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Farm to Fork Strategy: work continues for SMEs

21 May 2020
by smeunited -- last modified 21 May 2020

In a first reaction to the Farm to Fork Strategy, SMEunited welcomes the comprehensive food-chain approach that acknowledges the role of the various food chain actors in delivering the change towards more sustainable food systems.


However, during the further elaboration of the individual actions, the Commission needs to facilitate a transition that creates a real opportunity and less burden for SMEs operating in the food supply chain.

SMEunited welcomes the increase of the policy focus on small and medium sized food manufacturers and retailers. Actions need to keep the right balance between stimulating sustainability and having unnecessary financial and administrative repercussions on SMEs. We support the Commission to foresee a continuous impact assessment, as the costs and complexity of rethinking food processing, packaging, labelling or marketing practices can be higher for small businesses. The ways of minimising these costs need to be a priority for all actions.

We welcome the fact that the Commission is taking steps to promote and scale-up the implementation of sustainable business practices by small food business operators. Nevertheless, tailored solutions should be developed and disseminated in close cooperation with SME organisations and be made affordable and easy-to-use for SMEs. Resources must be allocated to develop digital and green skills and tackle skilled labour shortages.

We support the Commission's efforts to address food waste and loss reduction, whilst express our concern about setting EU mandatory targets without ensuring coherent measurement and reporting methods in Member States and encouraging better food chain cooperation. We consider the recommendations of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste a common ground for moving forward.

We welcome that the Commission reflects on the experiences and lessons to be drawn from the recent crisis and strives for a better coordination at European level. While SMEs in the food sector have been showing their resilience throughout the coronavirus pandemic, technical and financial assistance is required to make them better equipped against future risks and challenges.

SMEunited, formally known as UEAPME, is the association of crafts and SMEs in Europe with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries. SMEunited is a recognised employers' organisation and European Social Partner and acts on behalf of crafts and SMEs in the European Social Dialogue and in discussions with the EU institutions.

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