In May last year, the European People’s Party’s (PPE) Daniel Buda alerted the European Commission (EC) that a goji berry farmer, based in Satu Mare, Romania, had been served a 30-day eviction notice from rented land.
According to Buda, “the farmer and the Agronomy Institute of Cluj Napoca have together created the first variety [of goji berry] recorded in Romania. In collaboration with the plantation owner, the luliu Hatieganu Institute of Medicines and Pharmaceuticals has patented a goji berry fruit extract for the pharmaceutical industry.”
Goji berry (luceum barbarum) has been investigated for its beneficial effect on dry eye disease in preclinical studies, as well as for its antitumour activities against various types of cancer cells.
Despite the farmer achieving “a record crop for Romania”, Buda said a new mayor claimed the plantation must revert to its original purpose, and be used for pasture. “What does the Commission recommend to address this problem?” he asked of the Parliament.
In a response published last week, EU commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan wrote, “issues related to land ownership fall under the competence of the Member States.”
“According to the information provided by the Honourable Member, the termination of the contract relates to the change in the land use from organic production of goji berry to pasture, which in turn is not related to the application of Union law, but to the decisions of local authorities,” he added.