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Slovenia Business Week no. 35/2004: Agriculture and Food Fair Opens

The focus this year is on Slovenia's EU accession and its impact on agriculture

The 42nd Agriculture and Food Fair, the largest event of its kind in Slovenia, opened on Saturday, 28 August. The focus this year is on Slovenia's EU accession and its impact on agriculture.

Attending the official opening of the event, PM Anton Rop said that Slovenia has been successful in adjusting its agriculture and food industry to the EU, although it took a lot of changes and adjustments.

By harmonising legislation, we created firm foundations so that Slovenian farmers and the food industry can compete on equal footing in the single European food market, he said, adding that the first test is behind us while a new period of integrating into the single European market is ahead.

Noting that Slovenian farmers get 85 percent of the direct payments that their EU peers receive, Rop expressed the conviction that agriculture and the food industry can compete successfully with the fierce European competition. This requires appropriate support by the agriculture policy, he added.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Milan Pogacnik, stressed in his address that the EU's agriculture policy is favourable for Slovenia in many ways, as it will provide farmers with income stability, and consumers with safer and better food.

We have to build on the advantages we have, he said, stressing the preserved environment, a tradition of farming, the cultural landscape, safe food and know-how. Our common task is to make sure that agriculture not only survives but also develops, he said.

The fair, which features 1,410 exhibitors from 21 countries, will include many round-table debates and conferences addressing changes in the EU market regulations for sugar and the production of sugar beet, the development of rural areas in the light of the common agriculture policy, and the drawing of EU and national funds.

An international meeting of food-processing industry representatives will be just one of a total of 60 events on the programme. Another will be a workshop on investment opportunities and good practice in agriculture, held by the Agriculture Ministry and the secretariat general of the Central European Initiative (CEI) on 2 and 3 September.

The fair will also feature a presentation of the German agriculture and food-processing industry, and presentations of Austria's provincial chambers from Styria and Carinthia, while new EU member states will put up information stands.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: Branka Murn