European AgriFood Sustainability Cluster Partnerships


Programme Category

EU Competitive Programmes

Programme Name

Single Market Programme (SMP) (2021-2027)

Programme Description

The Single Market Programme (SMP) covers the single market, competitiveness of enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises, the area of plants, animals, food and feed, and European statistics. Specifically, the programme brings together aspects in order to streamline, exploit synergies and provide a better flexible, transparent, simplified and agile framework to finance activities aiming at a well-functioning sustainable internal market.

Programme Details

Identifier Code



European AgriFood Sustainability Cluster Partnerships


The objective is to support both preparatory and implementation actions for the establishment and development of new ‘European Agrifood Sustainability Cluster Partnerships’ supporting the implementation of the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices by SMEs and the uptake of resource-efficiency technologies to limit food inflation.

Detailed Call Description

This call is targeting food processing SMEs (including food and drink producers) in the middlepart of the agri-food value-chain. While acknowledging the importance of working closely with partners, including farmers, primary agricultural producers and the retail part of the agri-food value-chain are not directly targeted by the support of this action. Moreover, the call for proposals has the following sub-objectives:

  • Networking: to identify and strengthen existing agri-food industry support organisations of different types and maturity levels and network them together.
  • Upgrading: to support the development of agri-food cluster organisations in more EU regions, building on existing industry support organisations, with the objective that those organisations support better the resource-efficiency and the sustainability transition of their SMEs.
  • Capacity-building: to create and maintain long-term sustainability expertise in agri-food clusters, industry support organisations and technology centres on all objectives of the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices, with a view to establishing operational capacity to support SMEs on the Code of Conduct implementation.

This call for proposals covers the following 10 themes, proposed for the implementation of specific aspirational objectives of the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices:

  1. Improve the nutritional composition and environmental footprint of food products/meals, e.g. through product reformulation and new product development/ innovation
  2. Optimise and develop innovative solutions (e.g. in relation to packaging, ingredients) to prevent food waste during transportation, distribution, home storage and use
  3. Identify and implement measures to improve the material efficiency of processes, e.g. explore the causes and potential for preventing and reducing (food) waste and losses
  4. Optimise the use of raw materials through valorisation
  5. Improve collaboration along the food supply chain to minimise food losses and waste (e.g. new product development from co-products or discarded products)
  6. 6. Reduce energy use and improve energy efficiency for production through the use of less energy-intensive and low-carbon technologies
  7. Increase the use of renewable energy sources (e.g. solar, wind, sustainable biomass, co-products)
  8. Improve water-efficiency
  9. Reduce net emissions by applying sustainable bio(-economy)-based solutions
  10. Improve sustainability of food and drink packaging (e.g. through re-use and re-fill solutions, greater, increased content of recycled and/or renewable materials in food packaging).

Applicants have to choose minimum 1 and maximum 3 themes from the above list. Applicants have to choose at least one theme aiming at improving resource efficiency to directly counter food inflation among themes no. 3 to 8.

Call Total Budget

€3 000 000

Financing percentage by EU or other bodies / Level of Subsidy or Loan

The costs will be reimbursed at the funding rates fixed in the Grant Agreement
(100% for the costs for providing financial support to third parties and 90% for all other costs categories).

Project budgets (maximum grant amount) are expected to be up to of €1 000 000 per project.

Thematic Categories

  • Agriculture - Food
  • Industry
  • Research, Technological Development and Innovation
  • Small-Medium Enterprises and Competitiveness

Eligibility for Participation

  • International Organisations
  • Large Enterprises
  • Other Beneficiaries
  • Private Bodies
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • State-owned Enterprises

Eligibility For Participation Notes

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs)
    • non-EU countries:
      • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the Single Market Programme or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries)
  • Ukraine, as stipulated in the Eligibility criteria section of the SMP Work Programme 2023, Annex 219.
  • be or represent an agri-food cluster organisation; industry support organisation or agri-food technology centre.

Primary agricultural producers and the retail part of the agri-food valuechain are not eligible.

Non-SME agri-food companies in the geographical areas of the partnerships can participate in the project to share their sustainability expertise or participate in common procurement activities, but at their own costs expense. The commitment of non-SME agri-food companies which are officially members of the cluster organisations to supporting the project is encouraged.

Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities), which complies with the following conditions:

  • minimum 4 legal entities from 3 different eligible countries;
  • the coordinator of the consortium must be an agri-food cluster organisation (dynamic group of agri-food companies and related economic entities active in a specific geographical area);
  • in addition to the coordinator at least 2 other agri-food clusters or industry support organisations (business or technical support organisation with the operational capacity to directly support a large number of agri-food companies in their geographical area);
  • at least one agri-food technology centre (technical or technology centres, agronomical institutes, environmental agencies, Digital Innovation Hubs, polytechnic universities or vocational universities).

Call Opening Date


Call Closing Date


National Contact Point(s)

Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry

Industry and Technology Service
1421, Nicosia, Cyprus

Contact Person:
Spyros Triantaphyllidis
Telephone: 22867333