The Slovenia Times

President Addresses Opening of Jubilee AGRA Fair


"We have a medium-term strategy for the development of agriculture and food production, and this strategy has showed us our main strategic tasks," the president said, emphasising the need for better self-sufficiency in food and development of rural areas.

Both tasks require determined efforts to overcome the difficult challenges. In self-sufficiency, Slovenia has made steps backward, which means many things must be done to achieve what is a common European goal, Türk said.

Agriculture Minister Franc Bogovič also addressed the opening, stressing the need for the European agricultural policy to mount an effective response to the problems and overcome obstacles created by the financial and economic crisis, the increasingly volatile food prices, climate change and the loss of biodiversity. But at the same time, measures must be designed so as to protect natural resources, especially water, farmland and soil.

According to the minister, EU reform proposals on support to vulnerable areas, better farmer organisation, support to local farming, short supply chains and protection of high-quality products are a step in the right direction.

A panel of experts debated the effects of Croatia's EU membership as part of the fair opening today, agreeing that Croatia's membership can be an opportunity for Slovenian farmers, especially with regards to existing ties that have been formed as part of former Yugoslavia.

While effects are difficult to pin down, much will depend on the Slovenian industry and farmers themselves, Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Branko Ravnik stressed.

MEP and presidential hopeful Milan Zver meanwhile said the opening of markets will be a certain shock for Croatia. But he believes Croatia's EU membership can not present a major problem from Slovenia in the field of agriculture.

The fair, held on 68,300 m2 of exhibition space, features 1,720 exhibitors from 32 countries and over 60 presentations and panels, as well as the presentation of reviews of 1,142 products of 336 producers from nine countries. Organisers have already given out medals of quality to over 900 of those products.

Apart from achievements in agriculture, the fair also marks the 50th anniversary of the common European agricultural policy and the 140th anniversary of cooperatives.

Organisers also plan to put emphasis on projects promoting Slovenian agriculture, such as "I'm Buying Slovenian", as well as organic and regional products and foods. The fair will run until 30 August.


More from Nekategorizirano