New EU agri-food rules impacting low- and middle-income countries

What is AGRINFO?

AGRINFO is a programme funded by the European Union and implemented by COLEAD (Committee Linking Entrepreneurship-Agriculture-Development).

It provides an online information service that keeps you up-to-date on evolving EU policies, regulations and standards with potential impacts on agri-food value chains. It provides clear summaries for trade partners about the “what, why, and when” of recent and upcoming changes, and actions needed to adjust to new rules.

AGRINFO offers:

  • An easy-to-search, open-access website presenting:
    • summaries of recent changes
    • explainers and background information, with links to EU information sources
    • potential impacts of changes for AGRINFO partners and the actions they need to take.
  • Specifically for AGRINFO partners:
    • regular email alerts every 2–3 weeks listing the most recent entries – AGRINFO UPDATE
    • targeted emails as and when needed, with more detailed information relevant to their sector and locality – AGRINFO TOPICAL BRIEFING
    • an Ask AGRINFO facility.

Who are AGRINFO partners?

The information service specifically targets AGRINFO partners, who are:

  • Competent authorities at national/regional level in partner countries, including relevant sector line ministries as well as official controls, and national SPS committees
  • Business membership organisations (BMOs) and national farmer organisations in partner countries and the European Union.

Partner countries are those listed as low-income (least developed), lower-middle income and upper-middle-income economies in the Development Assistance Committee List of ODA Recipients of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

What does AGRINFO cover?

EU policies, regulatory and non-regulatory measures, standards (including private voluntary standards) and market trends that are likely have an impact on market access and the competitiveness of agricultural value chains linked to the EU market.

These value chains include food and feed of non-animal origin, animals and products of animal origin (including fish), plants and plant products (HS Chapters 01–24), with a primary focus on agri-food. Regulatory updates concerning HS Chapters 50–53 will also be monitored if there is a specific request or need.

The content of the database and AGRINFO Updates is written with the context and needs of AGRINFO partner beneficiaries in mind. The records do not address Regulations, or elements of Regulations, that are only relevant to operators or authorities in the EU, or in third countries that are outside the scope of the programme. AGRINFO will not systematically include details about the transposition of EU Directives into national law in EU Member States, except on a case-by-case basis where there is national divergence of particular relevance to partner stakeholders.

The Development Focus of AGRINFO

Agri-food products account for a large share of traded goods from developing and emerging economies to the EU. They are of pivotal importance in terms of generating income and employment, and key contributors towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although most have been exporting to the EU for many years, meeting EU Regulations and Standards remains a major determinant for market access, as well as competitiveness. The evolution of market requirements under the Farm to Fork strategy of the European Green Deal aims to accelerate the much-needed transition to more sustainable food systems, and is an opportunity to positively influence production and trade in third countries. It will be critically important to ensure that this transition is aligned with the SGDs, and that the poorest and most vulnerable players are not left behind.

The mission of COLEAD is to contribute to achieving the SDGs by linking agriculture, enterprise and development. As the implementing body of AGRINFO, COLEAD is committed to ensuring that information about new EU Regulations and Standards, and their implications, is transferred promptly, and in an accessible form, to the people who need it. These include the producers, processors, traders and competent authorities in partner countries who must take action to ensure that exported produce – including that from small-scale producers and operators – remains compliant and retains access to the EU market.