European dairy farmers have been protesting in light of the challenges facing milk producers at risk from falling milk prices. While oversupply in the EU market means cheaper milk for consumers, there is also concern that this would lead to more aggressive export policies towards developing and emerging countries. Sieta van Keimpema, Vice-President of the European Milk Board (EMB) noted, “the current system and the current policy have failed, plunging European dairy farmers into the abyss. (…) It is the same in every EU country. Putting the blame on individual countries or farmers is wrong, because they are all struggling with the same problem.” In the current situation where the volume produced in the market exceeds demand produces a negative effect on prices, many stakeholders strongly believe that EU production must be adapted to counter the threat to dairy farmers’ livelihoods throughout Europe.
At the Sub-regional Workshop on Branding and the Use of Geographical Indications (GIs) in the Development of Management Strategies for Origin-Linked Products in Jamaica, Caribbean experts highlighted the importance of protecting intellectual property(IP), and the links this had for the region's economic development. The European Union (EU) – as a major advocate of the use of GI, such as Cognac, Roquefort cheese, Parma ham - provided financial assistance to the Caribbean Export Development Agency, as well as support through the programmes linked to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and CARIFORUM to develop the use of GI's across the Caribbean. Promising GI's include Grenada Nutmeg and “Toledo cacao”, Trinidad and Tobago Cocoa and Antigua Black Pineapple and Jamaican Jerk.
The 32nd edition of the Luanda International Fair (Filda/FIL) got underway this week with the participation of 40 countries and territories and 930 national and international exhibitors. Participants of the four day long fair have come from Brazil, Japan, Spain, France, India, Turkey, Zambia, Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, China, Indonesia and Macau. The Germany/Angola and Angola/Italy economic forums on Agriculture and Food Industry are expected to be among the main highlights. Salvador Cardoso, director of institutional relations for the fair explained, “Germany is this year’s special guest country and has strengthened its participation, with 28 companies of international renown, some of which already operate in the country.”
The EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II, which was reformed in 2012 may be under attack from the financial sector to restart food speculation, according to Oxfam. The NGO is accusing the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) of watering down the directive , so much so that the latest looks like “a wishlist” for banks and insurance. David Hachfeld, an expert on the economy and globalisation at Oxfam Germany says, “The financial sector has successfully inserted numerous exceptions and loopholes. As a result, the original goal of lawmakers, to prevent market distortions and price fluctuations has been undermined (…) There is reason to fear that the hunger for profit among powerful finance actors may continue to lead to price explosions in agriculture-related commodities.”
The Committee on International Trade has published its report following the official mission to ItalyPort of Genoa and EXPO Milano. It notes, “with the EU being the world’s biggest trader in agri-food products and their leading importer from developing countries, the visit permitted to focus on the impact of the Union’s commercial policy on food security and safety, including FTAs and trade legislation on market access, safeguards, customs, trade facilitation external tariffs and quotas, autonomous trade preferences and protection of geographical indicators.”The joint AGRI, INTA and ITRE Press Conference also highlighted the need to strengthen rules-based WTO system and finalise the Doha Round.
As part of its support for the development of self-assessment systems in ACP countries, EDES has been requested to provide technical assistance and support in the design, publishing and provision of specific guides by sector. 12 self-assessment sector guides have been supported to date. They concern various sectors: Cameroon: Coffee industry; Kenya: Fish industries, Passion Fruit and peas / beans; Senegal: Fish industry and Mango; Ghana: Cocoa industry; Maurice: Pineapple chains and Poultry industries; Côte d'Ivoire: Fresh mango and dried mango sector; Botswana: Livestock sector; Zambia: Honey industry.
The environment, public health and food safety (ENVI) and the agriculture and rural affairs (AGRI) committees have backed plans to ban the cloning of farm animals, as well as preventing their descendants and clone-derived products appearing in the EU market. ENVI co-rapporteur Renate Sommer, said, "Due to the negative effects on animal welfare, cloning for farming purposes is rejected by a large majority of consumers. Furthermore, we do not need cloning to ensure meat supplies in the EU.(…) the ban should apply not only to clones themselves but also to their reproductive material (semen and embryos), their descendants and any products derived from them, including imports." The report calls for import certificates for animals, including animal germinal products and food and feed of animal origin coming into the European market to prove that they are not clones or the descendants of cloned animals.
At the 3397th Council meeting Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 16 June 2015, the Presidency briefed the Council on the International Year of Plant Health 2020. At the ninth session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-9) of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) it was proposed to examine the possibility of declaring an International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). A study concluded that an IYPH would be possible at the earliest in the year 2020. Several member states and the Commission agreed with the Presidency that the IYPH would have a substantial impact on public and political awareness of plant health.
The 3397th Council meeting Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 16 June 2015 took stock of Commission reports regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin for milk and dairy products and certain types of meat, unprocessed foods and single ingredient products. Some member states supported the principle of country of origin indication, while others considered that the benefit of providing this additional information to the consumer should be balanced with the cost of the measures for the agri-food sectors concerned. Two reports regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin for: (i) types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry, milk and milk used as an ingredient in dairy products; (ii) unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food.
The 3397th Council meeting Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 16 June 2015 reached agreement on a general approach on a proposal for a regulation on organic farming. The proposal is aimed at revising the existing legislation on organic production and labelling of organic products so as to remove obstacles to the development of organic production in the EU, guarantee fair competition for farmers and operators and improve consumer confidence in organic products. The agreement on organic production and labelling of organic products will make it possible to launch negotiations between the Parliament and the Council with a view to reaching a political agreement between the EU institutions.