Bureaucracy, greed and vanity threaten EU plan to help world’s poorest farmers

The European Commission has published its plans to divert up to a billion euros from CAP underspends to a new fund to help farmers in the developing world to increase productivity in the face of the world food crisis. Higher food prices have meant lower CAP expenditure on market measures such as intervention, storage and export refunds and the Commission has suggested redirecting parts of these savings to agricultural production in the third world. Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Development Commissioner Louis Michel and Farms Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel have all spoken enthusiastically about the idea, but there are growing rumblings of opposition, from both the Council and the Parliament, both of which will have to approve the plan if it is to become a reality.… Read the rest

Bureaucracy, greed and vanity threaten EU plan to help world's poorest farmers

The European Commission has published its plans to divert up to a billion euros from CAP underspends to a new fund to help farmers in the developing world to increase productivity in the face of the world food crisis. Higher food prices have meant lower CAP expenditure on market measures such as intervention, storage and export refunds and the Commission has suggested redirecting parts of these savings to agricultural production in the third world. Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Development Commissioner Louis Michel and Farms Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel have all spoken enthusiastically about the idea, but there are growing rumblings of opposition, from both the Council and the Parliament, both of which will have to approve the plan if it is to become a reality.… Read the rest

The CAP’s ambiguous face to the outside world

The description of a Fortress Europe has often been applied to the CAP. But just as the CAP has undergone significant internal reform since the first faltering steps under Commissioner MacSharry in 1992, there have also been substantial changes to the CAP’s external trade regime. The EU still maintains high tariffs on specific agricultural imports, but in fact the majority of the EU’s agricultural imports (including here fish as well as highly processed products like beverages and tobacco products) enter the EU duty-free, either because the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff is zero, or because the EU has granted duty-free preferential access.… Read the rest

The CAP's ambiguous face to the outside world

The description of a Fortress Europe has often been applied to the CAP. But just as the CAP has undergone significant internal reform since the first faltering steps under Commissioner MacSharry in 1992, there have also been substantial changes to the CAP’s external trade regime. The EU still maintains high tariffs on specific agricultural imports, but in fact the majority of the EU’s agricultural imports (including here fish as well as highly processed products like beverages and tobacco products) enter the EU duty-free, either because the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff is zero, or because the EU has granted duty-free preferential access.… Read the rest

Manna from heaven? CAP ‘spare change’ to boost developing country farmers

Surging prices for agricultural commodities means that the EU spends much less on the traditional ‘market measures’ of the CAP such as intervention buying when prices fall below a target price, export subsidies and private storage aid for unsold surpluses. Last year the EU decided to allocate some of this underspend to the Galileo space programme. This year, the proposal is to channel the money to farmers in developing countries who currently suffer from very low productivity.… Read the rest

Manna from heaven? CAP 'spare change' to boost developing country farmers

Surging prices for agricultural commodities means that the EU spends much less on the traditional ‘market measures’ of the CAP such as intervention buying when prices fall below a target price, export subsidies and private storage aid for unsold surpluses. Last year the EU decided to allocate some of this underspend to the Galileo space programme. This year, the proposal is to channel the money to farmers in developing countries who currently suffer from very low productivity.… Read the rest

World Bank weighs in to 'food versus fuel' debate

World Bank President Robert Zoellick has warned that high food prices are threatening to undo seven years of progress in global poverty reduction. Zoellick has encouraged donor countries to take immediate action to increase funding to the UN World Food Programme and coordinate a ‘New Deal on World Food Policy’. The World Bank has released a new analysis which points the finger squarely at biofuels as the prime cause of the recent surge in global commodity prices. … Read the rest

World Bank weighs in to ‘food versus fuel’ debate

World Bank President Robert Zoellick has warned that high food prices are threatening to undo seven years of progress in global poverty reduction. Zoellick has encouraged donor countries to take immediate action to increase funding to the UN World Food Programme and coordinate a ‘New Deal on World Food Policy’. The World Bank has released a new analysis which points the finger squarely at biofuels as the prime cause of the recent surge in global commodity prices. … Read the rest