Minister Patuanelli takes the debate to the Agriculture Council of the European Union.
The Italian Minister for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (MiPAAF), Stefano Patuanelli, met a few days ago with the president and the director of the Italian Fish Farmers Association (API) to discuss, among many other issues, the measures to be applied to counteract the effects that the serious crisis that has culminated in the war in Ukraine is having on Italian aquaculture.
The API, through its president, Pier Antonio Salvador, and its director, Andrea Fabris, has requested, among other things, that the minister intervene with the Government to support the aquaculture sector with aid or through compensation; it also asks that the definition of energy-intensive companies be extended to aquaculture companies, where the incidence of electricity costs and annual consumption are very high.
In addition, the directors of the Italian entity requested that the government facilitate the access of aquaculture companies to financing for the production of energy from renewable sources.
Drastic increase in production costs
The API president recalled the importance of aquaculture in the agri-food sector, as well as the need to reassess the indications expressed by the Green Deal and the European Farm to Fork strategy, in the light of the current European and global political situation, also in terms of food supply. IPA recalled that Italy already imports more than 70% of the fish products consumed by its inhabitants.
During the meeting, which was also attended by the Director General of Fisheries and Maritime Aquaculture (Pemac), Riccardo Rigillo, the peculiarities and operability of fish farming in fresh, brackish and marine waters were reiterated, which even in difficult times like the current ones “cannot stop” its activity.
The meeting paid great attention to the measures that can be activated by the Government and MiPAAF to support the sector, especially to counteract the drastic increase in production costs.
As highlighted by API members, “the significant increase in the price of natural gas has a direct impact on the cost of electricity and fuel for transport and shipping; indirectly, the increase in the price of energy has a strong impact on other production costs, in particular on the supply of feed, liquid oxygen and logistics”.
The meeting, which from the API described as “cordial”, concluded with an invitation to the minister to participate in upcoming events and exhibitions of the entity to meet directly with fish farmers and other operators in the sector.
The debate within the EU Agriculture Council.
A few days after the meeting, the central topics of the European Union (EU) Agriculture Council held in Brussels were the agri-food market situation following the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the identification of measures to ensure food security in Europe in the aftermath of the crisis.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a sharp increase in raw material prices and has had an impact on the supply and demand for agricultural products, in fact changing the assumptions that led to the drafting of the Strategic Plan.
During the debate, Minister Patuanelli stressed the need to proceed quickly with the approval of the National Strategic Plans of the CAP, but at the same time called for a common strategy to adapt the plans to the crisis situation affecting the whole of Europe.
Among the proposals of the Italian minister are the implementation of a transitional regime until the first year of implementation of the new CAP in 2023, the temporary suspension of some measures such as the increase in coupled aid and the adoption of an exceptional regime of rotations and set-aside. In this context, the minister has underlined Italy’s support for the European strategy aimed at increasing the production of vegetable proteins, in line with the provisions of the Green New Deal.