European Countries Seek Intervention On Rice Market
Italy, together with seven other countries, has requested urgent measures by the European Commission to support the European rice market.
Italy’s Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali (Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies), or MiPAAF, stated that it launched the initiative together with other leading rice European producing countries - France, Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Romania.
The agriculture ministers signed a strategic document with four fundamental demands. These include the activation of the safeguard clause for imports from less developed countries; the recognition of the specificity of the sector in the new Common Agricultural Policy; enhancing labelling models through initiatives to increase the consumption of rice produced in the EU; and conducting in-depth studies to assess the effects that these systems have on less-developed countries.
According to MiPAAF minister Maurizio Martina, preserving the income of Italian producers is the top priority, adding that Italy and Europe “can no longer afford a market imbalance caused by agreements that put our farmers at a disadvantage and are in danger of resetting European production”.
A recent market analysis since 1 September 2009, when full liberalisation of imports from less-developed countries began, shows a progressive increase of rice imports to the EU (+65% since the season 2008/2009), reaching a record 1.34 million tonnes in 2015/2016.
Over the same period there has also been a 45% increase in imports of rice in small packages, while European stocks have reached record levels (586,000 tonnes, 30% of the EU production).
Italian authorities have warned that, if these trends continue, there is a real risk that EU will become completely dependent on rice imports.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine