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Agricultural policies: the future of European sugar

The study of DG Agri will be led by the Italian Areté

The study of the European Commission's Agriculture Directorate General (DG Agri) on the future of the sugar supply chain in Europe will be carried out by Areté, a Bolognese company specialized in agrifood that has an area dedicated to the evaluation of sector policies. The ambitious goal is to analyze the capacity and adaptation strategies implemented at all levels of the supply chain to respond to the profound changes dictated by the "post quota" transition and by changing market and production conditions in the EU and in third countries. Areté fielded a team of over thirty experts for the project, half of whom are located in the main EU countries touched by the study, as well as in the UK, the United States and Brazil. A year of work that involves some of the leading experts in the sector between policies, markets, prices and corporate strategies.

How the supply chain has readjusted to the changed political context; where and how production has moved, if and how the activities have been relocated or reconverted and the companies concentrated; how resilient the whole system has proved and may still be in the face of future challenges, dictated by the international context of the sugar market. These are some of the questions that the study will answer. A supply chain, that of sugar, deeply shaken throughout Europe by the 2005 reform and by the subsequent abolition of quotas in 2017. In Italy, in the same years, the number of sugar factories decreased from nineteen to two, while production collapsed from one and a half million tons from the 2004/05 campaign to 200 thousand today. In Europe, production held up, but at the cost of a profound restructuring that involved the closure of as many as 85 plants, with the number of sugar refineries in operation dropped from 189 in 2005 to 104 today. The impact on employment is also drastic (-42%, with about 22 thousand units lost), and on the number of beet growers, which in the EU had halved compared to the pre-reform period in 2013, going from about 300,000 to about 150,000.

"Europe and many non-EU countries have the obligation to submit policy measures to preventive analysis and then periodically check, to evaluate their effectiveness and efficiency and ensure that they are achieving the desired objectives, or modify them where necessary", he explains Enrica Gentile, CEO of Areté and head of the policy evaluation unit. "Areté collaborates extensively with European institutions and various non-EU countries, as well as with many important companies in the sector in Italy and abroad, but with Italian institutions, until now , it has been difficult. On the other hand, we are confident that at a time when policy-makers will have to make important choices on how to allocate resources (including European ones) and support resilience and relaunch of the sector, the culture of analysis and external evaluation will become a consolidated tool also in Italy".

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EFA News - European Food Agency