The EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş, and the Brazilian Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Mendes Ribeiro Filho signed the agreement, which seeks to promote understanding and technical cooperation between Brazil and the EU. It aims to share best practice and knowledge on sustainable agriculture and to strengthen relations and information exchange to ensure that any issues that may arise are resolved effectively.
As part of the agreement, discussions will be held on how to encourage innovation, as well as increasing productivity. Trade and technical working groups may be set up and the first high level talks will take place by the end of the year, or early in 2013.
Commissioner Cioloş said: “This memorandum opens the way to a structural dialogue of the European Union with Brazil, concentrated around themes of common interest for our agriculture and rural development policies. Sharing ideas, best practices, innovative solutions, creating a system of early notification of any rising issues, will bring benefits to our farmers and agri-food industry.”
The memorandum came after an event held alongside Rio+20 yesterday (21 June). Organised by the European Commission, the conference saw representatives from the EU, Brazil and the African Union discuss sustainable and inclusive agriculture, highlighting best practise as a method of tackling poverty and food poverty, advancing social equality and protecting the environment.
Cioloş told delegates that sustainable agriculture was not a luxury but a necessity. “It concerns us all, whether we live in Europe, or on any other place on Earth”, he said. “Increasing agricultural productivity needs long term commitments, followed steadily by national governments, private sector as well as international donors."
The EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs gave a key note speech on the role of inclusive agriculture within the agenda for change.
He said: “The green economy cannot take off unless crucial resources such as water, energy and land are well managed and sustainable economic activity in these areas is allowed to prosper. That is why sustainable agriculture is a top priority in the European Union’s Agenda for Change.”
The Brazilian Ministry of Agrarian Development and the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union (AU) spoke about the vision and policies in their specific areas and there were also presentations on best practise from the President of the Pan-African Farmers Forum (PAFFO) and the President of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).