HomeMarketsOrganic imports, partial reverse to MiPAAF. #Clean shovels

Organic imports, partial reverse to MiPAAF. #Clean shovels

The MiPAAF - which under Coldiretti's order had tried to impose a regime of extraordinary controls on organic imports, in contrast with EU rules - was finally forced to make a partial reverse.

The umpteenth ugly figure of a heterodirect dicastery, indeed 'Coldiretto', which in a few weeks caused an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with its partner commercial, from the Swiss Alps to the Andes. But the matter is not yet resolved. #Clean shovels.

Organic imports, the MiPAAF decree of shame

The MiPAAF decree 24.2.21, as has been denounced by many parties, would have unnecessarily put all the supply chains in crisis Made in Italy who process bananas, soybeans, cocoa, coffee, tea and other organic raw materials not even available in the beautiful country. (1) By establishing a protectionist regime that would have forced the execution of reinforced customs controls, with multi-residual analyzes on individual consignments. On the basis of risks defined a priori and 'head-on', in contrast with both the criteria established in the EU and with the agreements established with some partner commercial.

The consequences of this provision would have been very serious. In addition to diverting the Customs Agency from its priority control activities - obviously without agreeing to increase the resources at its disposal - Ministerial Decree 24.2.21 would have penalized Italian importers and ports compared to those of other Member States, causing relocations and job losses also in the logistics, transformation and related industries. With inevitable repercussions on the competitiveness of Italian companies and on the consumer prices of organic foods.

Diplomatic crisis

It is not known whether the European Commission, at least for once, has ordered the Italian government to repeal yet another provision in clear conflict with European law. That would be good news, given the damage to Italian operators already caused by rules contrary to EU rules. Two cases out of all, the expiration date imposed a priori on fresh milk (cause of returns and food waste) and the location of the plant on the label. Both cases ignored by both Brussels andombudsman, (2,3) only the second resolved by the Court of Rome. (4)

It certainly is that Ministerial Decree 24.2.21 triggered the immediate reaction of the diplomats of a series of non-EU countries, including Switzerland, Egypt, Tunisia, Ecuador. And the lesson offered on 1.4.21 by the Embassy of Peru in Italy to the MiPAAF and to the MAE (Ministry for Foreign Affairs) is exemplary. A dutiful reference to the law in force among the member countries of the World Trade Organization which, at least in this case, serves to protect the rights of farmers and the value of agroecology. Rights proclaimed by the UN (2018), which the FAO has also urged to implement (2019) and the MiPAAF 'Coldiretto' continues to ignore (5,6,7).

International law and civilization, Andean lesson

'The aforementioned legislation (…) Would not have been, at a preliminary stage, presented through the established World Trade Organization (WTO) mechanisms. (...)

The aforementioned decree disadvantages the development of organic production invoked by the 'Green Pact' [Green Deal, ed] and the strategy 'From the Farm to the Table' [Farm to Fork, ed] of the European Union, and the natural cooperation that should exist bilaterally, prejudicingFurthermore, multiple organizations of small producers, which are making great efforts to maintain the international supply of food products, such as quinoa, coffee or cocoa, among others, under strict controls for production and export'(letter from the Embassy of Peru to MiPAAF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1.4.21. See Annex).

Organic imports, debate at the MiPAAF

The 8.4.21 MiPAAF officials delegated to manage the boiling point dossier on organic imports, they therefore had to organize an online conference of the 'joint technical table on organic farming'. And the thirty associations that participate in it - representing the operators in Italy in the organic supply chain, as well as the agricultural and industrial sectors - were thus able to discuss the critical issues of the Ministerial Decree 24.2.21. MiPAAF manager Roberta Cafiero herself agreed 'on the advisability of transmitting the risk analysis prepared by Italy to the European Commission'. (8)

The only voice in favor of the decree published in the Official Gazette, ca va sans dire, is that of Coldiretti. Its manager Francesco Giardina noted that 'the decree is in line with the national provisions on organic farming, which are generally more restrictive than the implementing regulations in force in other European countries.'Highlighting that'Italian producers are particularly affected by the massive presence on the market of organic products imported at low cost from third countries'. An autarchic rhetoric that recalls that of the tragic twenty years of the last century, with good peace of law and civilization invoked by Switzerland in the Andes.

MiPAAF, partial reverse

The diplomatic crisis evidently forced Francesco Saverio Abate - Head of the Department of Competitive Policies, Agri-food Quality, Horse Racing and Fishing, at the MiPAAF - to partially reverse the orders of Coldiretti. On 13.5.21 the participants in the Technical Table were informed as follows'that a ministerial decree abrogating and replacing Ministerial Decree 91718/2021 is being published in the Official Gazette, which suspends the application of the provisions relating to mandatory sampling to be carried out on imported batches, as per letter b) of annex 2'.

However, some critical issues remain which mainly penalize SMEs. That is to say the obligation to undergo two annual checks for anyone who, in 2019, has carried out at least five operations import (even only a few kg of goods), or has imported even a single batch> 1 t (where an Apecar has a capacity of 0,7 t), or that it imports both organic and conventional products. Three checks a year, in cases of recurrence of two of these factors. A tax on organic imports - between 500 and 1.500 € / year approximately - which can also affect an artisan producer of Modica chocolate IGP.

Fair trade?

'I just can not stop to think of the thousands of farmers who have been working for years with Italian import companies of Fairtrade certified products and organic. They have invested a lot to build solid and reliable supply chains, to give us a high quality product, today they are reliable and long-term business partners and this legislation, although designed for other origins, penalizes them a lot.

This decree it also penalizes Italian companies that import and transform their products, historical partners of Fairtrade such as Alce Nero, OrganicSur who have worked so hard and continue to work hard to offer Italian consumers good and sustainable products!

To 'protect' Italian products, raw materials that are not grown by us are penalized, not to mention that this legislation highlights non-compliance with European regulations on the circulation of goods.

We reported this nonsense to Mipaaf, but we have not yet received an answer: Minister Patuanelli, what are we waiting for?'(Paolo Pastore, executive director of Fairtrade Italy)

#Clean shovels

The Council of Ministers has just reconfirmed to the Ministry of Agriculture three department heads who have long held top positions in via XX Settembre 20. (9) And the MiPAAF has been suffering from dangerous interference for too long, as this and other events show.

While Europe loosens its controls on imports of the generality of composite products (with processed ingredients of animal origin, e.g. biscuits, ice creams, sauces with egg products and dairy products, etc. See note 10), the MiPAAF 'Coldiretto' is now relentless on bananas and coffee Fairtrade with unconstitutional rules. (1)

Stefano Patuanelli, it's time to move on. To ascertain responsibility for violations of the law, stop conflicts of interest (one above all, the director of AGEA. See note 11), rigorously supervise public proclamations. (12) #Clean shovels.

Dario Dongo


(1) Dario Dongo. Import of organic products from third countries, DM 24.2.21 and EU rules. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 25.3.21/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/importazione-prodotti-biologici-da-paesi-terzi-dm-24-2-21-e-regole-ue

(2) Dario Dongo. Food waste, our battle over fresh milk. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 24.7.19/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/sprechi-alimentari-la-nostra-battaglia-sul-latte-fresco

(3) Dario Dongo. Farm to fork, appeal by the meat and dairy industries to the European Commission. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 5.3.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/farm-to-fork-appello-delle-industrie-di-carni-e-latticini-alla-commissione-europea

(4) Dario Dongo, Francesca Agostini. Headquarters of the establishment and origin decrees, possible actions for damages. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements). 20.1.19/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.foodagriculturerequirements.com/archivio-notizie/sede-stabilimento-e-decreti-origine-possibili-azioni-di-risarcimento-danni

(5) Dario Dongo. Rights of the peasants, UN Declaration. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 23.11.08/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/diritti-dei-contadini-dichiarazione-onu

(6) Dario Dongo, Camilla Fincardi. Agroecology, SDGs, salvation. The FAO Decalogue. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 12.4.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/agroecologia-sdgs-salvezza-il-decalogo-della-fao

(7) Dario Dongo, Giulia Caddeo. Popular campaign for peasant agriculture, pending the law. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 6.9.19/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/campagna-popolare-per-l-agricoltura-contadina-in-attesa-della-legge

(8) Organic: tightening of controls on imports from third countries. The Coldiretti point. 27.2.21, https://www.ilpuntocoldiretti.it/attualita/ambiente/biologico-stretta-sui-controlli-allimport-dai-paesi-terzi%E2%80%8B/

(9) Mipaaf, Cdm resolution confirms Abate, Assenza and Blasi department heads. Agriculture.eu. 13.5.21, https://www.agricolae.eu/mipaaf-cdm-delibera-conferma-abate-assenza-e-blasi-capi-dipartimento/

(10) EU Reg. 2021/630

(11) Dario Dongo. AGEA - Coldiretti, the European Commission rejects the conflict of interest. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 24.3.21/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/agea-coldiretti-la-commissione-europea-boccia-il-conflitto-d-interessi

(12) Dario Dongo. Breeding system and biodiversity, public disarray. #Clean shovels. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 31.3.21/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/sistema-allevamento-e-biodiversità-sbando-pubblico-vanghepulite


Letter from the Embassy of Peru to MiPAAF - Department of Competitive Policies, Agri-food Quality, Horse Racing and Fisheries - and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, 1.4.21

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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