SUFISA (Sustainable finance for sustainable agriculture and fisheries)

The CCRI has been part of a consortium tasked with identifying sustainable practices and policies in agricultural, fisheries and food sectors across Europe. SUFISA – Sustainable finance for sustainable agriculture and fisheries (Horizon 2020. Call H2020-SFS-2014-2. Topic SFS-19-2014) – aimed to identify practices and policies that support the sustainability of primary producers in a context of complex policy requirements, market imperfections and globalisation.

The project, which began in May 2015, will come to an end in April 2019, and has collected data from 22 regions across Europe. Case studies included, arable, aquaculture, dairy, fisheries, fruit, meat, olives and wine.

The CCRI team has played a pivotal role in the project – leading Work Package 2 ‘Case study analysis’.

Professor Damian Maye and Drs James Kirwan, Mauro Vigani, Dilshaad Bundhoo, Rob Berry, Amr Khafagy, Evgenia (Nenia) Micha and Hannah Chiswell have worked on the project.

The Consortium

Coordinated by Professor Erik Mathijs of the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium, SUFISA involved a consortium of 13 partners from the following countries:

  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium).
  • University of Pisa (Italy)
  • University of Gloucestershire, CCRI (UK)
  • Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (France)
  • Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna (Italy)
  • University of Hasselt (Belgium)
  • Nodibinajums Baltic Studies Centre (Latvia)
  • University of Evora (Portugal)
  • Aarhus University (Denmark)
  • Agricultural University of Athens (Greece)
  • Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (Germany)
  • Jagiellonian University (Poland)
  • University of Belgrade (Serbia)

Project Abstract

A sound functioning of the European food system is central to the delivery of food and nutrition security for all Europeans. However, this system faces many economic, environmental and social challenges, as well as opportunities, following a range of socio-economic and technological developments that are not equally distributed throughout the EU.

Future policymaking that aims to develop healthy and resilient food systems needs to take into account this differentiation and diversity of approaches, which necessitate foresight activities that take into account both the development of important driving forces as well as the social and spatial diversity involved.

Primary production – that is agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture – forms the foundation of the food system. Its structure and performance is influenced by various conditions shaped by both the public and the private sectors. As economic agents, primary producers aim to generate a sufficient amount of income, but their financial conditions are highly dependent on both public and private actors, such as government regulators (including the EU’s agricultural and fisheries policies), the financial sector, suppliers, the food industry, retailers, etc. In other words, the web of policy requirements as well as input and output market imperfections greatly shape farmers’ and fishermen’s livelihoods. Knowledge on the conditions of primary producers and the driving forces influencing these conditions exists, but in a fragmented way: not all primary producers and regions are covered, not all driving forces have been investigated, cross-linkages between them have been insufficiently analysed, and future opportunities are not well integrated, etc.

The purpose of SUFISA is to identify sustainable practices and policies in the agricultural, fish and food sectors that support the sustainability of primary producers in a context of multi-dimensional policy requirements, market uncertainties and globalisation.

Work Package 2

A key aim of SUFISA has been to give voice to primary producers and those connected to the supply chain.

As well as leading the Work Package, at the UK level, we have focussed on two cases in the UK: dairy in Somerset and fisheries in Cornwall. A combination of methods, including focus groups, interviews and a survey of 200 producers (in the dairy case only) were used to understand the key market and regulatory conditions, and the strategies and arrangements that primary producers are utilising to manage difficulties and risks.

Using this combination of methods, the CCRI gained a unique insight into the market conditions faced by primary producers. In the dairy case for example, price volatility emerged as a key issue, with farmers concerned about the unpredictability of the global market. Our results highlight the differing supply chain arrangements and mechanisms that are allowing farmers to deal with these pressures.

The results of our work are available as a full report, extended summaries and as part of policy briefs:


Although our findings relate specifically to dairy farming and inshore fisheries in Somerset and Cornwall, respectively, they are likely to resonate in other areas of the UK. Our findings come at a crucial time in relation to the ongoing Brexit negotiations. We have therefore produced two policy briefing documents, designed to draw attention to the main issues that have arisen from the research that are likely to have policy implications for the future viability of both important sectors.

For further information, visit:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme for research and innovation grant agreement no 635577