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Europe becomes net food exporter

Last month the European Union suspended export subsidies for the dairy sector and following the 2005 reforms of sugar subsidies, Europe is set to become a net importer of sugar. It is also imports beef, soya and cereals, mainly from Brazil. Yet a new report (PDF) just issued shows that Europe has consolidated its position as the world’s largest food exporter, ahead of traditional commodity giants the United States and Brazil, and by 2006 it was exporting more by value than it was importing. How can this be?… Read the rest

Sad news

secondoIt is with great sadness that I report to readers of CAP Health Check the sudden and unexpected death of Secondo Tarditi, one of the agricultural policy experts contributing their thoughts to this blog. A fuller appreciation of Secondo’s life and his contribution to European agricultural economics will follow. In the mean time we express our sadness and extend our sympathies to Secondo’s family and friends who are mourning the loss of a talented, vivacious and charming man.… Read the rest

UK Conservatives endorse the CAP

John Gummer MP, the former UK Agriculture Minister who is currently advising Conservative Party leader David Cameron on farm policy, has taken a swipe those in his party who call for a repatriation of the EU’s common agricultural policy:

“There is no doubt at all that unless we get a kind of common deal in the EU farmers will get no money at all. No British government of any kind is prepared to foot the bill. Anybody who dares to talk about repatriation doesn’t care about farming because you won’t have it.”

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Musical chairs at the French Ministry for Agriculture

Michel BarnierThe surprise parliamentary election defeat last Sunday of Alain Juppé, a leading member of newly-appointed French cabinet has forced President Nicolas Sarkozy into an unplanned cabinet reshuffle. Newly appointed Agriculture Minister Christine Lagarde has been promoted to the post of Finance Minister. The resulting gap at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing has been filled by Michel Barnier, who until 2005 served as European Commissioner for regional policy.… Read the rest

UK farm leader says organic shoppers have ‘more money than sense’

In a classic example of how not to win friends and influence people, Peter Kendall, President of the UK National Famers’ Union, has described shoppers who buy organic food as having ‘more money than sense’. In the cover feature of last Saturday’s Financial Times weekend magazine, Kendall takes a swipe at the organic movement and in doing so break the cardinal law of sales: the customer is always right. … Read the rest

UK farm leader says organic shoppers have 'more money than sense'

In a classic example of how not to win friends and influence people, Peter Kendall, President of the UK National Famers’ Union, has described shoppers who buy organic food as having ‘more money than sense’. In the cover feature of last Saturday’s Financial Times weekend magazine, Kendall takes a swipe at the organic movement and in doing so break the cardinal law of sales: the customer is always right. … Read the rest

UK Parliament slams the CAP

A report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee of the UK Parliament has called for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy to be replaced by a new “Rural Policy for the EU”. While the committee of MPs, whose job is to shadow the work of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), described the objectives of the CAP as ‘an anachronism’, it reserved its strongest criticism for the UK government itself, which is described as naive and impatient.… Read the rest

Why farm subsidies are bad for young farmers

Today, in Brussels, the Commission is hosting a special day for European young farmers. The day is being billed as part of the consultation in the run-up to the CAP health check, after which this blog is named. What is unlikely to be discussed at the meeting are the very real reasons why the current system of farm subsidies are overwhelmingly bad for young farmers and new farmers seeking to make a start in agriculture in the European Union.… Read the rest