The keynote speech on the 60th anniversary of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) was delivered by the Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. He addressed many subjects, discussing about the influence of energy prices on general economy, but most importantly, he presented the achievement of a long-time goal: 2014 was the first year when Europe reached the rank of “largest exporter of agricultural produce in the world“.The reason why EU got an edge over big producers and exporters such as US is the quality and the high-standard products exported from Europe.
Hogan returned to the idea of reform in the food supply chain, recommitting himself, and the domain he represents, to the promise of fighting for fair return to all contributor of the chain. He emphasized the significance of farmers as first-hand producers, and therefore, as the source of all downstream businesses in the agriculture department. The Commissioner discussed the problem of high prices in fertilizers and promised to oppose the raising of input costs, especially considering the recent fall in energy prices.
Following Italy in charge of the European Council, Latvia started its own six-month presidency with a fresh perspective. Among their priorities, Latvia listed agricultural progress in the top, making sure that EU legislation gives farmers the opportunity for optimum growth.
Another important decision is advancing the organics file. The Italian presidency was already warned on a six months term of reaching an agreement, or else the file gets discredited. Finally, the Latvian administration will guide the EU in raising the milk production by the end of March.
EU’s agriculture exports went through the roof in the first 10 months of 2014 on most dairy products categories. However, China remained the main exporter world-wide, even though milk powders and butter products have seen a sure deceleration.
This week will bring a new measure of allowing individual nations to prohibit genetically modified crops on their territory without having to consult with the European Food Safety Authority. The reasons for the ban are various, including preserving natural habitats or beautiful landscapes. Either way, even if the law does not pass, Member States will still have the authority of stopping the growing of GM crops. But if the legislation passes, it will become operative this very year.
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