Law 231/2010: The interest of the domestic producer, the consumer or the commissions guaranteed at the value of the imports?

Alexei Repede, AOAMP president, calls for the modification of the law 231/2010 and the introduction of the 51% shelf share for the local agrifood products. The topic is part of the Resolution of the DAR Campaign – Regional Agricultural Dialogue and the public consultation of over 700 representatives of the agricultural entrepreneurial environment, realized in the summer of 2019 and presented to the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and the Environment at the meeting on November 26, 2019. Subject under discussion for the approval in 2nd reading of the law on internal trade.  

We are overrun with imported food. We have the false impression that we are choosing what to eat and how healthy the offered product is for our family and children. In fact, the choice belongs to those who make their interests and share the appropriate commissions in the hidden war for food shelves.

The domestic producers have suffered, they often ask to reach with the domestic production in the stores in the country, the problem being aggravated by the difficulty of coping with the competition of the imported products.More than 700 participants at the Regional Agricultural Dialogue say it, during 11 regional events that we organized last summer.

The biggest loser, however, is the consumer, because they do not have high incomes, they are involuntarily forced to choose cheaper products, the quality products becoming a luxury for Moldovan citizens.

Can you afford to eat healthy? The answer, the decision and the costs belong to us. We have the right to a healthy diet and the obligation to take the necessary actions.

How many governments do we need to pass a law that guarantees the presence but also the quality of the local product on the shelves of the Republic of Moldova. How much do we need the cooperation and associations able to bring the necessary quantities to ensure the shelf share in the margin of over 51% for the domestic product?

are the questions asked by Alexei Repede, the president of AOAMP.

Amendment and completion of some legislative acts to Law no. 231 of September 23, 2010 on internal trade, in order to oblige traders to purchase and grant spaces for the display of local food products of at least 51% of the linear length of the shelves, corresponding to each food product was proposed in the draft law in February 2018 by the DP Government. After two years of waiting, the subject was returned to the political agenda as a legislative initiative of the Vice President of the Platform DA, Alexandru Slusari. It is certain that neither the DP government nor the PAS Government have succeeded in approving this change. However, on February 18, this year, public consultations are being held to amend the 2nd reading of the law on internal trade.

Worldwide Moldovan Business Association, supports the inclusion of the 51% shelf share, in order to promote the local product, to encourage domestic producers and to assure consumers that they can find the domestic product on the shelves of the country, among the multitude of imported products.

What do the domestic producers and consumers in the Republic of Moldova have to gain through the shelf quota to capitalize on the short food supply chains?  

Short supply chains involve the sale of a farmer to a consumer, by involving as few intermediaries as possible. Direct selling plays a vital role in this process.

By including the shelf quota, which will directly facilitate the promotion of short supply chains, respectively of the local agri-food products, we will have:

  • the ability to ensure a fair price (preserving added value to the manufacturer and superior benefits for consumers);
  • the short dimension of the chain: from a direct relationship to the smallest number of intermediaries;
  • increased ability to provide information about the manufacturer and the food product, traceability being only part of this information;
  • access to products that meet the specific conditions of an alternative food model (extensive production, artisan, traditional, ecological or manufacturing).

The quality of the products in the short supply chain is an essential market differentiator and this fact must be supported. As for the number of intermediaries, this should ideally be zero.

Do we know what we eat? Is there food security in the Republic of Moldova?

Government must guarantee the food security of its people, which means ensuring access for everyone to a healthy food (including local products) and food availability. Food and nutrition policies in favor of the final consumer must become the number one priority in all actions aimed at developing the country’s agriculture and food trade.

A mandatory need to be achieved in relation to consumer law is to ensure access to information regarding the nutritional qualities of the products.

Moldova is a net importer of agri-food products. Imports of food and live animals account for 9.7% of total imports, vegetable and fruit imports were the most important (2.6% of total imports), cereals and preparations based on cereals (1.3% of total imports), dairy products and poultry eggs (1.0% of total imports), coffee, tea, cocoa and spices (1.0% of total imports), meat and meat preparations (0.7% of total imports), animal feed (0.6% of total imports). An imposing weight of the agri-food products comes from the import, fact determined, certainly, by the non-exploitation of our own agricultural potential.

Therefore, the question remains valid: Do we continue to ensure access to imported products without facilitating the presence of domestic product on the shelves in the country?