05.06.2015 On May 30th the 6th COMPETE project meeting took place within the Management In-ternational Conference (MIC) 2015 in Portorož, Slovenia. Apart from internal sessions, the COMPETE workshop and a panel session, a roundtable was organized to give invited speakers the opportunity to share their opinions on the topic „The agri-food supply chain: opportunities and threats for increasing of competitiveness“. In particular, the experts, Janja Kokolj Prošek, Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, and Anton Jagodic, Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia, shared their insights on the Slovenian dairy sector with the audience. Both discussants felt that the Slovenian dairy chain has great future potential. Even though recent policy changes, e.g. milk quota abolishment, may affect Slovenian farmers, simultaneously they create market settings which, when understood and acted upon correctly, allow new income opportunities for the entire chain. The experts emphasized that the greatest of these opportunities lies in the development of new and locally produced products. If realized, these would grant the industry the opportunity to gain market share on domestic and possibly even international markets. The speakers noted that the Slovenian government is funding promotion activities and encourage a national quality scheme to additionally foster the potential of these products. In addition, the transfer of knowledge of other European farmer-partner associations is likely to improve domestic productivity, which is still considerable lower than in some of the highly productive old member states (e.g. Germany, the Netherlands). Nevertheless, it was also stressed that the success of the Slovenian diary sector is threatened by certain domestic market developments, and these need to be overcome to achieve sustainable benefits for all supply chain actors. The speakers identified as especially risky to the success of the chain the low capacities of the processing industry, and the market power abuse in the chain.
01.05.2015 COMPETE poster presents the interim research results of the consortium
11.12.2014 The COMPETE Project meeting and 2nd COMPETE Workshop took place on the 26th and 27th of November 2014 at the Department of Economics of The Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague. After the interim results of the COMPETE project were presented to a broad audience, a roundtable with policymakers and representatives from industry completed the first day of the workshop. Jiří Kopáček (Dairy Union of Bohemia-Moravia), Josef Kameník, (University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences), and Jindrich Fialka (Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic), were the invited speakers for the roundtable. The guests expressed their views regarding the competitiveness of European, and in particular, Czech agri-food chains. Much to the regret of the representatives, mostly bulk products are exported from the Czech Republic, processed in neighbouring countries, which are then reimported for sale on the domestic market. Thus, the Czech agri-food industry loses out on a large share of value-added. The speakers emphasised the importance of national policy actions to promote Czech agriculture and food processing to capture the missed income opportunities. One solution is to help farmers in forming consortiums to obtain PDO/PGI designations for traditionally and locally produced foods and to educate consumers via advertising campaigns on their benefits. The complicated and often counterproductive results of EU regulations were fiercely discussed and the idea of ‘smart’ regulations promoted. The roundtable concluded with prognoses for the future of Czech agriculture and the food processing sector. A new income opportunity is seen in expanding exports to non-EU countries although these are often volatile. However, to ensure sustainable success on these foreign markets, further support at a national as well as an EU level is required (e.g. negotiations at the EU level regarding the technical standards of food products).
30.06.2014 In the context of the 6th Agribusiness Foreign Trade Congress of the German food industry, the COMPETE special forum took place in the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 25th June. The invited speakers were Roxane Feller (FoodDrinkEurope) and Heinrich Hockmann (IAMO). Roxanne Feller offered the industry’s view on the COMPETE project with her presentation “Prospects and chances of the European food and drink industries regarding COMPETE” and closed the presentation by emphasizing her own and the industry’s interest in the results of the COMPETE project and particularly deduced policy recommendations. The project coordinator Heinrich Hockmann reported the most recent results of COMPETE regarding the European dairy production and industry. He pointed out that the “overall objective of politics and industry should be the promotion of innovative capacity, to maintain free competition without market barriers and to support investments in research and development in order to improve export orientation and competitiveness of EU countries”.
26.06.2014 Following the COMPETE open sessions at the WICANEM Conference 2014 in Capri on 4th June, 2014, the COMPETE team welcomed the stakeholders Niels Dijkman (ABN AMRO, Sector Banker Food) and Willem Posthouwer (FrieslandCampina, Open Innovation Manager) for a roundtable on innovations in the food industry. The international audience was greatly interested in the reported insights, addressing many demanding questions to the stakeholders. Both speakers agreed that the geographic origin of food products is increasingly central to consumers’ buying decision. However, this trend is somewhat contradictory to the developed global food supply chains of multinational food companies like FrieslandCampina, which buy inputs and sell their processed products on the European markets, as well as increasingly in Asia. These companies try to establish and sustain a trust relationship with customers beyond the label of geographic indication. Posthouwer emphasized that competing successfully on global food markets requires the ability to quickly change and adapt production to rapidly altering consumption patterns. Generally speaking, the discussion showed that consumers are a key part in the innovation processes in the food industry.