Coldiretti, AIA and the golden calf. ANABORAPI’s revolt.

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ANABORAPI, the National Association of Piedmontese Breed Cattle Breeders, is revolting against Coldiretti’s assault on the golden calf.

The magic circle at Palazzo Rospigliosi, as it turns out, is trying to seize the treasures of Italian ranchers and drain public contributions to them (1,2).

But some National Associations of Livestock Breeders (ANAs) are resisting dirty tricks in legal venues and in the public square (3,4). Without accepting the possible abuse of office on funding calls. (5)

#CleanSpades.

Coldiretti, AIA and the golden calf

The golden calf, that is, the farming system in Italy, is under siege by a power group known in the milieu as ‘the dome’ of Coldiretti. Which, after assuming dominance over AIA (Italian Breeders’ Association), has:

– merged the APAs (Provincial Breeders Associations) into the ARAs (Regional Breeders Associations) under its empire,

– Amended AIA’s bylaws, in January 2016, providing for ANAs to adopt ‘bylaws-capture’ to strip them of any autonomy, (6)

– forced ANAs to join AIA 2, a.k.a. FEDANA, which was formed in May 2018 to circumvent the intervening mandatory legal regulations (7),

– transferred from AIA to AIA 2 a.k.a. FEDANA the powers over Boards, supervisory and control bodies of ANAs. (8)

Government funding, access requirements

The PSRN-the National Rural Development Plan, funded by the CAP 2014-2020-has established two measures to support the livestock system in Italy:

Sub-measure 10.2, aimed at MiPAAF-recognized selector bodies that manage genetic improvement programs to safeguard species. The relevant call was therefore aimed at ANAs, which were eligible for funding provided that they were first-degree associations (i.e., directly associating farmers), with technical and administrative autonomy, aggregated by compartments,

measure 16.2, on data collection from farms, which only AIA could in fact access but on the condition that it had no relationship with beneficiaries of submeasure 10.2. That is, provided the political, administrative, managerial and technical independence of ANAs (breeding organizations that manage herd books) from AIA (collection center) is guaranteed. (9)

ANABORAPI, the assault of Coldiretti – AIA

On 6/20/17 Coldiretti began ANABORAPI ‘s assault on the Piedmont farmers’ assembly. On that occasion AIA invoked the rules of its bylaws to appoint its Enrico Leccisi – Vincenzo Gesmundo’s ‘economic brain’ – as chairman of the board of auditors. And marginalize MiPAAF’s representative in that body, with all due regard to statutory provisions.

The Piedmont breeders, however, disputed the theorem that-as a result of the split of AIA into AIA and AIA 2 aka FEDANA- ANABORAPI should automatically merge into the latter. They ask in vain for copies of deed of demerger, balance sheet, news. It turns out that in the meantime, the Federation Board of Directors has been appointed, without any prior communication or news about who elected it, when how and why.

FEDANA, unjust enrichment

On 3/29/19 – after ‘pressure of all kinds,’ according to witnesses, exhausting negotiations and blown up BoDs by having the enslaved breeders miss Palazzo Rospigliosi – ANABORAPI approved the reform of its bylaws. Deleting, by the unanimous vote of 47 delegates, the second paragraph of the disputed Article 2, which provides for the possibility of joining the Federation of National Breed Associations (FEDANA).

In early 2020, however, ANABORAPI member farmers learned that, unbeknownst to them, the 2019 membership fees to FEDANA had been paid. For an amount of about €12,000, which would almost triple in 2020 (€32,000). Without the ANABORAPI Assembly ever having passed a resolution to join AIA 2 or FEDANA having provided any services to ANABORAPI.

ANABORAPI, coup attempt.

Requests for explanations from a reputable law firm on behalf of a group of Piedmontese breeders prompted the ‘delegates’-elected on 7/23/20 through opaque procedures with outcomes never disclosed-to organize a coup in ANABORABI. At the regular meeting 10.11.20, held online for Covid cause, the ‘delegates’ did indeed:

– Retrospectively ratified the payment to FEDANA of 12,000 euros as the 2019 membership fee. Although membership in FedAna was never resolved at the meeting in fiscal year 2019 or the previous fiscal year,

– Voted on the ‘renewal of the membership bond to the Federation‘. Without even placing this issue, which is of crucial importance to the life of the association, on the agenda for the convening of the assembly. Nor have they received any mandate from the board to do so.

ANABORAPI, uprising of farmers.

Farmers registered with ANABORAPI thus triggered the revolt. At the event organized on 19.12.20 on the square in Carrù (CN), where the association is based, 182 breeders signed and deposited a letter, addressed to the president and the Board of Directors (see Appendix). The farmers’ opposition to the coup attempt, reiterated in subsequent petitions to the MiPAAF and the Prefect of Cuneo, is stated in specific instances:

– Immediate exit from FEDANA and recovery of amounts unduly paid to it, (9)

– Reestablish democratic order through association regulations that define the criteria for the election of delegates and BoDs and the transparency of their acts,

– Verification of the legitimacy of the work of the outgoing board of auditors,

– guarantee of effective independence, both formal and substantive, of the association. A prerequisite, it is stressed, for any selecting entity’s access to European funding. (10)

#CleanSpades

This affair-along with the many other violations of current regulations, in the Italian livestock farming system-must be urgently evaluated by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Stefano Patuanelli. The independence of the MiPAAF is subject to serious and continuous threats from a power group that in the name of the interests of Italian agriculture pursues clientelistic policies, which are often illegal and contrary, among other things, to the principles of competition established in the TFEU (Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union, Article 102).

‘We must free ourselves from this vicious chain of omertà which is one of the phenomena on which Mafia power is based’ (Paolo Borsellino)

Any circumstantial news and documents useful for shedding light on anomalies and malfeasance, interference and conflicts of interest in the politics, administration and financing of the activities of Italian farmers and ranchers can be sent to vanghepulite@gmail.com. We will do our best to serve a community that has been crushed for too long by the bullying of the usual knowns.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti, AIA and the golden calf. #CleanSpades are urgently needed. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 9.2.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/coldiretti-aia-e-il-vitello-d-oro-vanghepulite-urgono

(2) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti, AIA and the golden calf. Operation AIA 2, aka FEDANA.. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 25.2.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/coldiretti-aia-e-il-vitello-d-oro-l-operazione-aia-2-alias-fedana

(3) Dario Dongo. AIA, FEDANA and the golden calf, farmers in revolt. The example of ANARB. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 4.3.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/aia-fedana-e-il-vitello-d-oro-allevatori-in-rivolta-l-esempio-di-anarb

(4) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti and the golden calf, Sannio farmers up in arms. #CleanSpades. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 22.3.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/coldiretti-e-il-vitello-d-oro-in-rivolta-gli-allevatori-del-sannio-vanghepulite

(5) Dario Dongo. Livestock system and biodiversity, public disbandment. #CleanSpades. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 3/31/21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/sistema-allevamento-e-biodiversità-sbando-pubblico-vanghepulite

(6) The statute-master imposed by Coldiretti arrogates to AIA:

– The leadership and chairmanship of the control and supervisory bodies of the NAAs,

– Administrative management (accounting, budgeting, updating entries and records, monitoring financial situation and cash flow) of ANAs

(7) Reg. EU 1012/2016, on animal reproduction, recognizes breeders’ associations as MiPAAF-recognized breeding bodies that manage genetic improvement programs. With the aim of liberalizing these services and opening the sector to competition (TFEU 102).
Legislative Decree. 52/2018 in turn requires, in Article 2, that breeders be registered directly with such associations (ANAs), which are strictly autonomous. Excluding the intermediation of other associations (e.g., AIA) between breeder members and breeding agencies (ANA).
AIA 2, a.k.a. FEDANA, was formed for the express purpose of circumventing the above-mentioned mandatory legal regulations. With the approval of a compliant MiPAAF, in defiance of the various directions of the Competition Authority (AGCM, see article referred to in footnote 2)

(8) MiPAAF itself had moreover:
– remarked on the different roles of AIA (which is responsible for field inspections) and the ANAs (which are responsible for managing the Genealogical Books),
– expressed negative opinion on direct or indirect management by AIA of Genealogical Books managed by ANAs,
– prescribed for NAAs to seek prior advice from the Ministry before adopting any statutory changes,
– reiterated that any membership in FEDANA should not affect the maintenance of the ANAs’ requirements for technical, managerial, and administrative independence. Under penalty of loss of funding

(9) ANABORAPI President Renato Giordano – in his reply 24.11.20 to PEC 2.11.20 of Prof. Lawyer Renato Borsari and Lawyer. Diego Girelli of Verona, on behalf of a number of breeder members – inferred that Anaborapi, like the other ANAs, would ‘automatically‘ merge into FEDANA as a result of the AIA split. Neglecting however:

– the mandatory provisions of the law set forth in Articles 20-21 of the Civil Code, according to which membership in an association falls under the exclusive and mandatory jurisdiction of both the members’ meeting,
– The requirements of full autonomy and independence of the selecting bodies (ANA) prescribed by reg. EU 1012/2016 and reiterated by AGCM to MiPAAF on 18.10.19 (Prot. 67989)

(10) The requirement of independence of the selecting bodies is, among other things, doubted in ANAFIJ’s application to the notice cited in footnote 5. Cases which, together with the conflicts of interest of the members of the evaluation commissions at CREA and MiPAAF, will not be able where appropriate to escape the dutiful investigations of the competent authorities in Italy and the EU

Attachment

Letter 19.12.20 from 182 breeder members of ANABORAPI to the president and board of directors

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.