18 July 2012 News

When the Ministers of Agriculture of Bavaria and Emilia Romagna come together, two of the major agricultural regions of Europe share their views on the future of the quality agricultural policy.

Tiberio Rabboni, Minister of Agriculture of Emilia-Romagna and president of AREPO, was received by Helmut Brunner, the Bavarian Minister of Agriculture, in Munich. Bavaria is an observer member of AREPO. It was an opportunity for these two senior officials to exchange views on the reform of the CAP, the quality package, the recognition of the term mountain, the promotion policy for agricultural products, the development of organic farming and of local products.

This meeting allowed proving their convergence in the general objectives of a sustainable agricultural policy:

• increase the added value of agricultural production for producers

• allow the balanced development of regions, including the development of local markets.

These are two important agricultural regions in Europe, particularly in terms of quality: Emilia-Romagna, is the historic seat of some of the biggest productions of origin such as the Parmigiano Reggiano and Parma ham, and Bavaria, whose agricultural and food specialties were traditionally valorized by brands, but which also has 15 IGP and DOP including the world famous Bavarian beer.

The request of the producers of PGI and PDO products to intervene in the management of production volumes was discussed. This demand always blocked the completion of the trilogue with respect to the regulation on quality systems. It was finally transferred to the draft report on the single CMO by the MEP Michel Dantin. Helmut Brunner is interested in understanding how this proposal will not hinder the development of quality chains and will not be imposed on producers who have not yet begun production. AREPO, like all other organizations supporting the application, continues to explain the proposed mechanism, which should not be contrary to the laws of competition. A parallel must be draw with the device adopted in the milk package. By definition, there are no products similar to the PDO and PGI. Collective management cannot therefore lead to competition distortions with generics.

For his part, Minister Helmut Brunner emphasized the difference in the recognition by the German and Italian consumers of European quality schemes. PDO and PGI logos are relatively unknown in Germany. Bavaria therefore argues that the promotion of regional origin should also be possible, even with the support of Europe and hopes that a large majority of the members of AREPO will agree with such an approach and support it.

Besides the meeting with Minister Helmut Brunner, on the agenda of the visit of Tiberio Rabboni, there were meetings with Harald Ulmer, director of the Organic Agriculture Association of the State of Bavaria, with representatives of the Association for the Protection of agricultural origin and food (HAL) and with Mr Theodor Weber, Director General, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Bavaria.

At the bilateral level, the two regions decided to strengthen their collaboration in the development of organic agriculture, including research, innovation and promotion.
Helmut Brunner also invited Tiberio Rabboni to speak at a conference on local markets, to be held in Munich on October 8 as part of the Oktoberfest.