A MAIZALL delegation conducted a successful mission to Germany and Brussels during the week of May 15, 2022. The delegation was led by Paulo Bertolini, MAIZALL’s President, and included Directors Federico Zerboni and Darren Armstrong and members of staff Andrew Brandt (U.S. Grains Council), Angus Kelly (National Corn Growers Association) and Benno van der Laan (MAIZALL Coordinator).
The objective of the meetings was to share with officials and private sector groups MAIZALL’s messages on food security, the sustainable nature of maize farming in the MAIZALL countries, the need for farmers to have access to technology (biotechnology in particular), as well as the importance of science-based decision-making and open international trade. A secondary goal was to obtain direct information and insights on the main drivers of- and the latest information on agricultural and trade policies in the EU. We also exchanged information on the market situation.
The delegation met with key government officials and trade associations in Berlin and Brussels, as well as with farmers in Germany. Many contacts stressed the importance of MAIZALL farmers to tell their stories in Europe.
Farmers in Europe seem to be mostly on the defensive in the face of strict regulation and the Farm to Fork Strategy, which stress the need to reduce inputs like fertilizers and plant protection products rather than the opportunities offered by innovation and technology. Even in the light of the current food security and affordability crisis, the European Commission, in particular DG SANTE, is holding on to its Farm To Fork Strategy, whereas its Commissioner for Agriculture and several EU Member States have indicated that a review of the Farm to Fork Strategy is needed. However, it became clear during the mission that we can expect continued attempts by the EU to try and ‘export’ to the rest of the world its approach to agricultural policies and regulation, for example through the ‘mirror policy’ which provides that agricultural imports would in the future need to meet the EU’s environmental and animal health standards.
MAIZALL’s Directors made it clear to all our interlocutors during this mission that maize farmers in Argentina, Brazil and the U.S. remain convinced about the benefits of biotechnology and other technologies associated with their sustainable farming techniques, and will not be changing their operational methods.