The Agricultural and Food Sectors
In many transformation countries, the agricultural sector comprises a significant portion of the economic output, and often an even larger segment of business. At the same time, agricultural sectors are often marked by outmoded production methods and obsolete infrastructure, which manifests in reduced productivity. Lack of investment – in up-to-date production methods, for example – is responsible for these deficiencies, while appropriate financing methods are in part limited by legal hurdles – for example, the absence of a land market.
Free Trade – Both an Opportunity and a Challenge
The association agreement with the EU creates new possibilities for the countries of Eastern Europe – but also formidable challenges. To be able to realize new export opportunities, the agricultural and food sectors have to increase their competitiveness. At the same time, however, competitive pressures on domestic producers will increase.
With our agricultural and food sector consulting, we try to address these issues head-on. In doing so, we grapple with a variety of political areas, including trade, energy (especially renewable biomass energy), and tax policy, as well as industrial politics, education, and access to financing. The goal of our consulting work is the realization of export opportunities and the support of effective preparation for specific market deregulation. The first step is often the formulation of a strategy for the development of particular sectors of the agricultural industry.
New Compliance Standards
At the level of trade policy, we analyze trade structures and existing barriers to trade. When preparing for the implementation of an agreement with the EU, that means acclimating Eastern European farmers and food producers to new quality standards. Non-tariff barriers in particular often limit trade potential in a way that can be re-negotiated on a bilateral level – the Republic of Moldova, for example, used our analysis and recommendations to negotiate an increase in tariff quotas for its agricultural products, and can now export more to the EU market.
Our consulting in the area of agricultural policy thus contributes to the modernization of the agricultural and food sectors. A modern agricultural sector is in a better position to compete in international markets and realize its existing export potential.