Second internal GENCAT meeting
The second internal meeting in the framework of the Interreg Europe QUALIFY project "Quality standards and authenticity to foster competitiveness of agrifood SMEs" took place on Monday 16 November.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the following units and agencies:
- Agency for Business Competitiveness (ACCIÓ).
- Catalan Finance Institute (ICF)
- Ministry for Digital Policy and Public Administration
- Ministry of the Vice-presidency and of the Economy and Finance
- Ministry of the Presidency
- Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food.
- Directorate-General for Food, Quality and Agri-food Industries
- Subdirectorate-General for Food Inspection and Control
- The Directorate-General for Rural Development (December, 2)
Contents of the meeting:
- Those attending the meeting were welcomed by the Director General for Food, Quality and Agri-food Industries, Mr Carmel Mòdol, who stressed the session's importance for jointly considering the opportunities that these new programmes can offer in this area, and finding key strategic lines focused on reinforcing and enhancing the agrifood sector in Catalonia.
- The Deputy Director General for Agri-food Inspection and Control, Ms Glòria Cugat, then reiterated the importance of cooperation within the framework of the QUALIFY project, and emphasised the joint work done on studying and improving governance structures to support Catalan agrifood SMEs.
- Ms Maria Peña, from the General Sub-Directorate of Agri-food Inspection and Control, then set out the results of the first meeting between the stakeholders involved. She presented the study of the financial instruments available in Catalonia for SMEs in the agrifood sector and, in particular, whether they addressed the specific areas of QUALIFY.
- The needs and challenges presented by these SMEs were also set out, and identified by questionnaires and by communications amongst members of the QUALIFY Strategic Committee. These needs mainly concern the areas of advice and digitalisation, as these are challenges that small and micro-enterprises need to face in order to become more competitive in the sector.
- Next, Ms Clara Solé, of the Secretariat-General of the DARP, presented the new CORECO Economic Reactivation and Social Protection plans focusing on the agrifood sector, and discussed the opportunities they offer in terms of meeting the challenges identified in the SMEs in the sector. Several areas were identified, in which a series of actions are planned in the areas of advice and digitalisation of the agrifood industries.
- Ms Ariadna Ballesté, of ACCIÓ, then presented the opportunities presented by the European Commission's Green Deal Programme in the agrifood sector, and listed the various strategic lines and assessed possible synergies with the thematic areas of the QUALIFY project.
- Finally, there was a round of questions, during which the continuing need became apparent for internal cooperation meetings to discuss how to address funding needs and the opportunities presented by the new ERDF and EAFRD and CORECO operational programmes to support agrifood SMEs in Catalonia in meeting the challenges identified in the Qualify project, and thereby enhance their competitiveness.
It was agreed to:
- Share the summary document with the financial instruments available to SMEs up to 2020 presented at the meeting on the DARP and Qualify project websites.
- Hold a further meeting with the DG for Rural Development to convey the needs/challenges of the agrifood SMEs identified in the Qualify project, and to discuss the opportunities created by the new EAFRD programme in order to respond to them.
- Monitor the new ERDF programme to attempt to incorporate financial instruments that meet the needs/challenges of agrifood SMEs identified within the context of the Qualify project, working with ACCIÓ, the DARP Technical Office and the Subdirectorate for Economy responsible for the ERDF programme.
- Finally, all attendees, and especially those who manage financial instruments, such as those mentioned above and the Ministry for Digital Policy, were asked to consider the needs/challenges of agrifood SMEs identified in the Qualify project.
Subsequently, on December 2, was held another meeting with the Deputy Director General of Rural Planning of the General Directorate of Rural Development, Mrs. Laura Dalmau. Whose unit is in charge of managing the EAFRD funds. The aim of the meeting was to assess the possibilities that these funds provide for developing projects or supporting actions within the framework of the Qualify project. Likewise, at the meeting were presented the new EAFRD operational program for the coming years, as well as the RDP (within the CAP), were shared the possible synergies with the Qualify project, these being a great opportunity to work on the project line and achieve the purpose of it in the most effective way.