Maintaining financial support under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), incentivising exports through monetary support schemes and enhancing promotional activity will underpin the plan, set up to protect farmers from volatile market forces.
Copa-Cogeca launched its beef action plan on Monday 6 November at a Brussels event attended by a string of senior agricultural diplomats, including European commissioner for agriculture and rural development Phil Hogan.
Jean-Pierre Fleury, chairman of Copa-Cogeca’s Beef Working Party, said the action plan was launched to protect the industry from growing pressures in the market. These include price pressure further up the supply chain and fears that cheap beef imports from South America will price domestic farmers out of the market.
Beef production ‘fragile’
“It is because of these challenges that we have launched a new action plan to support our high standard beef sector,” said Fleury.
“The plan includes maintaining specific support under the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] for the sector in order to keep this fragile production sector viable. It would be disastrous for these rural areas if our specialist beef farms disappeared from these regions.”
The action plan also set out ideas to support beef exporters by using credit schemes, insurance and monetary guarantees to cover some of risks associated with entering new markets.
Poland plans beef sales push
Fleury also called for better measures to promote beef from specialised cattle herds; development of tools to manage CAP-associated risks; plans to encourage farmers to join operative organisations; and funds to drive on-farm innovation to meet sustainability targets.
Speaking at the event, Hogan said: “I firmly believe that a strong, modern and well-funded CAP is the best bet to deliver success. The full and vocal support of Copa-Cogeca, and all the farmers you represent, is required to build the political support necessary to maintain a strong, modern CAP which continues to deliver for our farmers and our citizens.”
Stéphane Travert, French Minister of Agriculture and Food, added: “The beef sector is a major economic sector for Europe for many regions, also for the services that it provides in terms of managing the territories and protecting the environment. It’s essential to maintain it to keep our rural areas alive.”
Polish Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Krzysztof Jurgiel said the country wanted to increase international beef sales: “For Polish beef producers, a big challenge is to continue increasing our exports. We want to protect and defend our high European standards of beef production. Our farmers produce their beef with great care for their animals and for the environment, and respect high-welfare standards.”