Last 14 November, the website of the Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies posted the so-called “Ham Decree” which regulates the supply of thighs for PDO and PGI products on the domestic market. As highlighted in the measure, the regions where more than 50% of companies processing meat with such designations are affected, which in turn involves 50% of production. The protagonists are the Tutelage consortia for products such as San Daniele and Parma ham, which are responsible for the preparation and approval of production plans.
The text has left a sour taste in the mouth of many players in the pork industry. Starting from livestock farmers, who unanimously complained that they were not consulted in the decision-making process set in motion at ministry level. Among these, even Unapros, the Association that brings together five Italian pig producer organisations, namely: Opas, Assocom, Asser, Aps Piemonte and Suinmarche, has made its voice heard. “In principle, we substantially agree with the dispositions in the Ham Decree,” President Lorenzo Fontanesi explained to Eurocarne Post. “There has been talk about programming PDO and PGI supply since the sector protocol defined in 2007. What was lacking, however, was the involvement of all the various players in the sector”.
The problem that Fontanesi wants to bring to the attention of legislators is quite clear. “The management of PDO and PGI consortia,” the President of Unapros went on, “does not include breeders who are only involved at an advisory level. We simply cannot continue producing in this way. Supply planning must be made at the origin of production to avoid economic repercussions throughout the supply chain. For this reason, we demand that we should be involved in the decision-making process and be considered on a par level with processors”.
PDO and PGI ham production is experiencing a period of decline in consumption, mainly because of the economic crisis that encourages consumers to choose products without recognised designations but also because of export problems. “We must,” Fontanesi added, “ensure a fair spread between supply and demand for protected products. From this point of view, the Ministerial Decree is an appropriate instrument but becomes powerless unless it promotes comparisons within the supply chain, which in turn can help define a way out of this stalemate”.
In conclusion, the demands of trade associations such as Unapros are clear. “We are asking for more involvement in the decisions of tutelage consortia,” the President concludes, “and better representation - and not only on a formal level - within consortia boards of directors. All kinds of regulatory instruments can be defined but without comparisons on an equal footing involving all players, the entire chain will find itself thrown into a nightmare and endless crisis”.
Source: Eurocarne Outlook