European agri food co-ops collaborate to increase digital market opportunities

'We must compete in a more global world and this project highlights the importance of collaborating'

Agri co-ops in three European countries are working together on improving their access to international markets.

The co-ops are collaborating under AGROSMARTglobal, a project to strengthen the visibility and competitiveness of co-operatives in digital markets.

The initiative was presented on 28 October by Asociación Galega de Cooperativas Agroalimentarias (Agaca), the federation of agri-food cooperatives of Galicia, which leads on it.

Co-ops taking part come from 10 regions in Southwestern Europe – Galicia, Castilla-La Mancha, Euskadi and La Rioja in Spain, Nouvelle-Aquitaine in France, Região do Norte, Algarve, Região do Centro, Região de Lisboa and Alentejo in Portugal. 

Participating co-ops will have access to new digital marketing strategy tools and services to strengthen their ability to access international markets, particularly in China and the USA.

The sector will also look at measures that could protect and promote their products’ Protected designation of origin (PDO) and Protected geographical indication (PGI) in digital markets.

José Montes, president of AGACA, said: “We face the biggest change seen in terms of sales in local and international markets, new technologies democratise access to quality food and co-operatives must be there to bring that value to our villages and rural areas and ensure that that value does not rest with intermediaries. ”

The minister of economy, business and industry, Franciso Conde, said: “We must compete in a more global world and this project highlights the importance of collaborating. From the Galician government, I have to congratulate and recognise the co-operatives leading this process of digital internationalisation. Reaching agreements to share knowledge and work together is the main reason why we are here today and this will guide out work over the next 36 months.”

The project kicked off in September 2019 and is due to end in August 2022, with a total budget of €1.598m. The initiative is 65% co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Interreg Sudoe Programme, which supports regional development and co-operation in southwest Europe.

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