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Senate debates self-control of agribusiness this Monday

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The rapporteur for the matter at the Senate Agriculture Committee (CRA) is Luis Carlos Heinze (PP-RS). He defends the new model (Image: Edilson Rodrigues/Agência Senado)

It is scheduled for Monday (5), at Senatea debate session on PL 1,293/2021, a bill that provides for self-control by rural producers over their own production.

The new model would transform the sector’s current defense system, which today is exclusively state-owned, into a hybrid system. The session is scheduled to start at 10 am.

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This project is authored by the Executive and has already been approved at the Chamber of Deputies🇧🇷 If it also passes the Senate, it may proceed to presidential sanction.

PL 1,293/2021 is considered a priority by the main representative entities of the agribusiness🇧🇷 According to the proposal, companies and producers would create their own agricultural defense programs.

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The rapporteur for the matter at the Senate Agriculture Committee (CRA) is Luis Carlos Heinze (PP-RS)🇧🇷 He defends the new model.

Controversy

For Heinze, the current sanitary inspection model in the country is exhausted, mainly because, he argues, the enormous expansion of agribusiness was not followed by proportional investments in inspection bodies.

But, when approved by the CRA, in June, the project was voted against by Paulo Rocha (PT-PA) and Zenaide Maia (Pros-RN). For the senator, consumers will be subject to more risks if the proposal is transformed into law, because there would be a “state omission”. She also recalled that the text, on the other hand, maintains government inspection for products intended for export.

— PL 1,293/2021 removes the competence of health surveillance. And what calls the most attention is that the products to be exported will be monitored. You who buy meat here in Brazil, at your butcher shop, be careful!, because there will be no tax. The State will not be present to say if there is tuberculosis, brucellosis. Now the meat that will be exported will have [fiscalização], and it will be the state watchdogs that will do it. This omission worries me greatly. Brazil is a big country. It is a great risk to take away this competence – warned Zenaide.

In turn, Heinze points out that the project maintains state inspections at the state and municipal levels. He also points out that self-control is practiced in the US and Europe. For the senator, self-control will favor all production chains, from large to small.

— In my state (Rio Grande do Sul), all meat that is consumed, not just exported meat, is inspected. The state has an inspection system, the Ministry of Agriculture has an inspection system, and several prefectures have an inspection system. Therefore, no one consumes meat that is not inspected. This is a very important project for the agro; we will have a very important growth, and not only of the big companies. In any corner of Brazil there will be someone auditing. This is the function of the Ministry of Agriculture. Private professionals will not be able to carry out activities typical of auditors,” said Heinze.

How would it work

The main novelty of PL 1,293/2021 is to provide that companies will create self-control systems to assist the public authorities in the task of keeping products, herds and crops healthy.

It will be up to the agricultural inspection to verify compliance with the programs.

In this scenario, the competent state body would not only carry out active inspection, which today is often carried out by sampling, but would also start to act based on information management, maintaining its administrative police powers in cases of breaches of rules.

Agribusiness
The main novelty of PL 1,293/2021 is that companies will create self-control systems to help the government in the task of keeping products, herds and crops healthy (Image: REUTERS/Adriano Machado)

According to the project, the self-control programs must contain systematized and auditable records of the production process – ranging from the arrival of raw materials, ingredients and inputs to the delivery of the final product. They would also have to provide for the collection of batches of products that could pose risks to the consumer (or to animal or plant health).

The productive sector would have to submit manuals for the elaboration and implementation of self-control programs to the Ministry of Agriculture. Programs could also be certified by private institutions with competence for this.

The public bodies that are part of the Unified System of Attention to Agricultural Health could accredit people or companies to provide services related to agricultural defense. According to the project, accredited agents will not be allowed to carry out agricultural inspection activities that require administrative police power.

Simplification

The project also simplifies the rules for releasing establishments and products by competent bodies. The Ministry of Agriculture must make available, within 180 days after the possible publication of the new law, an electronic system that can receive requests for registration and accreditation of establishments and registration of products.

In the case of products, it would be up to the Ministry of Agriculture to encourage the adoption of a simplified administrative procedure. Once the standards are met, the granting of registrations would be automatic. But, according to the proposal, automatic registration will not apply to pesticides.

As for establishments, the presentation of documents and authorizations issued by government bodies that are unrelated to the release would be waived. In addition, establishments that have more than one purpose, and that are subject to different agricultural defense standards, could have a single registration with this ministry.

Incentive

PL 1,293/2021 creates the Incentive Program for Compliance in Agricultural Defense, which would have the objective of making quality assurance systems efficient and auditable through the reorganization of procedures.

Producers who join would have accelerated import and export operations, priority in the processing of administrative processes at the Secretariat of Agricultural Defense, automatic access to process information and waiver of prior approval for renovation and expansion of the establishment.

punishments

The project provides for punishments in case of non-compliance with the rules. But these measures cannot be applied if the correction of the problem can be made during the inspection process, or, if applied, they must be canceled as soon as the solution of the problem is proven.

Infractions are classified as “light”, “moderate”, “serious” and “very serious”, according to the risk to agricultural defense. Depending on the seriousness, they must be punished with a warning, fines, condemnation of the product or revocation of registration, or the revocation of the professional’s qualification to provide agricultural defense services. The text provides for the updating of fines, which could vary from R$ 100 to R$ 150 thousand.

In addition, the proposal provides that the company may request the conversion of suspension or cancellation of registrations, registrations or accreditations into a fine, provided that it signs a conduct adjustment term.

border surveillance

PL 1,293/2021 also creates the Agricultural Defense Surveillance Program for International Borders (Vigifronteiras), determining a period of up to 90 days (after publication of the eventual law) for the government to define the rules of public policy.

Vigifronteiras aims to establish an integrated agricultural surveillance system at the borders, to prevent the entry of biological substances that may cause damage to agriculture and nature and agricultural products that do not meet the quality standards or safety requirements required for consumption.

Source: Moneytimes

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