Chocolate, biscuits & confectionery of Europe

Oct 14,2011  -  CAOBISCO welcomes abolition of sugar quota, but regrets lack of ambition in in the overall CAP reform proposals

Brussels – 14/10/11 – The abolition of the sugar quota as of 2015, proposed today by the Commission, is a welcoming sign in times of continuing scarcity and commodity price hikes, says Caobisco, the Association of the Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of the EU. The measure will enable European agricultural production to become more efficient and demand-driven. Trade policy should now be brought in line to ensure that production fluctuations can be evened out by imports and security of supply is guaranteed.

Caobisco is concerned that the Commission proposals do not adequately address the need for increased sustainable production. More emphasis is needed on research, development and innovation, in partnership with the private sector, to obtain higher yields and quality while reducing the burden on the EU’s precarious natural resources. A thorough restructuring of the sector is needed in order to rejuvenate and create economies and ecologies of scale, especially in underperforming parts of Europe. The top-up for young farmers in Pillar 1 goes in the right direction, but is not sufficient in itself. Continuous professionalization of the sector must be encouraged through training and knowledge transfer, farm advisory services offering holistic advice (management/environment/technology…) improved provision of market and production information and the promotion of risk management tools such as well-functioning futures markets. While some of these measures are covered by the rural development proposals, Caobisco feels that as a key common objective for all Member States, the Commission must take the lead rather than risk uneven implementation by Member States.

Caobisco is also worried about the broadening of the market disturbance measures. These measures should be triggered and released in a transparent and predictable way according to market signals, not by political considerations. The effectiveness and fairness of these ‘safety nets’ will depend on implementation.

Finally, Caobisco stresses that agricultural policy needs to be developed in accordance with the whole food supply chain interests. The EU needs a coherent food and farming policy. Caobisco members procure 30% of all European sugar and are major users of dairy and cereals. The food industry in general buys 70% of EU raw materials.

We are therefore ardent supporters of a strong and competitive EU agricultural sector. Similarly, a thriving agricultural sector benefits from a competitive food industry. The CAP reform should take more into consideration the competitiveness of our industry. Agricultural production is part of the food system and not a stand-alone objective. Only demand-driven production, tailored to the needs of customers and consumers, can ensure the long-term competitiveness of EU agriculture.

For further information please contact Muriel Korter, Economic Affairs Director GSM +32 498 708 158 / Tel: +32 2 539 1800