AREPO took note of the report presented by the European Commission to the Council and to the Parliament exploring the case for a local farming and direct sales labelling scheme. AREPO is grateful to the European Commission to have been included in the different stages of the work on the Quality Package, since 2010, and specifically on local farming and direct sales since 2012. In this period, AREPO had also the possibility to work with MEPs participating to COM AGRI in the European Parliament.
The creation of the “optional quality term” within the Quality Package opened the way for a new tool for developing these marketing methods that AREPO member regions seek to improve in order to support their farmers.
In 2011, AREPO conducted a survey within its member regions in order to define its priorities.
The first priority was to sustain the creation of an optional quality term without logo or certification, to avoid competition with the official EU quality systems.
In order to guarantee the credibility of this optional term, AREPO would like that fresh and processed products come exclusively from the farms; in the case of processed products, the main raw material should come from the farm. In addition, the farm should be classified as an agricultural enterprise, governed by an active farmer. It is very important to provide the possibility to use collective infrastructures outside the farm both for regulatory reasons (e.g. slaughterhouse) and technical reasons (e.g. mill). In this case, it is vital to guarantee the product’s traceability, since the final label should compulsory indicate the name and address of the producer or the farm. The criteria related to farm size or volume of production cannot be defined at the European level, because of the different realities existing in the 28 EU countries. Finally, the system should not be limited to the direct sales, since it is not in this context that the optional quality term represents the most interesting solution.
At this point of the process, AREPO notes that the report’s conclusions, although very general, are consistent with its position, defended since 2011.