The Prime Minister reaffirmed the dominant position of the primary sector in the development strategy of the country, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who went in the morning to the Ministry of Rural Development, in the context of his visits to ministries, where there was a change of political leadership during the recent reshuffle. Furthermore, Mr.. Mitsotakis highlighted the importance of protecting Greek products through the Greek brand and announced legislative initiatives in this direction.……….
Including, The Prime Minister pointed out "for us, the primary sector is a central component of the development strategy, which we have planned for the country for the next decade "not failing to welcome the important project, made to support producers affected by the pandemic and “January” and added: "I think we all share the same vision for our primary sector. A vision that will make our products above all competitive in the domestic and international markets. A vision that will bring young farmers back to the field, in the countryside, young fishermen at sea, because exactly they will be able to look forward through this work to a good one, to a satisfactory income ".
With,regarding the protection of Greek products, Mr.. Mitsotakis stated that he attaches great importance to the Greek brand. "It simply came to our notice then, we need to streamline the legislation. The products that have the Greek brand must be Greek. And the one who pays for the Greek brand and the consumer who will see the Greek brand, either in Greece or abroad, to know that there is Greek added value to our Greek products ".
Referring to the multidimensional plan for the development and promotion of the Greek diet, the prime minister said: "I share with the minister, the Undersecretaries, my passion for the concept of the Greek diet, which is the bridge that connects the primary sector with our tourism product. As well as a significant comparative advantage of the country and our products and a natural connection with the food industry, which is extremely dynamic in our country, with greater added value than,what other industries ». Mr.. Mitsotakis also placed special emphasis on prospects, opened for fishing: "We must not forget that apart from the other outstanding issues, Aquaculture is currently the number one export product of the country in the primary sector. Significant work has been done on the location of organized aquaculture reception areas. I have asked for this work to be accelerated in good cooperation with the Ministry of Environment. It is a product that can contribute significantly to the overall development of our primary sector. ".
The Prime Minister also stressed the wide range of support measures implemented by the government for the needs of producers: "The ministry and the government stood by the Greek producers, καθώς και αυτοί αντιμετώπισαν τη δοκιμασία της Covid-19. Με διαφορετικούς τρόπους, με διαφορετικά χρηματοδοτικά εργαλεία, είτε αυτή είναι η χρήση των έκτακτων πόρων των 150 εκατομμυρίων που διαθέσαμε συγκεκριμένα για να αντιμετωπίσουμε την Covid, είτε είναι το πλαίσιο των de minimis αποζημιώσεων, είτε είναι εργαλεία τα οποία χρησιμοποιήθηκαν ευρέως για όλη την οικονομία όπως είναι η Επιστρεπτέα Προκαταβολή».
Στους κεφαλαιώδεις στόχους του χαρτοφυλακίου του αναφέρθηκε, from his side, ο υπουργός Αγροτικής Ανάπτυξης και Τροφίμων, Lebanon Cave, talking about "the support of the Greek producer - primarily- and the promotion of quality products of our place, enhancing competitiveness, of productivity, of vertical agricultural production, and the integrated development of the rural area through rational use of natural resources and respect for the environment ".
Write down, and that in order to achieve these goals, a transformation of the Greek primary production is required, processing and marketing. "To make this transformation happen, in parallel and in addition to the project that has already been launched and is being implemented in the ministry, we will focus on five strategic policy directions:
– In repositioning the role and action of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure and primary production in the whole of Greek society.
– To strengthen education and vocational training in the industry.
– Enhancing competitiveness and increasing exports.
– In a holistic strategy for natural resources
– My favorite, in the Greek Diet, in other words, the creation of a strong brand for Greek products, which will contribute to the overall rebranding of the country attempted by the government ".
Government sources also stated that during the meeting the strategic axes on which the ministry will move were put on the table.. They were examined, including, initiatives aimed at ensuring even greater ensuring the Greekness of products, to stimulate the recognizability and value of the Greek brand, actions that have been launched for the aquaculture spatial planning and the connection of the ministry's work with the Recovery Fund. In addition, there was a discussion about the training opportunities for farmers, the integration of technology and know-how in the production but also the utilization of the Greek diet, on the one hand to promote the image of the country and on the other hand to broaden the strengthening of many interrelated aspects of the economy, such as gastronomy and food production.
The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Minister in charge of the Common Agricultural Policy Giannis Oikonomou, the Deputy Minister in charge of Fisheries Policy, Fotini Arabatzi, the Undersecretary to the Prime Minister responsible for the Coordination of Government Work Akis Skertsos, the general secretary of Coordination Thanasis Kontogeorgis, the Secretary General for Rural Development and Food George Stratakos and the Secretary General for Agricultural Policy and Community Resource Management, Konstantinos Baginetas.
The Prime Minister in detail, Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated:
"Thank you very much, Minister, Mr. Undersecretaries, Chief Secretaries-General, at the Ministry of Rural Development and Food closes today the cycle of my collaborations with Ministers and Undersecretaries who have recently taken up their new duties.
I want to wish good luck to the new team of the Ministry, which combines renewal with continuity. I would also like to thank the outgoing leadership of the Ministry, because indeed very important interventions were made to them 18 months. And of course with the new leadership we have set even more ambitious goals for the Ministry of Rural Development and Food. A Ministry that is in our heart. It is in our hearts not only for our mental identification with the Greek farmers, with the Greek breeders, the Greek fishermen. It is in our heart, because for us the primary sector is a central pillar of the development strategy, which we have planned for the country for the next decade.
I will not dwell on the account of what happened to them 18 months. I will refer only to the new framework for cooperatives, in dealing with the scourge of the Hellenization of animals from neighboring countries and imported milk. It is no coincidence that the price of sheep and goat milk has risen to a historic high of 15 years, something that is credited I believe to the overall policies of the Ministry.
Let me just say that the Ministry and the government stood by the Greek producers, as well as they faced the Covid-19 test. Με διαφορετικούς τρόπους, με διαφορετικά χρηματοδοτικά εργαλεία, είτε αυτή είναι η χρήση των έκτακτων πόρων των 150 million that we specifically allocated to tackle Covid, είτε είναι το πλαίσιο των de minimis αποζημιώσεων, or are tools that have been widely used throughout the economy such as the Refundable Advance. We supported, we support and will continue to support the Greek producers to overcome, all together standing, this unprecedented crisis we are facing.
I also want to point out - I will have the opportunity to say this tomorrow as we will visit the region of Thessaly- that for the first time ELGA moved with such speed and efficiency to compensate producers from the unprecedented natural disaster of "Janos". It is a model of operation for the future and raises the bar of the speed of response of the Greek state, when we are called to deal with such major natural disasters.
But we also talked at length about the future. The Ministry of Rural Development has at its disposal significant financial tools. First and foremost the new CAP, which we agreed and negotiated at the Summit last July and which must now be specialized by the services of the Ministry that have a lot of experience in this direction.
But of course also the tool of the Recovery Fund, in which important projects related to the primary sector can be included, I am referring, for example, to projects related to digitization, significant guarantee projects which have been planned by the Ministry but did not have at their disposal the necessary financial resources.
I think we all share the same vision for our primary sector. A vision that will make our products above all competitive in the domestic and international markets. A vision that will bring young farmers back to the field, in the countryside, young fishermen at sea, because exactly they will be able to look forward through this work to a good one, to a satisfactory income.
A vision that will invest significantly in education. We have said it many times, we are unfortunately behind in the education of our farmers. I am not just talking about young farmers, I am also referring to more experienced farmers, who are called to combine the practical experience in the field with the new knowledge that we have to offer them.
And there we have to think smart and go targeted. Possibly with sooner, certified programs that will provide additional knowledge, know-how I would say more than knowledge, so that we can increase our overall productivity.
I attach great importance to the Greek brand. We discussed it, we need to rationalize the legislation. The products that have the Greek brand must be Greek. And the one who pays for the Greek brand and the consumer who will see the Greek brand, either in Greece or abroad, to know that there is Greek added value to our Greek products.
And of course I want to point out that despite the crisis - perhaps because of the crisis- for the first time 2020 we had a positive export balance – imports of our agricultural products. We have made great progress in our exports of a range of products, which prove that they can be competitive. We need more such products, obviously.
We can not - we have said it many times, I have said this many times as the leader of the opposition- does not mean that the Ministry of Rural Development is just a Ministry of grants and allowances. Of course it is a very important part of our job and we do it well, our farmers know that, our breeders and our fishermen that we do it well, because the issue of subsidies and compensation has worked and is working well, but we must look to the future.
And together with the competitiveness of our products, to address substantive issues relating to the protection of the environment and the management of natural resources, with water management first.
Very important land improvement projects that we will launch, but also another perception of how we manage our water. Know-how and technology can play a very important role in how we measure water consumption. And I attach great importance to a legislative initiative that we have discussed at length, the reform of the status of GOEB and TOEB, troubled Organizations from the past, but extremely useful and absolutely necessary because they are the Organizations that effectively manage the irrigation throughout the country.
Sure, I share with the Minister, the Undersecretaries, my passion for the concept of the Greek diet, which is the bridge that connects the primary sector with our tourism product. As well as a significant comparative advantage of the country and our products and a natural connection with the food industry, which is extremely dynamic in our country, with greater added value than,what other industries, and which obviously only has to win from a close cooperation with the Ministry of Rural Development.
End, I want to give the dimension of the importance I attach to technology and know-how. The world is moving forward, digital applications are advancing, the same is true in the agricultural sector. The concept of intelligent, of smart agriculture must meet the needs of Greek producers. And we must also be able to do our own research, to produce substantial innovation in the primary sector. We have the ability, and scientists and potential, to be able to do it.
Finally a conversation about fishing, which also has its special place. We must not forget that in addition to the remaining issues, aquaculture is currently the number one export product of the country in the primary sector.. Significant work has been done on the location of organized aquaculture reception areas. I have asked for this work to be accelerated in good cooperation with the Ministry of Environment. It is a product that can contribute significantly to the overall development of our primary sector.
I close by congratulating once again the Ministry for the work that has been done and I look forward to a very substantial cooperation on major issues starting tomorrow from our visit to Karditsa and Trikala where we will have the opportunity to see how the framework worked of compensation from the disaster of "Janos".
Thank you very much and good strength ".