Act on interventive measures regarding agriculture, forestry and food
Act on interventive measures regarding agriculture, forestry and food, which was adopted on March 20, 2020 and published on March 28, 2020, is one of the latest legislative acts, adapted as a consequence of the SARS-Cov-2 virus outbreak. The act may cause significant effects on entities that are operating in the food supply chain. Freedom of enterprise and competition on the market may be significantly restricted.
The act primarily pursues two goals: ensuring steady supply of food and preventing of virus entry into the territory of Republic of Slovenia. The interventive measures that the act describes are (1) measures regarding agricultural products and food, (2) measures regarding forest wood assortments market and (3) other measures.
1. Measures regarding the agricultural products and food markets (Article 2 of the Act)
If, due to the pandemic, sufficient food supply for the population can not otherwise be guaranteed, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, in agreement with the Minister of Economic Development and Technology, may, adapt either of the following measures:
- Prohibition or restriction of export to a territory of an EU Member State or a third county, of a group, or individual agricultural product, food or animal intended for consumption
- Prohibition or restriction of import to the territory of the Republic of Slovenia from a EU Member state or third county of a group, or individual agricultural product, food or animal intended for consumption
- Price limitation regarding an individual agricultural product, food or animal, intended for consumption, throughout the food supply chain, which is set per unit of agricultural product, food or animal or price limitation of seeds and planting materials.
Furthermore, the act also sets out the possibility to appoint a temporary operator of an agricultural holding if the current holder or his family members are not capable of farming produce or raising animals due to the virus outbreak. Such temporary operator only has such rights and obligations that are necessary to carry out the necessary works in the management of the holding and is entitled to compensation in respect of his work.
Moreover, the Ministry may also temporarily set up, use and provide maintenance of a facility for the purposes of storage of agricultural products and food by the Republic of Slovenia. This may be done without the land owner’s or facility owner’s consent. Generally, land plots and facilities that are owned either by Republic of Slovenia or a local municipality and land plots with poor ratings should be used and considered first. The administrative decision regarding this measure must, among other elements, include an amount of compensation that shall be given to the land or facility owner.
2. Measures regarding forest wood assortment market
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, in agreement with the Minister of Economic Development and Technology, may prohibit or restrict import of wood assortments, wood chips or wood pallets from an EU Member State or a third country. Furthermore, the Ministry may also adapt an administrative decision regarding a set-up, use and maintenance of a facility or land plot for the purpose of storage of forest wood assortments.
3. Measures in the field of veterinary medicine, plant protection products and agricultural seed
The act introduces measures on (minimum) animal health coverage, identification and registration of animals, measures of ante and post-mortem livestock inspections by food safety authorities, preferential supply of medicines to the veterinary organisations that carry out public services and a temporary entry ban to agricultural holdings for persons that originate from countries that have introduced a restriction on movement or a quarantine measures. Additionally, the act regulates renewal of the validity of training certificates for management of plant protection products.
Furthermore, the act also allows that in the event of deficit of officially certified seeds in the territory of Republic of Slovenia, the minister responsible for agriculture is authorised to allow marketing of seed material that does not otherwise fulfil all requirements and determines the conditions for such marketing.
All of the abovementioned measures and acts adopted on the basis of the act shall be valid until the reasons for them cease to exist, but no later than September 1, 2020.
In the event of a breach of restriction or prohibition of imports or exports, breach of the price limitation and for failure to perform the duties of a temporary operator, a fine in the range of 10,000 EUR to 200,000 EUR may be imposed to legal persons. A sole proprietor may be penalized in the range of 5,000 EUR to 15,000 EUR. A responsible person of a legal person and of a sole proprietor may be fined in the amount ranging from 600 to 1800 EUR. An individual is subject to a fine in the range of 1,500 EUR to 10,000 EUR.