Voices 04/02/2013

Agriculture back at the center of the production system

During Monti’s Governement, the agri-food system was at the center of attention. Nobody, till now, had paid so much attention to agriculture. I can say with particular satisfaction that there has been a quality jump in the approach to the sector. The problematic issues of agriculture often have been discussed by Monti himself: an absolute novelty in the relations between the political and agricultural worlds. Moreover in the past, several Ministers of agriculture interpreted their own role only by simply working in relation to Brussels. The agricultural policy was lived only in relation to Eu decisions. We made our best to propose a national agricultural policy.

Among the goals reached during this period I would like to mention, first of all, the adoption of the new policy on renewable energies. We have rewritten the sector’s policy, firstly by an emergency intervention to zero out the incentives for the photovoltaic on agricultural surfaces, then with a decree that has totally changed the incentive’s philosophy. Secondly we have addressed the issue of the rationalisation of the relations of the supply chain, introducing certain terms for payments and written contracts for all transactions. Naturally, the norms can be better directed towards the sector’s needs. I also want to mention the work done on the CAP negotiation in Brussels, underlining how we managed to reach an agreement on the “Quality package” and “Milk package.

Returning to the present the 7th and 8th of February there is a key event for the CAP: the European Council, in which we will return to discuss the European budget. Last November, President Monti asked me to accompany him, he asked me to do so also on this occasion. We are going there to support our opinion, since we consider the budget allocated to agriculture inadequate. We do not consider satisfactory the current state, we are going to Brussels with the firm determination to defend national interests

"With regard to future commitments - Catania said - I definitely want to, in any role I can do it, contribute to the approval of the bill against the overbuilding of agricultural land. This is an absolute disaster for the country, which was cemented in an unsustainable manner. Now we have to defend what remains of our landscape. We must also think of new measures to support the income of our farmers, that ensure the increased functionality of the supply chain. Finally - Catania explained - we have to continue working for the protection of the Made in Italy. The battle on the protection and traceability of the product cannot be solved with one or two laws, the battle has been going on for many years and is been fought in several fields. We must do more both in the WTO that in the EU."

di Mario Catania