5 years ago



consumption. Everywhere,

consumption. Everywhere, initiatives have been taken in order to promote organic baskets and farm markets. And this wave eventually reached the European Authorities. In April 2012, indeed, a conference on local agriculture and the short supply chains for food was organized in Brussels. At this occasion, Dacian Ciolos, a member of the European Commission responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development, pointed out the importance of the short supply chains as an answer to the increasing demand for local products. According to the Eurobarometer, indeed, one in two consumers regret that local products are hard to find and difficult to distinguish from other products. Therefore, the future CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) has to integrate this new dimension. Some measures have, thus, been proposed in the CAP reform. According to Dacian Ciolos, the issues to solve are: 1. The clear identification of local supply chains in order to ensure credibility and visibility; 2. The assurance of hygiene and food safety without discouraging the creation of small production units; 3. The restoration of the link between consumers in towns and cities and production centers nearby by supporting the initiatives of farmers’ markets; 4. The encouragement for farmers to invest. In his speech during this Conference on local agriculture and short food supply chains, Mr. Ciolos also stated: “It is obvious that short supply food has too long been overlooked (…) and, despite the lack of recognition and support, available data show that 15 % of EU farms sell more than half of their produce locally”. This statement from the European Commissioner for Agriculture clearly indicates that the potential market of short supply chains on the European Continent is very huge, even though some voices claim that the market share is much less important (only 2 to 3 %) and that “locavores” are romantics and nostalgics of the good old times. Why is this topic so trendy? Is this a hype that will soon be forgotten? Or is it really a new attitude that will persist? These are very complex questions and it is not the aim of this symposium to give an answer to them. Let us limit ourselves by mentioning that several factors will help to maintain this trend, such as the willingness to promote sustainable production systems, which are not only environmentally friendly but also in agreement with the financial needs of the producers. Nutritional and organoleptic concerns will also be present because lots of consumers do believe that such products are better for their health and tastier. On the other hand, one can sometimes hear that, besides the advantages, there are also some specific risks linked to local food and short supply chains. The aim of this symposium is thus to inform risk managers and the general public in the most complete and neutral way on the state of the art. 10

Yet, local food and short supply chains need to be clearly defined. We will immediately start with this difficult task during the first session of this symposium. Also information will be given during this session on the policies that are adopted by our Federal and Regional Authorities and we will also hear what happens with our close neighbors. Lunch time will allow us to shift from theory to practice as you will be invited to taste some local specialities and kitchen products and to interact with other participants at the symposium... With the second session, after lunch, we will be at the core of the theme of this symposium and we will try to get more information on advantages and constraints offered by the short supply chains as far as food safety is concerned. We’ll also have the opportunity to get informed on the efforts spent in order to train the local producers in an effective way. Finally, during the third session, more insight will be given in the consumers’ behavior and on his motivating to be attracted to this new production and consumption approach. Speakers will also try to discuss how far the producers can meet the consumers’ requirements. Finally, the symposium will end by drawing some general conclusions and proposing some recommendations. I wish you all an enriching symposium, tasty discoveries and fruitful discussions with all the invited stakeholders. 11

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