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The Problem

Although there have been significant developments and increased usage of ICT, there is still a great deal of inefficient trends that take place in the supply chain management of almost every sector of the European economy. The multiplicity of incompatible business standards, data models and ICT solutions affect competitiveness and efficiency of European business, and together with still present “nationalism” in the validation and acceptance of data models make cross-border transactions difficult. These problems are also reflected in security, authenticity and integrity issues.

 

The European Agro-Food industry

The agro-food industry is strongly populated by SMEs and plays a substantial role in the European economy. It is essential for economic, social and environmental welfare as well as for the health of European citizens. Moreover, it is a significant contributor to employment and growth. Its performance has direct consequences for all European citizens, since food represents a significant share of European households' expenditures.

 

The need for innovative solutions

The permanent need for innovation is one of the most important challenges faced by the sector. Innovation and new information technologies have become determining factors for the competitiveness of the agro-food sector and for strengthening exchanges with other sectors linked to it. Innovation requires better collaboration not only between the public and private sector but also between different business sectors, including transport, packaging, retail and business services. In this respect an increased use of ICT and the emergence of innovative B2B (business-to-business) services can help achieve this objective. Nevertheless, ICT is not fully exploited, particularly by SMEs. The challenge is how to facilitate, enable and promote a seamless ICT environment underpinning the food supply chain in Europe.

 

The eFood Chain Solution

The eFood Chain project is an important step towards the promotion of innovation and ICT in the food supply chain. It is expected to identify and diminish the existing technical and organisational barriers, in order to increase the efficiency of the agro-food supply chain. The results are expected to reinforce business relationships between SMEs and larger players across the borders and to contribute to the full implementation of the Digital Single Market.