Agrifood news this week
Portugal optimistic CAP reform talks could see breakthrough soon
Portugal is optimistic an agreement can soon be reached on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the country’s Agriculture Minister Maria do Céu Antunes told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview. EURACTIV’s agrifood team has more.
Scientists renew support for Nutri-Score amid a ‘Mediterranean’ uprising
A group of scientists have made another plea for making the colour-coded nutrition label mandatory for the entire EU, while southern EU countries vehemently oppose it, saying it puts the traditional Mediterranean diet at a disadvantage. Gerardo Fortuna has the story.
EU farmers boss: Commission leaving agri sector to wait like ‘animals for slaughter’
By choosing to impose green objectives without undertaking a comprehensive impact assessment, the European Commission is leaving the EU farming sector vulnerable and waiting like “animals to be slaughtered”, according to the head of the EU farmers association. Natasha Foote has more.
African farmers say they must be trained for Farm to Fork
African farmers fear being left alone in making sense of and applying environmental standards required by the European Union’s new food policy, said the voice of Kenya’s horticulture producers, who warned that without help, the new rules could jeopardise trade with Europe. Learn more.
News from the bubble
CAP corner: Next week is set to be an important week for negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, with discussions ongoing during an AGRIFISH Council this week, mainly focusing on the key sensitive areas of negotiations such as the definition of an active farmer and social conditionality. The meeting will also focus on phytosanitary issues, including a proposal from the Council to the Commission for a study to be undertaken to investigate the EU situation with regards to biological control agents and how regulation can be harmonised on this to encourage uptake in member states.There will also be the long awaited so-called ‘super trilogue’ this week, which will see all three rapporteurs convened in an attempt to reach a conclusion on the CAP reform. See here for background.
Food waste: Commissioner for health and food safety, Stella Kyriakides, addressed the 10th meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste this week, where she underscored that tackling food loss and waste is “crucial in order to achieve a sustainable food system” and member states and businesses should make such actions an “integral part of their recovery plans”. During the meeting, the Commission provided an update on flagship actions to reduce food waste under the Farm to Fork Strategy, such as work on food waste measurement and the setting of EU-level targets for food waste reduction as well as activities related to date marking.
Support scheme: The European Commission has approved a €1 million Luxembourgish scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in the pig production sector in the context of the coronavirus outbreak, approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of direct grants of up to €40,000 per farm.
Agrifood news from the Capitals
Spain is the “vegetable garden of Europe” and the sector remains competitive thanks to a combination of quality, innovation and meeting consumer demands, the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, told EURACTIV’s partner EFE agro in a video interview. Read the story here.
A temporary ban has been introduced by Belarus authorities following reported cases of African swine fever in Poland. According to Tuesday’s statement of the Belarus Agriculture Ministry, the ban covers live pigs, their semen and pork and pork products, including raw materials of animal origin or animal feed, unless they have been heat-treated. (Mateusz Kucharczyk | EURACTIV.pl)
German agriculture has met its 2020 climate targets set by the Climate Protection Act. The emissions data, presented by the country’s environment ministry on Tuesday (16 March), showed that agricultural emissions fell by 2.2% to 66 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalents, below its target of 70 million metric tonnes. Agriculture minister Julia Klöckner was pleased with the results, saying it shows that “agriculture is living up to its responsibility for climate protection.” German Farmers’ Association General Secretary Bernard Krüsken echoed similar sentiments in a press release, writing “The current climate data underlines the commitment of farmers to climate and resource protection.” (Sarah Lawton |EURACTIV.de)
The French Council of State has judged the temporary reauthorisation of neonicotinoids in the beetroot sector to be in line with French and European law. The use of neonicotinoids has been forbidden in France since 2018. However, as the beetroot sector was devastated by jaundice – a virus passed to the plants by aphids – last year, the government has recently backpaddled, authorising exceptions in case of extraordinary circumstances with a new law in December. French agricultural ministers, as well as those of the ‘ecological transition’, issued a decree in early February reauthorising the use of neonicotinoids in the beetroot sector for the duration of 120 days. Three associations have seized the Council of State in an attempt to see this controversial decree quashed. But in view of a new “massive infestation” by virus-carrying aphids this spring, as well as a “lack of other reasonable means to master the danger”, the exemption granted by the said decree, is deemed lawful by the Council which has decided to reject the demand. (Magdalena Pistorius | EURACTIV.fr)
Italy’s Apulia region is on a war footing with the neighbour Campania, as its local government has filed a request to grant peeled tomato of Naples the status of protected geographical indication (IGP). However, tomatoes are mostly processed in Campania, while 90% of the national production of these ‘long’ tomato variety comes from Foggia province, in Apulia. “We will not step back,” said Apulia’s councillor for agriculture Donato Pentassuglia, adding they are preparing the dossier to oppose the request. (EURACTIV.com)
The UK government’s 10-week consultation on gene editing came to a close this week. The consultation is thought likely to open the UK’s doors to the technology, which has been welcomed by the country’s National Farmers Union (NFU). In their response in the consultation, the farmers’ union outlined that they “believe new precision breeding techniques, such as gene editing, could protect crops and animals from pests and disease, help deliver net zero and allow farmers to produce more home-grown food.” NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said: “The underlying principle of this consultation is that some new breeding techniques such as gene editing are not the same scientifically as genetic modification (GM) and should therefore not be regulated in the same way, an approach already used in several countries around the world and one the NFU supports.” (Natasha Foote | EURACTIV.com)
The latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures released on goods exports and imports in January 2021 show the “immediate impact” of Brexit on trade, according to Fianna Fáil. This includes a reduction of the total imports of food and live animals by €225 million (-35%) to €421 million in January 2021. Exports of food and live animals decreased by €140 million (-16%) to €736 million. (Natasha Foote | EURACTIV.com)
22-23 March – There is an AGRIFISH Council meeting where EU agriculture and fisheries ministers will meet to discuss fishing opportunities for stocks shared with the United Kingdom, the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and measures against plant pests. See here for details.
22-26 March – The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD), in close cooperation with the European Commission, is organising a virtual event – ‘Rural Vision Week: Imagining the future of Europe’s rural areas’ between 22 and 26 March 2021. See here for details.
24 March – There is an event on the contribution of the agrifood sector to Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. See here for more information.
24 March – There is a webinar on the use and potential reauthorisation of glyphosate. See here for details.
26 March – A ‘super trilogue’ will take place between all three rapporteurs in the European parliament to seek a breakthrough in Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) talks. See here for background.