August 24, 2005 (AGI): Italy's State Audit
Court has issued its report on the use of government
funds towards organic farming. The report highlights
discrepancies between current use of funds and strict
EU regulations pertaining to resources allotted under
the Research and Development chapter of funds.
The Court specifically mentions how regulations mandating
that funds be issued to private parties under public
supervision "are generically worded" so much
so "as to require, as per recent legislative provisos,
that the entire regulations outline be subject to review".
The Court goes on to stress that despite expiring there
has been no review, overhaul or extension to current
regulations "leaving the old system in place as
it stands, whose most crucial shortcoming is the lack
of adequate sanctions against fraud or inappropriate
funds management by private parties and, or, bodies
tasked with product, systems or process certification".
The Court describes as "positive", however,
that oversight boards "have voluntarily submitted
to the EU's EN 45011 certification." As for the
research and development projects they seem to have
been hindered by the dual nature of the funding, partly
public (7,746,853 euro 2001 -2003), partly private through
business rebates under specific food safety headers.
The Court found that rebates issued during 2003 had
not been reinvested leaving a number of projects to
bo funded soley through the state.
In addition the Court points out that scant funding
was significantly impinged upon by the BSE emergency.
"As for work in progress bodies tasked with oversight
have failed to provide a clear understanding of progress
or outcome, leading to a more than justified concern
as to the enactment of appropriate supervision".
The Court goes on to stress how "current management
has failed to match supplies with appropriate market
receptiveness, proof of which lies with the failure
to follow through with proper consumer awareness campaigns".