TRADE AND MARKET I NG New practical impetus for European trade at the Europatat conference sises. He also observes the need for the EU to make choices about which diseases are prioritised for action in the 28 Member States. ‘We have to evaluate this annually on the basis of surveys and other inspections’, says Arijs. In order to implement measures in the Member States, there is a possibility to obtain co-financing from Brussels. DG-SANTE also wants to reduce the administrative costs. An example of this is to combine the plant passport and the certificate label. This will soon become an EU-wide document. It’s also necessary to set up a European list of pests and diseases in order to achieve the further harmonisation of certification and rules. At this moment, Arijs is still working on an international standard list, where the EU distinguishes between Quarantine organisms, significantly high risk, regulated non-quarantine organisms (RNQP) and protected zones (ZP-Q). ‘When a Q-organism has been identified, spreading of information is then the next important action point for the sector. In doing so, professionals must inform all those concerned locally as well as the general public. This applies especially to diseases with a high impact, because the consequences can be enormous’, Arijs knows. In order to get a quick grip on the spreading of diseases, the EU leader wants to carry out a comprehensive study in Europe’s own backyard to know exactly what’s going on. Co-financing from the EU is also possible here. He says that the EU has already invested 30 million euros, for example, in tracing the Epitrix quarantine organism. Research on this subject is currently still being carried out on a voluntary basis, but will become compulsory after 2019. Arijs indicates that there are 250 known quarantine diseases. ‘We’re going to intensify this by year and by sector, so we’ll try to clean up the backyard step-by-step and keep imports under control’, Arijs explains the approach. Subsequently, all Member States will soon need to have plans ready on what to do in the event of an outbreak of Q-organisms. DG-AGRI Director Lene Naesager indicates that there are also excellent opportunities for potatoes to benefit from the promotional funds. extensive knowledge of the subject, his organisation was able to ensure that the fund complied with EU requirements. ‘EU co-financing for the destruction of material has been available from 1 January 2017. We’re proud that the EU has taken over our system and it’s now possible for growers in the event of a calamity to have 50% of the costs of destroying their potatoes reimbursed by the EU’, explains Van Herzele. Translating EU legislation per Member State Lieven Van Herzele mentions the Belgian Plant Health Fund as an example of how Belgians have already translated the new European plant health legislation and its impact on the potato sector into national legislation. As a member of the Belgian Federal Public Service for Public Health, Food Chain Safety and the Environment, he indicates that the Solidarity Fund has existed since 2004 and was set up to compensate potato growers for the loss of their harvests due to the outbreak of ring rot. At this moment, in addition to ring rot, the diseases brown rot, meloidogyne chitwoodi, wart disease and potato spindle tuber viroid fall under the regulation. In order to finance this project, Belgian growers voluntarily pay 24.12 euros per hectare of seed potatoes and 12.12 euros per hectare of consumption potatoes. ‘The contribution is paid by 98% of growers. Since its establishment, more than 1.5 million euros have been paid out in 70 cases’, Van Herzele has calculated. As Van Herzele is represented in several European committees and therefore has EU promotion contributions are increasing annually According to Lene Naesager, the EU’s promotion policy aims to increase the market share of food produced in the EU, with a particular focus on countries outside the EU with high growth potential. In her short introduction, the DG-AGRI Director indicates that there are also excellent opportunities for potatoes to benefit from the promotional funds. ‘It’s possible to receive up to 80% subsidy for promotion plans. The budgets for the coming years will also increase from 142 million euros in 2018 to 197 million euros in 2019’, she explains openly. However, she’s also straight in saying that it’s not so easy to obtain the subsidy. ‘Every application is reviewed according to strict, established criteria’, she explains. As an example of a potato action to which the EU has contributed, the chief executive mentions the Belgian Boem-patat promotion campaign. So it’s possible to receive promotional contributions for potatoes. Serious consequences of Brexit for export of French fries Although the negotiations between Great Britain and the EU are still in full swing with a (possibly rather optimistic) view to wrapping up the separation by 29 March 2019, in his role of chief editor of the weekly newsletter Potatomarkets, Porter expects Brexit to have a major impact on the European potato trade. ‘Of course, the EU is now stronger in its negotiations since Prime Minister Theresa May has lost her absolute majority in the British Parliament. The EU’s aim is to round off Brexit as soon as possible. The Union wants to maintain strong ties, but it doesn’t want to create disadvantages for the 42 Potato World 2017 • number 4 Pagina 41

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