Session 4 - Conclusions
The aim of the last day of the conference was to transform the previous presentations, the impressions from the field trips and the participants own experiences into recommendations for changes in the fields of labeling, hygiene and policy. Three different workshops focused on these topics according to the following.
Group 1: Labelling
EU has a plethora of labels already (Organic, Traditional, Geographic, etc.). Is this a good system? Out of date? Is there a need (or space) for an HNV farm product label regulated at EU level? How would it work, what would the broad requirements be?
Origin is most important but the question remains of how to integrate HNV in regional farming systems? It is a joint responsibility to clarify standards, inform producers by for instance training and spread good examples. The consumer needs simple and reliable messages - how to make the link with the truth of HNV products? Primarily the consumers (as citizens) need information regarding the existence of HNV. One should build on “HNV ready” local/regional projects. Actions could start at school level.
Download: Group 1: Labelling (PDF 27.8 KB)
Group 2: Hygiene
regulations have been widely and repeatedly highlighted as problematic for the survival of HNV farming systems. What are the precise problems with the regulations, or their implementation, and what are the technical problems faced by the farming systems? How should both sets of problems be resolved?
There are 2 fundamentally different types of relationship between consumer and producer. The first is where the consumer knows the producer, his reputation, his production methods and can satisfy himself that they meet a certain acceptable standard. This occurs almost exclusively at the very local level. In all other cases, the state authorities are needed to provide consumers with reassurance that they cannot get by personal experience. This dichotomy is reflected in EU legislation but not in many Member States’ implementation of the rules.
For a HNV farmer to adapt well to hygiene requirements, they need:
- To build public trust
- to get organised
- to build a dialogue with national and regional authorities
- advice, both in terms of basic know-how and investment
Download: Group 2: Hygiene (PDF 27.6 KB)
Group 3: Policy
changes in relation to market; We know that many HNV farming systems are barely viable in economic terms. Can HNV farmers exploit market opportunities in order to improve their net income? APART from labeling and hygiene regulations, what are the main opportunities and main barriers? How can the latter be overcome?
Primarily, HNV should be a “penetrating principle” and be seen as an opportunity not as an imposition or constraint. A key question is at what policy level should HNV be used. The workshop agreed on three options. As a tool to focus and targeting different policies and resources. To do this a common definition is needed, which is presently very difficult. Another options is for HNV to be used as a tool on national level. In that case there is no need for a detailed definition on EU level. Thirdly, HNV can be seen as a tool for the market. If so, it is not a policy issue.
Download: Group 3: Policy (PDF 32.6 KB)
HNV farmland and farming is an established concept in some parts of Europe, but in others there still remains work to be done on describing the concept and adjusting it to the relevant areas. There is an ongoing discussion among policy makers on how to use the concept and its role in policy making. The conference highlighted the need of exploring this field even further.
HNV farmland is being threatened all over Europe for different reasons. The conference pointed to the need of regional and local adaptation both of the concept and solutions. Good examples of market solutions for preserving HNV farmland exists but are presently not well known among neither consumers nor policy makers. A increased exchange of ideas and experiences is needed.