Specific Challenge:

In the context of a greater market-orientation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), one of the specific post 2020 CAP objectives is to rebalance the farmers' position in the food chain[1]. The food supply chain is vulnerable to unfocused and even unfair trading due to strong imbalances between small and large operators: often farmers and small operators in the food supply chain have hardly any information or connection with the consumer to improve their offer and adapt it to the demand. A knowledge-based approach will strengthen the sector's market orientation and enhance its competitiveness, incentivising organisational innovation along the supply chain, triggered by new emerging technologies and evolving consumer demand[2]. Zooming in on the connections between producers and consumers therefore has the potential to improve farmers' position in the value chain, as it will strengthen capacity-building. Innovative supply chains and novel food systems may tackle the downward pressure on farm gate prices and at the same time make them more sustainable, e.g. by reducing CO2 emissions. Focus on costs and margins is needed: even in innovative chains, improvement of primary producers' incomes should not be taken for granted: cases illustrate that costs attributed to the intermediaries in short supply chains may rise from 20 up until 50%. Although smaller tenders fit for small-scale producers are vital to local and fresher food in public offices, schools and hospitals, the experience needed to enable adequate public procurement approaches is generally lacking[3]. Proposals have ample opportunity to build on sharing of good practices developed to overcome all these barriers.