WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Representatives from MAIZALL, an international maize alliance, are in Europe to engage key E.U. stakeholders on issues concerning biotechnology, market access and agricultural sustainability.
“Europe remains a challenge on biotechnology and market access but even in Europe, there is support – especially in the livestock and feed industries – for progress on these key issues,” said Sergio Bortolozzo, president of MAIZALL. “The E.U. is also very concerned with environmental sustainability, and biotechnology is one of the biggest tools we have to reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture.
“MAIZALL allows the three major corn exporting countries of the Americas to speak with one voice on these issues. We are visiting the Netherlands, Germany and Italy this week to answer our critics, seek common ground with our allies and seek progress on meeting global demand in an environmentally sound way.”
Bortolozzo is president of ABRAMHILO, Brazil’s major association of corn producers. Others participating in the European mission this week include Alberto Morelli, vice-president of MAIZAR, an Argentinean organization; Martin Fraguio, executive director of MAIZAR; Pam Johnson, past chairwoman of the National Corn Growers Association; and Julius Schaaf, past president of MAIZALL and a past chairman of the U.S. Grains Council.
While in the E.U., the team is meeting with a broad range of stakeholders including farmer organizations, feed producers, food industry representatives, media representatives and government officials in each country. The group is also meeting with the agricultural liaisons in the U.S., Brazilian and Argentine embassies in each country to encourage cooperation at a governmental level on market access issues.
“The E.U. situation is very complicated politically, especially with continued delays in its biotech approval process and the European Commission’s opt-out proposal, which would give individual member states the option to ban or restrict the use of imported genetically modified products on an individual basis,” Schaaf said.
“MAIZALL gives us an opportunity to work cooperatively on these issues. As farmers, we work with modern agricultural technologies every day, and we see the benefits. It’s our job to communicate those benefits to people in Europe who aren’t getting a balanced perspective. ”
MAIZALL is a partnership formed by ABRAMHILO, MAIZAR, the National Corn Growers Association in the U.S. and the U.S. Grains Council, which together represent approximately three-quarters of the world’s exportable corn surplus. While the MAIZALL partners remain competitors for sales and market share, all are committed to modern agricultural technology, including biotechnology, and improved market access.