Agrifood news from the Capitals
After the COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on working conditions in meat plants, Germany is moving to tighten rules in a bid to afford workers more job security, but this has been met with criticism by the meat industry. EURACTIV Germany reports.
Seeds coated with neonicotinoid insecticides will again be authorised for a period of three years, it was confirmed this week. The law was published in the French ‘Journal official’ on Tuesday 15 December, stipulating that “until 1 July 2023, joint decrees by the ministers of agriculture and the environment” can authorise “the use of seeds treated with products” containing these controversial insecticides, which are thought to be harmful for bees. This derogation is designed to save the beet sector, who are struggling with an infestation of green aphids, vectors of jaundice virus. Environmental activists have denounced a disastrous regression for biodiversity. (Lucie Duboua-Lorsch| EURACTIV.fr)
The government’s new import tariff regime will provide certainty for farmers by largely maintaining import tariffs at present levels, the National Farmers Union (NFU) said this week after legislation implementing the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) was laid in Parliament. NFU President Minette Batters stressed the importance of applying the tariff rates set out in the UKGT should the UK fail to reach an agreement with the EU. This is especially important for domestically produced goods, which would face very high tariff costs to export into the EU in a no-deal situation, she added. Batters said: “The majority of British farmers will be pleased that the government is sticking to the tariff regime it announced in the Spring, whether or not we strike a deal with the EU. Doing so ensures fairness for farmers and will help to prevent a flood of new imports of food produced in ways that would be illegal here.” (Natasha Foote | EURACTIV.com)
Fears have been raised over the potential for significant ecological damage to fishing grounds if a no-deal Brexit drives more EU boats away from UK waters and into those off the Irish coast, according to the Irish Times. Stakeholders are now calling for scientific studies to address “what may be the repercussions of the displacement of hundreds of vessels from British waters into Irish waters”. (Natasha Foote | EURACTIV.com)
The Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, the public body for implementation of direct support measures, issued the first set of decisions on Monday (14 December) on the payment of HRK 41.1 million (approximately €5.5 million) in extraordinary support to small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises particularly affected by the coronavirus crisis, the Ministry of Agriculture announced. Measure 21 of the Rural Development Program was introduced to mitigate the effects of the Covida-19 pandemic and to address the liquidity problems faced by farmers and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in processing, marketing and development of agricultural products, the statement said. (Karla Junicic, Euractiv.hr)
Poland’s anti-trust authority (UOKiK) has fined Jeronimo Martins Polska, owner of the Biedronka supermarket chain, 723 million PLN (€162.8 million) for exploiting contractual advantages. The authority said that it had information that showed contractors were informed of the need to grant discounts even after deliveries had been made. Due to the contract terms, suppliers did not know how much they would make because at any time Biedronka’s owner could demand an additional reduction in remuneration to an amount known only to itself, UOKiK said. The practices affected 200 suppliers, 80% of them in the fruit and vegetable segment. According to UOKiK, Biedronka’s owner made over PLN 600 million (€135.14 million) from the practice between 2018 and 2020. (Mateusz Kucharczyk | EURACTIV.pl)