Following the devastating impact of the European E.coli outbreak on the UK fresh produce industry FPC, with support from the industry, is considering applying for EU funding for a programme to promote fresh produce in the EU market.
I am seeking your views and expressions of interest to participate in such a programme which could deliver either a broad promotional campaign or be tailored to promotional or marketing activities supporting a specific industry sector or products.
As your trade association, FPC is eligible to make the application to the EU which will fund up to 50 per cent of marketing and promotional activities. Industry would be required to fund the remainder.
The marketing activities should be designed to increase levels of information and sales of fresh produce of EU origin within EU countries. The bid is required to outline a detailed plan regarding its activities, funding and timeframe for delivery, the duration of which must be between 1-3 years.
The first step is to ascertain if there is sufficient support from our members to progress this proposal and I am seeking your feedback by Friday 30 September so that the FPC Council may discuss this at its next meeting.
If there is committed support for FPC to put in a bid then we will hold a separate meeting with participating companies to discuss the requirements of the bid in detail and to develop the programme proposal to meet the deadline for application at the end of November.
I believe that it is imperative for the industry to take responsibility for increasing consumption, although I appreciate that trading conditions are difficult at this time.
Some more background information is provided for you to consider this proposal and I look forward to receiving your views.
Briefing for FPC members – outline requirements of bid
The aim of the EU scheme is to ‘reinforce and supplement Member States’ initiatives by implementing information and promotion measures aimed at highlighting the intrinsic features and advantages of Community products, notably the quality and safety of food, specific production methods, nutritional and health value, labelling, high animal welfare standards and respect for the environment’.
The European Commission will fund up to 50 per cent of the approved programme. This funding may be increased to 60 per cent for a promotion of fruit and vegetables specifically for children in schools of the EU.
The remaining funding would be via additional industry support, with FPC acting as the applicant. Delivery of the programme would be through an Implementing Body (i.e. agency/agencies).
UK applications are made to the RPA, which advises that a draft application be made well before the deadline (30 November) to allow RPA to check the application satisfies the requirements prior to final application.
The bid is required to include:
- Detailed description of the promotion/information measures planned;
- Anticipated results of the programme;
- Clear detailed estimate of the project cost of each measure included in the programme;
- Time limits for implementation and the timetable for various measures. Programmes consisting of a single measure are unlikely to be accepted by the Commission.
The duration of the programme must be at least one year, but no longer than three years, and be sufficient to achieve an impact on awareness or attitudes.
The programme of activities must:
- Provide information on the intrinsic characteristics of product(s) without reference to specific origin. Any health claims have to be referred separately to the Department of Health;
- Make no reference to brand names, trademarks or private companies;
- Must not duplicate similar measures already being implemented, but may, where applicable, supplement them; and
- Messages must be positive and take account of the specific nature of consumption on the different markets.
An initial selection of programmes will be made by the UK RPA and Defra, before being submitted to the European Commission by 15 February 2012 for final evaluation and approval. The Commission will decide which programme it will co-finance by 30 June 2012.
More information on the specific guidelines is available in the Implementing Regulation EC No. 501/2008.The Commission and RPA have produced guidance to support the preparation of bids – copies are available from FPC.
For more information see the following links at: http://rpa.defra.gov.uk/rpa/index.nsf/0/85B6D65F7840992D802578F6004ED485
EU Funds Handbook
EU Funding Application