A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

What does the future hold for European food aid?

November 5, 2012

A recent European Commission regulation seeking a far-reaching reform of the EU Food Distribution Program for the Most Deprived Persons (PEAD) as well as the EU social cohesion policy have revived the concerns of European charitable organizations and food banks.

In April 2011, the European Court of Justice ruled that food purchased on trading markets with EU subsidies and then redistributed to NGOs was illegal. In question are the PEAD internal bylaws stating that such supply could only come from EU surpluses and stocks. As a result, the European Commission announced that food aid would be decreased fourfold, thus dropping to €113 million from €500 million1.

In November 2011, a last-minute compromise was found, temporarily maintaining the program that nevertheless had to be terminated in 2014. To replace the PEAD, the Commission then proposed the creation of a €2.8 billion (current prices) Fund for European Aid for the Most Deprived (FEAD) for the 2014-2010 years, that is to say €400 million annually, to which a 15 percent national contribution would be added. This fund would depend on European social policies, whereas the PEAD was managed within the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) framework.

Charitable organizations, which are mostly financed by the PEAD, are worried about the nearly one billion cut from the overall amount of international food aid for the 2014-2020 period, against the gradual enlargement of the European Union, the hyper-volatility of agricultural and food prices, and the EU goal to reduce poverty by 20 percent by 2020. This is particularly so given the fact that the total earmarked to the FEAD is not final, since the 27 nations leaders must approved it in late November in a backdrop of fiscal austerity and difficult negotiations regarding the European multiannual financial framework.

The future of food aid within the European Union is thus threatened, and this development is against what is occurring in the world’s other major economic and agricultural powerhouses, such as the United States. In fact, the U.S. keeps expanding the funds allocated to its domestic food aid programs––a 79 percent increase between 2005 and 2010––that are helpful not only to the most deprived people during serious economic crises, but also to the American agricultural sector since 95 percent of products consumed is locally produced.

While allocations cannot be compared––$94 billion (€70.5 billion) in the U.S. against €2.8 billion in the EU, that is to say €1 per year and per person in the European Union against €387 in the U.S.––European leaders should become well aware of the social and economic repercussions linked to the waning of internal food aid, and the virtuous effect that could be generated by implementing programs centered on a rationale similar to that of the United States.

1 Please see momagri’s November 28, 2011 article “European food aid: A short respite”, http://www.momagri.org/UK/a-look-at-the-news/European-food-aid-a-short-respite_1015.html
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