Recognized producer organizations (POs) for fruit and vegetables can develop so-called "Operational Programs" (OP) within the framework of the common organization of agricultural markets, which are co-financed by the European Union. According to the legislation concerning the common organization of agricultural markets (Art. 36 of Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013), the Operational Programs must be implemented on the basis of a "National Strategy".
The task of the National Strategy is to support the use of existing development potentials of the POs, taking into account the very heterogeneous structures and orientations. This is to be achieved, among other things, by improving the supply and marketing structures and increasing competitiveness both at the level of the POs and at the level of the producers. In addition, POs must - also with regard to the legitimacy of the support - increasingly take into account social requirements such as those with regard to environmental protection, sustainability or health aspects.
According to Art. 58 of Regulation (EU) No. 2017/891, an evaluation of the National Strategy is foreseen in 2020. The Federal Institute for Agriculture and Mountain Farming is carrying out the evaluation on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT).
The evaluation is intended to provide fundamental insights for improving the quality of future National Strategies and, in particular, to identify any shortcomings in the definition of objectives, eligible measures or a need to revise established instruments. Furthermore, the degree of utilization of the available funds as well as the impact and efficiency of the operational programs will be examined. The evaluation will also serve to assess progress towards the overall objectives of the strategy.
The results of the evaluation can help to improve the quality of the strategy in terms of coherence and relevance of the implemented actions and to determine whether a significant change in the strategy is needed. Thus, the results provide input to both the authorities, the implementing agency and the POs themselves for the future design of the national strategy and/or the operational programs.
The year 2020 was marked by the Covid 19 pandemic. In view of the associated challenges in the operation of public administrations in the Member States, the European Commission extended the deadline for the submission of the evaluation report to June 30, 2021. Important contents of the project work in 2020 included the familiarization with the evaluation subject matter as well as the preparation of the data and documents provided by the BMLRT and AMA. In this way, data gaps could be identified with regard to the evaluation questions to be answered and an appropriate procedure for closing them could be planned. Further activities in 2020 included the development of a guideline for the survey.
2021, the stakeholder consultation was completed, its results analysed and used together with other sources to answer the evaluation questions and summarised in a report.
This report, "Evaluation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Operational Programmes in the Fruit and Vegetable Sector 2013-2018", evaluating the National Strategy for Operational Programmes of recognised fruit and vegetable producer organisations, assesses the progress made in implementing the objectives set out in the National Strategy. Following the evaluation guidelines of the European Commission, the report focuses on specific evaluation issues, but also provides insights into the structures of the Austrian fruit and vegetable sector. Based on the evaluation results, recommendations are also derived to help those responsible for the future design of the National Strategies.
Project start: January 2020
Project end: December 2021