The announcement came during the release of a €133 million ($140m) marketing budget for EU agri-food producers for 2017, up from €111m ($117m) in 2016. Moreover, this budget is projected to rise annually to €200m ($211m) by 2019. For 2017, €12.6m ($13.3m) has been earmarked to promote pigmeat and dairy products and $4m ($4.2m) for beef.
Programmes funded next year – for which the Commission will launch a call for applications in January (2017) – will cover 32 countries, up from 23 in 2016, targeting the USA, China, Chile, south-east Asia, Canada, Mexico, Africa and the Middle East. Priority is given to programmes targeting non-EU countries, focusing on markets with the highest growth potential. To qualify for a “simple” (one or more producer organisations – POs – from the same member state) or “multi” programmes (several POs from several member states and EU organisations), the signature ‘Enjoy! It’s from Europe’ must be put on the goods, which can now include processed products.
The Commission, which already operates a separate ‘Taste of Europe’ promotion campaign, wants to support sectors experiencing difficult market situations. Notably, a ‘roadmap’ released last month (October) by the EU Sheep Meat Forum, set up in November 2015, emphasised a 40% decline in lamb consumption in the last 15 years.
Organisations that can apply will see their campaigns, normally lasting three years, financed 70% to 85% (for sectors suffering ‘serious market disturbance’) by the Commission.
“We welcome the new promotion policy and the gradual increased funding foreseen,” said EU farm body Copa-Cogeca secretary general Pekka Pesonen.
“It is key to help the EU diversify into new markets, enhance competitiveness and raise awareness of high-quality European products,” he told GlobalMeatNews.
“Already, we have seen new demands for our produce from importers as a result of our last missions [trade promotion and fact finding visits] to Mexico, Columbia, China and Japan and we expect further moves here. Missions to China and Hong Kong were quite effective for the livestock sector, in particular for beef.”
Pesonen also noted the Commission’s 4 November statement that meat exports to China are expected to increase, following the agreement between EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan and Hong Kong Secretary for food & health Gregory Ko to relax Hong Kong’s certification requirements.
Jean-Luc Mériaux, the European Livestock and Meat Trading Union (UECBV) secretary general, agreed, telling GlobalMeatNews: “EU meat consumption is vital for the EU livestock chain".
“The EU domestic market is the first market for that chain, so this announcement is very welcome and fully in line with the EU sheep meat reflection group’s recommendations,” he said, which include creating a new communication and promotion programme aimed at “positioning EU lamb as the automatic choice among EU consumers”.