sector, in particular farmers, expressed a need for a discussion of these details. Moreover, a report prepared for the European Commission’s department for competition that also deals with POs and the application of the competition rules in the agricultural sector has been published recently, and the European Parliament had asked the European Commission’s department for agriculture and rural development to conduct a study on POs, which will be finalised early 2019.

Against this background, and as a follow-up to the “Conference on the role of interbranch organisations in the food supply chain”, the department for agriculture and rural development  organised this conference on “The contribution of producer organisations to an efficient agri-food supply chain” with around 200 invited participants – technical experts, stakeholders and representatives of national administrations.

Conference outline

During the morning session we will explore how POs can bring benefits to their members, while during the afternoon session we will explore the conditions under which doing business with POs can also be beneficial for downstream operators in the food supply chain.

Speakers from academia, from public authorities, and from the food supply chain will share their knowledge and present real-life examples from various sectors.  Those will feed into the discussion with the participants at the end of each session,  gathering  their insights and experiences.

Practical information

Friday 21 September 2018, 9.00 - 16.30 (CEST)
Albert Borschette Conference Centre
Rue Froissart 36
1040 Brussels

Who should attend
Invitation only (Live streaming details to be confirmed)


  • 09.00 - 09.20 (Europe/Brussels)

    Registration of participants

  • 09.20 - 09.35

    Introduction, Jens Schaps, Department for Agriculture and Rural Development (t.b.c.)

  • 09.35 - 09.45

    Exploring the topic together, Mark Cropper, Department for Agriculture and Rural Development

  • 09.45 - 12.00

    Morning session: Producer organisations – what's in it for farmers?

    Facilitator: Mark Cropper

    09:45-10:15  Producer organisations in the fruit & vegetables sector, Angelo Zago, University of Verona, Italy

    10:15-10:45  Producer organisations in the meat sector, Sabine Duvaleix-Trèguer, French National Institute for Agricultural Research

    10:45-11:05  Coffee break

    11:05-11:35  Producer organisations in Poland, Jerzy Wierzbicki, Polish Beef Association

    11:35-12:00  Discussion

  • 12.00 - 13.30

    Sandwich lunch and breakout groups

  • 13.30 - 15.25

    Afternoon session: Producer organisations – what's in it for downstream operators?

    13:30-14:00  How can POs be governed to benefit their members and strengthen the food supply chain? Jos Bijman, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands

    14:00-14:30  Business relationships between POs and the food processing industry, N.N.

    14:30-15:00  Business relationships between POs and the retail industry, Florin Capatana, Carrefour Romania

    15:00-15:25 Discussion

  • 15.25 - 15.55

    Coffee break and breakout groups

  • 15.55 - 16.20

    Take-home messages from the breakout groups

  • 16.20 - 16.30

    Conclusions, Bruno Buffaria, Department for Agriculture and Rural Development