The growing discussions around good agricultural practices and animal welfare are the result of an increasing demand by consumers globally. The subject is also a core issue in international negotiations. The relevance of the topic was made clear at the opening ceremony of the seminar where Brazilian and European experts were brought together to present the results of the EU-Brazil cooperation project on the subject on June 28th at the MAPA headquarters in Brasilia.
"People look at the product label in supermarkets to see if there is a seal of good farming practices and sustainable production. Brazil does not export fruits that do not comply with best practices, for example. Besides, best practices also have a positive impact on health issues, helping prevent other problems," said Orlando Melo de Castro, director of MAPA's Department for the Development of Supply Chains.
Likewise, Lucy França Frota, MAPA's coordinator of the Secretariat for Trade and International Relations, praised the importance of the EU-Brazil partnership in tackling the issue. "The project, which promotes the exchange of knowledge, research and training, also brings awareness to those on the ground, that is, the actual farmers.”
"The agents of Brazil's S System and Emater (Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Enterprise) play a key role in helping disseminate the knowledge through the institution, technicians, and producers. Everything they learn can then be used on the farms, and slowly evolve into public policies," she explained, underscoring the importance of the subject in international negotiations: "Brazil has been at the forefront in this area.”
Noelia Barriuso, representative of the EU-Brazil Sector Dialogues Support Facility, also stressed the importance of the project and celebrated the successful partnership with MAPA. "The project on best practices and animal welfare is of interest both to Brazil and to the EU, and that is why we should carry on with this fruitful cooperation," she said.
The project focused on strategic supply chains, and the major challenges they face when adapting their production systems, in particular, their production and slaughter practices. The adoption of different food production models and the associated sustainability, market and scientific knowledge demands were also covered.
In the first part of the seminar, some scientific studies supporting the migration to alternative bird housing and egg laying systems were presented. In addition, the European legislation on the welfare of laying birds were addressed, existing housing systems in Brazil and Europe, traceability and labelling methods, and indicators and recommendations for animal welfare.
In the afternoon, the discussions turned to the use of drugs in dairy cattle and the technical recommendations for the responsible use of medicines. Liziè Pereira Buss and Suzana Breslau, from MAPA's Agriculture and Livestock Protection Department, reported on their technical mission to Spain and Denmark to share experience and information on antimicrobials. They attended meetings with government agencies, the private sector and visited pig and poultry farms to identify strategies for adopting best practices.
According to Ms Breslau, the prevention of antimicrobial resistance and the implementation of good agricultural practices go hand in hand. She said that Europe has a long history of preventing and controlling resistance. "It was interesting to get to know two countries at different stages. Spain has a more recent history of coping with the problem. Denmark has been working on this for over 20 years. They have two different realities”, she said.
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