Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a commodity price surge and the Covid-19 pandemic have all posed a risk to food security around the world. While the resilience and self-sufficiency of the EU food system have ensured that the availability of food in the EU is not at risk, the Commission continues to take measures to prepare for and respond to potential threats to global food supply and food security.
Safeguarding food security and supporting EU farmers
Food security in Ukraine is of great concern, particularly due to the deliberate targeting of food storage locations by invading Russian forces. Additionally, countries that rely heavily on cereal imports from Ukraine and Russia (mainly in North Africa and the Middle East) are at a heightened risk of food insecurity due to supply chain disruptions.
In response to this, the Commission published a Communication on 23 March 2022 which outlined a number of measures being taken to safeguard global food security and support EU farmers and consumers that have been impacted by Russia's military aggression against Ukraine.
At a global level, the Commission is:
- supporting Ukraine in developing a food security strategy to ensure inputs such as cereals, seeds and fertiliser reach farms successfully;
- ensuring that transportation and storage facilities in Ukraine are maintained to allow Ukraine to feed its citizens;
- delivering an EU Emergency Support Programme of €330 million to help secure access to basic goods and services, and help with protection of the population;
- pledging at least €2.5 billion of humanitarian assistance for international cooperation with a nutrition objective for 2021-24;
- continuing to advocate against export restrictions and export bans, as open and well-functioning global supply chains and logistics are essential for global food security.
To support EU farmers, the Commission is:
- distributing €500 million euro in national allocations to directly support farmers most affected by higher input costs and the closure of export markets (EU countries can complement this support up to 200% with national funds);*
- allowing EU countries to pay increased levels of CAP direct payments in advance, to address cash-flow difficulties currently faced by farmers;
- introducing market safety net measures to support the pigmeat sector in light of the particularly difficult situation it finds itself in;
- granting an exceptional and temporary derogation to allow the production of crops on land set aside within the EU, while maintaining full greening payments for farmers;
- allowing specific flexibilities to import requirements on animal feed to alleviate pressure on the feed market;
- using the newly established EFSCM to carry out a thorough mapping of risks and vulnerabilities in the EU supply chain, followed by recommendations and appropriate mitigation measures;
- proposing a new, self-standing Temporary Crisis Framework that would also cover farmers, fertiliser producers and the fisheries sector.
* On 7 July 2022, the Commission published the overview of how Member States have been using and distributing this aid. This was based on notifications sent by Member States at the end of June. This information is available in the documents section of this page.
Monitoring stocks of agricultural commodities
On 20 May 2022, the Commission adopted a decision to gather monthly data on various agricultural commodities in the EU. On a monthly basis, EU countries will have to notify the Commission of the level of stocks of cereals, oilseeds, rice and certified seeds of these products held by relevant producers, wholesalers and operators. The Commission will publish the notifications to ensure market transparency and to give a timely and accurate picture of the availability of essential commodities for food and feed.
Separately, as part of its increased monitoring of agricultural markets impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Commission has created a new dashboard to provide statistics on the economic consequences of the invasion for farmers and food consumers, both in the EU and around the world. This includes information relating to input and output prices, production and stocks, and international trade.
Exceptional measure to support farmers impacted by increase in input prices
On 20 May 2022, the Commission also proposed an exceptional measure to support EU farmers impacted by the increase in input prices. The measure, funded by the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD), will allow EU countries to make a one off payment to farmers and agri-food businesses affected by increases in input costs such as feed and fertilisers.
This will allow EU countries to use up to 5% of their EAFRD budget for 2021-22 for direct support to farmers and SMEs active in the processing, marketing or development of agricultural products. Selected farmers and SMEs could receive up to €15 000 and €100 000 respectively.
Contingency plan for food supply and food security
As outlined in the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Commission has developed a contingency plan to ensure food supply and food security in times of crisis. The plan aims to ensure a sufficient and varied supply of safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable food to citizens at all times.
The Commission published its Communication on the plan on 12 November 2021. It outlines areas for improvement that were identified during the Covid-19 pandemic, principles that should be adhered to in times of crisis, and the creation of a European food security crisis preparedness and response mechanism (EFSCM).
Preventing and tackling food crises in the EU
The lessons learned from various crises allow us to identify key principles to be followed to ensure food supply and food security when a crisis arises:
- a collaborative approach between all public and private parties that play a role in the food supply chain;
- horizontal coordination at political and administrative level, particularly when the crisis originates from factors outside the food supply chain, as was the case with the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine;
- monitoring of market imbalances and where necessary, swift intervention using available tools, such as those that exist under the CAP and the CFP;
- supply chains and trade flows remaining operational, including for non-food sectors that are essential to the functioning of the food supply chain;
- free movement of cross-border and seasonal workers in the food sector as much as possible;
- early, regular and transparent communication to stakeholders and the public to avoid the crisis being exacerbated through inappropriate information.
European food security crisis preparedness and response mechanism
To implement the principles outlined above, the Commission established the EFSCM, which relies on a dedicated group of experts and a set of rules and procedures governing its activities. Stakeholder organisations that play a role in the food supply chain, as well as certain non-EU countries with food supply chains that are highly integrated with the EU’s, were invited to contribute to improving cooperation between the public and private sectors. The Commission published a call for participation, which was open from 10 December 2021 to 4 February 2022.
The Commission convenes the group of experts periodically to improve levels of preparedness. The group may be convened in case of emergency or crisis without delay and as often as needed, to contribute to the response. The mechanism is triggered in case of exceptional, unpredictable and large-scale events or risks that have the potential to threaten EU food supply or security.
Expert group members
The composition of the EFSCM can also be found on the Register of Commission Expert Groups and Other Similar Entities. It contains all relevant information and documents related to this expert group.
|Austria||Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism|
Directorate II 8 - Agricultural Value Chain and Nutrition
|Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism|
Directorate II 6 – Animal products (fisheries and aquaculture)
|Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection|
Abteilung III/9 - Krisenstab Veterinärwesen und Lebensmittelsicherheit
|Regional authorities responsible for agriculture: Flemish Government|
|Regional authorities responsible for agriculture: Wallonia|
|Bulgaria||Ministry of Agriculture of Bulgaria|
|Bulgarian Food Safety Agency|
|Croatia||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Ministry of Agriculture|
|Ministry of Agriculture|
Veterinary and Food Safety Directorate
|Ministry of Agriculture|
Directorate for Fisheries
|Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development|
Commodity stock management
|Ministry of Health|
|Cyprus||Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment|
|Czechia||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Denmark||Danish Veterinary and Food Administration|
|Estonia||Ministry of Rural Affairs|
|Finland||Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland|
|Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto)|
|France||Ministère de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation (MAA)|
Direction Générale de la Performance économique et environnementale des entreprises – DGPE
|Ministère de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation (MAA)|
Direction Générale de l’Alimentation – DGAL
|Germany||Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft BMEL (Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture)|
|Greece||General Directorate of Food - Ministry of Rural Development and Food|
|General Directorate of Agriculture - Ministry of Rural Development and Food|
|General Directorate of Fisheries - Ministry of Rural Development and Food|
|Hungary||National Food Chain Safety Office (NFCSO)|
|County Government Office|
|Ireland||Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine|
|Italy||Ministero delle Politiche Agricole|
|Ministero della Salute|
|Latvia||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Lithuania||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Luxembourg||Ministère de l'Agriculture, de la Viticulture et du Développement rural|
|Malta||Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights (MAFA)|
|Environmental Health Department|
|Netherlands||Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality|
|Poland||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Portugal||Ministry of Agriculture (MA) – GPP|
(Gabinete de Planeamento Políticas e Administração Geral)
Direção-Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária
|Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition|
ASAE – Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica
|MM – DGRM|
Direção Geral dos Recursos Marinhos
|Regional Direction of Agriculture of Autonomous Region of Azores|
For Ultraperiferic Regions
|Romania||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development - in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture|
|National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority - in the areas of health policy and food safety|
|Slovakia||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development of the Slovak republic|
|Slovenia||Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food|
|Spain||General Secretariat for Agriculture and Food|
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
|General Secretariat for Fisheries|
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
|Sweden||Swedish Food Agency|
|Swedish Board of Agriculture|
|Albania||Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Andorra||Government of Andorra|
Ministry of Health
Food Safety and Environment Health Area
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Food Safety Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Faroe Islands||Ministry of Environment, Industry and Trade|
|Iceland||The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries|
|The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority|
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
|Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development (MAFRD) Department of Agricultural Policies and Markets|
|Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade|
|Kosovo Food and Veterinary Agency|
|Liechtenstein||Food and veterinary office Liechtenstein|
|Monaco||Direction de l'action sanitaire|
|Montenegro||Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management|
|Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary affaires|
|North Macedonia||Food and Veterinary Agency|
|Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy|
|Norway||Royal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries|
|Ministry of Agriculture and Food|
|San Marino||UOS Sanità Veterinaria e Igiene Alimentare|
U.O.C. Sanità Pubblica - Dipartimento Prevenzione
|Serbia||Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management|
|Ministry of Health|
|Switzerland||Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG)|
|Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES)|
- Assemblée des Régions Européennes Fruitières, Légumières et Horticoles (AREFLH)
- Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC)
- CEMA - European Agricultural Machinery Industry Association (CEMA)
- Conseil Européen des Jeunes Agriculteurs (CEJA)
- Cooperativa de Armadores de Pesca del Puerto de Vigo, Sociedad Cooperativa Gallega Limitada (ARVI)
- EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures (FEFANA)
- European agri-cooperatives (COGECA)
- European Associations of Fish Processors and European Federation of National Organisations of Fish Importers and Exporters (AIPCE-CEP)
- European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC)
- European Dairy Association aisbl (EDA)
- European farmers (COPA)
- European Flour Millers
- European Food Banks Federation (FEBA)
- European Liaison Committee for Agriculture and agri-food trade (celcaa)
- Euroseeds (Euroseeds)
- Fédération Européenne des Fabricants d'Aliments Composés (FEFAC)
- Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP)
- Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE)
- Fertilizers Europe
- FoodDrinkEurope (FoodDrinkEurope)
- Freshfel Europe - the forum for the European fresh fruits and vegetables chain (Freshfel)
- Independent Retail Europe (formerly UGAL - Union of Groups of Independent Retailers of Europe)
- Kraftverkehr Nagel SE & Co. KG (Nagel-Group)
- The European Organization for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN)
- The EU Vegetable Oil and Proteinmeal Industry (FEDIOL)
- The International Institute of Refrigeration IIF-IIR
- Union Européenne du Commerce du Bétail et des Métiers de la Viande (U.E.C.B.V.)
- Unistock Europe - Association of Professional Portside Storekeepers in the Food and Feed Chain (UNISTOCK)
- VIER PFOTEN International (FOUR PAWS)
- Comité du commerce des céréales, aliments du bétail, oléagineux, huile d'olive, huiles et graisses et agrofournitures de l'U.E. (COCERAL)
- CropLife Europe
- European Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade (AVEC)
- European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)
- European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
- European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
- European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders (EFFAB)
- European free trade Association (EFTA)
- European Producers Union of Renewable Ethanol (ePURE)
- Fédération Européenne pour la Santé Animale et la Sécurité Sanitaire (FESASS)
- International Road Transport Union Permanent Delegation to the EU (IRU)
- World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM)
Expert group meetings
- 9 March 2022: 1st ad-hoc meeting of the Expert Group on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism
- 23 March 2022: 1st regular meeting of the Expert Group on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism
- 4 May 2022: 2nd ad hoc meeting of the Expert group on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism
- 31 May 2022: Subgroup 'Dashboard for the monitoring of food supply and food security' – 1st meeting
- 27 June 2022: Subgroup ‘Improving the diversity of sources of supply’ – 1st meeting
- 18 July 2022: Subgroup 'Dashboard for the monitoring of food supply and food security' – 2nd meeting
Contingency plan roadmap
As per the initiative’s roadmap, the Commission conducted an analysis, which formed the basis for a staff working document that was published alongside the Communication on 12 November 2021. Other supporting documents, including the Decision and Synopsis, were also published alongside it.
A stakeholder consultation sought feedback from all stakeholders in the food system on the potential configuration, scope and goals of an EU food crisis response mechanism. It ran from 1 March to 3 May 2021.
Expert group meetings
The Commission organised meetings within an expert group that included EU countries and food system stakeholders, as well as non-EU country participants. The relevant documentation per topic was published after each meeting.
- 20 January 2021: What are the lessons learnt from COVID-19 and other crises with regard to food security in the EU?
- 25 February 2021: What are the threats to EU food security?
- 26 March 2021: How are the EU, Member states, non-EU countries and international organisations prepared to handle crises?
- 21 April 2021: How are companies in the EU food system prepared to handle crises?
- 20 May 2021: Academic workshop organised in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre; JRC Conference and workshop report – Contingency plan for ensuring food supply and food security
- 16 June 2021: How to best organise a coordinated approach?
- 15 July 2021: Outline of the main elements of a Contingency plan to ensure food supply and food security in times of crises
The details of the consultation process are included in the consultation strategy for this initiative.