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Isabel Garcia Tejerina, Secretary General of Agriculture and Food of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment

"Spain: "Exports will exceed 28,500 million in 2012"

"Agri-foods will be this year's main export sector in Spain." This was stated by Isabel García Tejerina, Secretary General of Agriculture and Food of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, at the opening of the First Journalism and Food Seminar, organized by FIAB and the Ministry. She also said this year will exceed the sector's exports achieved in 2011, valued at almost 28,500 million Euro.

In addition, Garcia Tejerina stressed that the food industry has become a balancing factor in the balance of Spanish trade, closing the year with a surplus of 5,500 million Euro. "Agrifood is the first industrial sector in Spain and one of the most important and dynamic of our economy," she added.

The secretary general made these remarks at the inauguration of the First Journalism and Food Seminar, accompanied by Horacio González Alemán, CEO of FIAB, and Fernando Burgaz, CEO of the Food Industry of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

"We have launched a media project called MAGRAMA breakfast, an initiative with great enthusiasm and expectations which is a meeting point of debate between the media, society and the individual food chain operators," said Isabel García Tejerina. This forum will initially have a monthly periodicity and will aim to raise awareness of new initiatives and "strengthen cooperation and mutual understanding" between
all stakeholders.

In this first breakfast meeting, prepared under the titled: Does Spanish food have the reputation it deserves? García Tejerina stressed that this sector is "one of the best ambassadors" of Spain abroad and whose image is marked by "excellence" outside our borders. "We must also take care that reputation, internally," warned the secretary general.

The representative of MAGRAMA wanted to highlight the role of innovation in the food industry. "It´s the sector with the best percentage of innovative industries in Spain," she remarked, while having set the challenge of "increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of Spanish foods, correcting structural weaknesses."

Meanwhile, Horacio González Alemán has confirmed that the Spanish agribusiness has "unique and cutting edge" control structures in the world. "Of the 167 food scares of 2011, only 14 ended with product recalls, and this year those numbers will further be reduced," said the head of the management of the food industry and

González Alemán, who has described as "excellent" agricultural production in Spain, has indicated that his short-term goal is to "keep being the lever so as to leave the crisis", and to promote and encourage consumption. "We want to be a solid and solvent reference," he pointed out.

After his speech, Clara Pi, Director of Communications at FIAB, has exposed a brief summary of the treatment accorded by media of the food sector, emphasizing that a high percentage of their information is referring to "food contamination", which is "perceived negatively" by consumers. "The purpose of all help is to ensure that consumers are well informed avoiding unnecessary alarms," she said.

Finally, Carmen Gómez Candela, head of the Nutrition Unit of La Paz Hospital, has removed "false myths and errors" of food, referring, for example the belief that bread gets you fat. This is an idea, that is totally wrong, stated Gómez.


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