Interpoma: EU MEP calls for more crop insurance, more associations

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Interpoma: EU MEP calls for more crop insurance, more associations

New EU regulations may incentivize farmers to form associations and get crop insurance, while a U.S.-inspired model for pesticide approvals may also be on the cards. 


MEP Herbert Dorfmann

A Member of European Parliament has pointed to several shortcomings in the old continent compared to the U.S. in terms of agricultural policy, but also believes Italy's South Tyrol region can serve as a successful model for efficient and productive fruit production through associations.

The region is playing host to biennial international apple industry event Interpoma in Bolzano this week, which has attracted participants from over 70 countries.

During the event this morning, MEP Herbert Dorfmann drew particular attention to measures that may change the face of European fruit production through a simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) known as the "Omnibus Regulation".

"With the latest reform the incentive for insurance is moved to the second pillar of the CAP so it can be included in rural development programs," said Dorfmann, who belongs to the Christian Democrats and is a member on the EU Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

"At the moment there are few European countries exploiting these opportunities," he said, mentioning in fruit industry there were examples of anti-hail insurance for example.

"So far it’s only Italy and Spain that are using this insurance."

He said the reforms contemplate reducing the industry share in insurance programs from 30% to 20%, while bolstering the role of consortia or associations for the defense of farmers.

"There we would have the opportunity to put together difference insurance programs with the help of the European Union," he said, highlighting there were still many parts of Europe, such as Poland, where very few sector associations existed. 

"I am convinced we can get a better system."

Dorfmann said he hoped South Tyrol could serve as a model for the formation of new associations throughout the European Union.

Another key element for the EU fruit industry's future is sustainability, and to achieve this Dorfmann said faster processes were needed for the approval of biopesticides.

He said it was difficult for crop protection countries and growers when it took five to seven years to get products approved.

"The Americans are better than us," he said, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) risk assessment procedures where a product is first determined as low risk or high risk, and if it's low risk the approval process takes a maximum of three years.

"In Europe we would like to do the same," he said, mentioning the issue would be voted on in the EU Parliament early next year.

"I'm fully convinced that alternative natural pesticides are an advantage not only for organic farming but also conventional farming." was a guest of the Italian Trade Agency, which invited more than 80 buyers and journalists to the trade fair.

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