EU looks to reconnect farmers with consumers

Posted by Isobel Drake on 29th May 2009

The European Union is looking into possible ways to improve communication about the qualities of agricultural products and reconnect farmers with consumers.

The region is also trying to enhance food quality labelling schemes to make it easier for people to use and understand.

“The EU’s agri-food sector has a well-deserved reputation for high quality thanks to decades, even centuries, of commitment to excellence,” said Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. “Our farmers have to build on this reputation to sustain their competitiveness. They need to communicate better with consumers about the qualities of their products. The EU is willing to help in this effort. We have a golden opportunity to bring more coherence and simplicity to our various labelling and certification schemes.”

The Commission is planning to extend labelling that identifies the place where agricultural product was farmed (country of origin labelling), and create more effective labelling schemes for products – particularly organic (international marketing standards are expected to be developed). They are also hoping to improve the protection of geographical indications such as Champagne, which has already been felt in Australia with a phasing out of “Australian” Champagne, Port and Sherry. Some 3000 names in wines, spirits and agricultural products and foodstuffs have been registered, the Commission advised.