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Whisky, beautiful women and laboratories. Elisa Plumed

Banner-ecomercioagrarioThe Commissioner of Agriculture of the European Union, the Irish Phil Hogan, you must like whiskey. And I do not say this lightly, but because in his recent visit to Bogota (Colombia) at least has appointed two of his speeches, choosing it as an example of designation of origin.

Among the more than 3,400 there!

Colombia is the country that, in early February, visited a large group of Europeans with several objectives. On the one hand, the search for new markets to export food community; (And for that they have seized considerable budget of the new European food policy development: “Enjoy, it’s from Europe”).

In addition, closer trade ties with the Andean country, which since 2013 has a “wasted” free trade agreement with the European Union to which both parties intend to benefit more.

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Agreement on ecological products

Colombia’s main exports are concentrated in the mining-products, currently, with the oil crisis, they not pass through one of its best moments. As for the food industry, coffee, bananas and flowers are those with greater weight, which is why the Government of Colombia is interested in expanding its portfolio in the face of Europe.

“The EU is an expert in producing quality products and we want to import quality,” said Commissioner Hogan.

In this sense, Europe is insisting that organic and other quality marks (such as designations of origin or protected geographical indications) are the best gateway for Colombian products in Europe.

Therefore, the most important milestone has been reached in this visit to Bogota Hogan is the bilateral agreement on organic products, which are based on mutual recognition of each production standards and technical cooperation between the two sides.

Perhaps thanks to this agreement the Colombian public administration more support for organic production and give him a place in the macro-project launched in late 2015 by the Ministry of Agriculture: Planting Colombia. With it, it aspires to operate one million hectares in three years, investing over 400 million euros and create 264,000 jobs through crops like corn, soybeans, (conventional and GMO) cotton, fruits and vegetables , beef and fish production.

Although it may be a good idea (and I’ll leave) promoting Colombian organic production with a specific plan linked to indigenous communities (in many cases reluctant to use chemical materials) and creating a quality seal that links ecological with a ancestral indigenous production quality, which, of course, in the European markets, would be more than exotic.

Visiting Cali

After visiting Bogota, the European mission traveled to Cali “Why are we going to Cali? Because we want to know other business opportunities, more markets, see beyond the capacity of the capital of Colombia, “he explained Hogan.

Colombian Vice Minister of Agricultural Affairs, Juan Pablo Pineda, explained to the Irish “Cali is the land of salsa and beautiful women,” something that Hogan was pleased. “Do not you know!” He exclaimed.

In the Valle del Cauca capital, after meeting with several governors and businessmen from neighboring regions, the European mission visited the International Laboratory for Tropical Agriculture, CIAT. “In addition to the peace laboratories in which the EU has participated, also want to meet other laboratories,” said Agriculture Commissioner.

And the Irish, was very sensitive for the peace process in Colombia, a situation which, not long ago, spent his own country, Ireland.

According to Hogan, you must first make peace, and then develop trade, which is the heartbeat of a healthy economy. Thus, the Commissioner stressed in a message: “The European Union is open to do business and we want to help Colombia in its rural development”.

Bid Deputy Agricultural Affairs willingly took and raised the goal of “Europe goes from being the second largest trading partner at first.”

Time will tell. Currently already it started a good deal … and who knows if with a bottle of whiskey!

Photo: Phil Hogan (left.) And Juan Manuel Santos (r.), President of Colombia. European Comission

Elisa Plumed, food journalist and blogger la criba.net

 

 

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