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Agriculture and rural development

Ensuring global food supply and food security

The European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response mechanism (EFSCM) assesses how to improve cooperation between the public and private sectors and evaluate risks when crises arise.

A contingency plan for food supply and food security

Green deal initiative

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).

The Commission is supporting Ukraine in developing and implementing a short and medium term food security strategy. It has also put together measures to support EU farmers most affected by higher input costs and the closure of export markets.

Related information

Coronavirus response
Safeguarding food security and supporting EU farmers

Key principle in 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 (EFSCM)

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.

Outcomes of the EFSCM

The EFSCM adopted two recommendations on crisis communication and on diversity of sources of supply, which are part of a number of actions to be carried out to improve the EU preparedness. The outcomes of the work of the forum also include the creation of the Food supply and security dashboard.

Food supply and security dashboard

Furthermore, results of bi-annual EU surveys among EFSCM members will be analysed and published. By gathering market intelligence and making assessments of causes, drivers, and events that impact the EU food supply and food security, the surveys intend to supplement the data in the food supply and security dashboard.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) recently published  a study on risks and vulnerabilities affecting food supply and food security in the EU. It finds that the EU food supply chain faces a broad range of risks and sheds light on the factors that make it vulnerable to these risks.

More information

Communication on contingency plan for ensuring food supply and food security in times of crisis

Commission Staff Working Document SWD2021 (317)

Commission Decision on setting up a group of experts on the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism

Commission Staff Working Document SWD2021 (318) – synopsis report

Expert group members

The members of the EFSCM are listed hereunder and can be viewed by clicking on the categories below: EU countries, non-EU countries, organisations, observers. The list of members can also be found on the Register of Commission Expert Groups and Other Similar Entities, which contains all relevant information and documents related to this expert group.

Expert group meetings

Consultation process

EU food supply and food security – 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.

Stakeholder consultation

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 for Agricultural Markets 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.

The details of the consultation process are included in the consultation strategy for this initiative.

Documents

General publications8 November 2023
State of Food Security in the EU (Autumn 2023)

A qualitative assessment of food supply and food security within the framework of the EFSCM

factsheet front cover
English
(1.12 MB - PDF)
Download
20 JULY 2023
Recommendations on crisis communication on food supply and food security
English
(200 KB - PDF)
Download
20 JULY 2023
Recommendations on ways to improve the diversity of sources of supply, among others between shorter and longer food supply chains
English
(252.89 KB - PDF)
Download
12 NOVEMBER 2021
Factsheet: Contingency plan to ensure food supply and food security in times of crisis
English
(4.82 MB - PDF)
Download
12 APRIL 2021
Consultation strategy: contingency plan for ensuring food supply and food security
English
(332.88 KB - PDF)
Download

Roadmap: contingency plan for ensuring food supply and food security (PDF)