Can the Post Cotonou Negotiations Provide the Context for a Rethink of the EU’s EPA Policy?

Summary

While the debate in East Africa on the EAC-EU EPA continues, with the UNECA warning of the dangers posed by the agreement to the structural economic transformation of East Africa, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the EPAs as ‘not right’ and possible in need of re-negotiation. A key issue will be laying the basis for EU trade agreements to contribute to the structural economic transformation of African agro-food sectors. This issue needs to be taken up in the post-Cotonou negotiations in order to:

  1. enshrine an EU commitment to the flexible and responsible implementation of EPA commitments in legally binding agreements;
  2. address the systematic bias against smallholder producers and small scale exporters which exists in design and implementation EU food safety and SPS control systems;
  3. extend the current EU regulatory initiative son UTPs to ACP-EU supply chains;
  4. revise the design of loan and investment support instruments to effectively meet the needs of local agricultural producers and agro-processing companies.

Read more “Can the Post Cotonou Negotiations Provide the Context for a Rethink of the EU’s EPA Policy?”

Proposed EC Regulatory Initiative on UTPs Needs to be Extended to ACP-EU Supply Chains

Summary

The EC is currently undertaking consultations on new proposals to reduce unfair trading practices (UTPs), to which farmers are seen as being particularly vulnerable. UTPs are seen as stifling innovation and undermining on-farm investment through reducing the commercial viability of farming activities. The envisaged regulations aim to ensure a fairer distribution of value along agricultural supply chains, and increase both farm incomes and on-farm investment.

There is an urgent need to extend EU regulations on UTPs to ACP-EU supply chains since in some major sectors abuses of the weak market position of smallholder producers are endemic. Investments in poverty focused export orientated smallholder production will be undermined unless issues of UTPs along ACP-EU supply chains are addressed. Read more “Proposed EC Regulatory Initiative on UTPs Needs to be Extended to ACP-EU Supply Chains”

EU plans to invest in agriculture in Africa to curb migration pressured need to address UTPs in Africa-EU agro-food sector supply chains

Summary

EU Agricultural Commissioner Hogan has called for investment to be mobilised in sustainable agro-food sector development in Africa to combat migration pressures. While an EU action plan is under development in this area, calls have been made for the EU to extend its planned regulatory initiative on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) to Africa-EU supply chains. Current widespread abusive practices by EU importers fall particularly heavily on smallholder farmers. Given its economic significance, this is an issue which the ACP Group could usefully take up in its post-Cotonou negotiations with the EU as part of the wider dialogue with the EU on migration issues. Read more “EU plans to invest in agriculture in Africa to curb migration pressured need to address UTPs in Africa-EU agro-food sector supply chains”

Role of UK Groceries Code Adjudicator could be extended

Summary

The UK GCA performance has been praised for gradually changing supermarket practices, with a debate now underway on whether the scope of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) should be extended. Traidcraft has called for such an extension to address abuses which take place elsewhere in grocery supply chains served by developing country suppliers, who currently have no means of seeking redress. Strengthening the code to effectively cover all routes to market used by developing country suppliers is one important dimension of the current GCA review. A further important dimension is the important role which such regulatory initiatives can play in changing supermarket sourcing practices. This is an important issue given the growing role of foreign owned supermarkets across the ACP and the difficulties this poses for local agricultural producers in entering this expanding retail market component. Read more “Role of UK Groceries Code Adjudicator could be extended”

Agriculture to be a Focus of the Renewed Africa-EU Partnership

Summary
Supporting African agro-food sector development given its employment, food security and rural development effects is nominally a focus of the proposed renewed Africa-EU partnership. However differences of opinion over what constitutes an appropriate ‘regulatory and policy framework’ for African agro-food sector development, alongside unacknowledged tensions between EU agro-food sector export objectives and African agro-food sector development aspirations, could pose serious challenges for a renewed Africa-EU partnership in this area.  Read more “Agriculture to be a Focus of the Renewed Africa-EU Partnership”

Need to restore differentiation in trade rules in support of structural transformation in Africa

Summary
Trade Minister Davies reflections on South Africa’s experience of trade liberalisation, which, with hindsight it is held, moved too rapidly for the countries capacity to adjust, potentially holds important lessons for ACP countries as they move towards the implementation of the EPAs concluded with the EU. It suggests ACP governments need to work together to ensure EPAs are interpreted and applied in a flexible and differentiated fashion, which places centre stage the structural economic transformation needs of ACP countries. This will need to be a central component of the forthcoming ACP-EU post-Cotonou negotiations, as well as on-going ACP Ministerial discussion on EPA implementation. Read more “Need to restore differentiation in trade rules in support of structural transformation in Africa”

The ACP and the increasing importance of exports to Polish poultry sector growth

Summary
Sub-Saharan African markets are of growing importance to the Polish poultry sector. The granting of a health certificate for exports to South Africa will see this importance increase. While EU governments in ‘new’ member states commonly complain they gain little from the relationship with the ACP, the strong expansion of their agro-food exports to ACP countries belies this compliant. Without ACP markets, Polish poultry sector growth would be slower. Read more “The ACP and the increasing importance of exports to Polish poultry sector growth”

EU Task Force calls for more action to strength the position of farmers in supply chains

Summary
The EU continues to seek ways of improving the functioning of agricultural supply chains, so the agricultural base in the EU is not undermined by unequal power relationships within supply chains. In November 2017 an especially convened Agricultural Markets Task Force called for: new EU rules and enforcement mechanisms to address unfair trading practices; mandatory price reporting to improve market transparency and increased support to EU farmers to improve their position within individual supply chains.

Given the role which powerful multinationals play in global trade and the unequal power relationships this gives rise to across ACP-EU agricultural supply chains, there is a strong case for extending EU policy initiatives to strengthen the position of agricultural producers within individual supply chains to ACP-EU agro-food sector trade relations. Read more “EU Task Force calls for more action to strength the position of farmers in supply chains”

Implications of the EC orientation for Post Cotonou negotiations for ACP agro-food sectors

 

Summary
The EC consensus on development document recognizes the role of agricultures in eradicating poverty and the importance of smallholder farmers within agriculture in developing countries. It commits the EU to developing value chains which benefit the poor. The EC staff working document in contrast clearly articulates EU security, migration and economic preoccupations in redefining the EU’s relationship with ACP countries. The EC communication on a renewed EU-ACP partnership for its part recognizes the need for responsible investment in agro-food sector development in Africa.
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Arla’s Senegalese milk powder repackaging plant begins operations

Summary

The opening of Arla’s repackaging plant in Senegal is expanding the companies milk powder exports to West Africa.  Arla already enjoys expanding sales of UHT milk and is planning to export branded butter and cheese to Senegal. There are concerns this could undermine the development of local milk supply chains, in contrast to Arla’s commitments to avoiding harm to local farmers. Arla’s commitment to developing milk supplies in Nigeria needs to be extended to Senegal, in the context of an initiative to launch a locally applicable Code of Conduct for Responsible Corporate Trade and Investment in African Dairy Sector Development. Read more “Arla’s Senegalese milk powder repackaging plant begins operations”