Does the ‘experience economy’ in which consumers pay premium prices for products and services that provide additional intangible ‘experiences’ constitute a viable growth path for European agriculture?
Last night, BBC2 screened the first of six hour-long episodes in a new documentary series, The Future of Food.
Vaasa, Finland: Philip Lowe is a leading figure in the rural studies community in the UK and he issues a stark warning about the so-called ‘new productivism’ in an interview that was issued to delegates at the ESRS Congress where he gave the opening plenary.
The Commission this week produced a Communication on how it proposes to develop and advance agricultural product quality policy in the EU. The Communication is the product of an extensive consultation process which began in 2006 with a stakeholder hearing, followed by a conference in Brussels in February 2007. This in turn led to a [...]
After the forceful and successful management of the agricultural dossier by the French Presidency in the second half of 2008, it was inevitable that the agenda for the Czech Presidency would be a light one, and this is also reflected in the activity level for this blog since the beginning of this year. Nonetheless, even [...]
A paper on the contribution to climate change of livestock methane emissions has found that the problem is likely to get worse as global demand for meat and dairy products increases. Dr Andy Thorpe, an economist at Portsmouth University, found that a single herd of 200 cows can produce annual emissions of methane roughly equivalent [...]
We’re used to the arguments that the CAP’s subsidies and tariffs are very bad for many desperately poor farmers in the developing world, with some going as far as to say that the EU has blood on its hands but now comes a piece of medical research which suggests that EU farm subsidies are responsible [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
When UK Chancellor Alistair Darling wrote to his finance minister colleagues on ECOFIN last month he made the case for reducing agricultural trade barriers and EU farm subsidies as a way of addressing what has become known as the ‘global food crisis’. Quite rightly much of the world’s attention has been focussed on the impact [...]
A row over the banning of GM feed by British supermarkets raises wider issues about how far new technology can be used to solve problems of world food shortage. There have been calls for a second ‘green revolution’, but the first green revolution was based on intensive use of fertilisers and irrigation. Fertilisers are rocketing [...]
The Republic of Ireland will hold a referendum on ratification of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty on 12 June 2008. The Irish Farmers Association is urging a No vote, on the grounds that the EU’s push towards more open world markets in agriculture could expose them to competition from overseas, notably from Latin America. Ireland gets [...]
American journalist Michael Pollan has written some great books about food and farming, most notably the Omnivore’s Dilemma, which cast a critical eye at so-called Big Organic: the industrial mono-culture organic farmers and growers and big organic chain stores like Whole Foods Market. His new book In Defense of Food offers a manifesto for eating [...]
The timing, if not the chicken, is delicious. On the same day (and in the same newspaper!) that German farms minister Horst Seehofer called for the EU to export its standards of environmental, animal welfare and food production regulations to China and India, it has been revealed that member state governments have been covering up [...]
The French government has launched a new website as part of the run-up to a conference it will hold on 3 July, at the very beginning of France’s 6-month EU Presidency, to discuss the future of European and global agriculture. Entitled “Qui va nourrir le monde?” (Who will feed the world), the debate is being [...]
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 [...]
As Jack Thurston has well exposed in his recent entry, the “food security” argument seems to be the new rally call for those trying to justify continuation of untargetted payments to farmers, or even a return to production support (albeit disguised as “risk management”, “income insurance” and the like). At a recent debate I was [...]
One thing which we can predict with great certainty that the New Year will bring is continued high commodity prices. Agricultural product prices continue to hit record levels. In the US, futures prices for the 2008 crops of corn, wheat and soybeans all hit new highs in recent trading sessions. We review some of the [...]
The contribution of rising food prices to the revival of inflation in the eurozone has attracted the attention of the European Central Bank (ECB) in its latest monthly bulletin for December 2007. Eurostat’s flash estimate of inflation for November 2007 on an annualised basis is 3%, compared to an average growth rate of 1.9% in [...]
A new survey of public opinion released today by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows strong support for ‘consumer agenda’ in EU and US agriculture policies focused on food safety, the environment and the food supply. There was significantly less support for producer-oriented priorities like providing emergency financial relief to farmers, insuring [...]
The excellent Food Ethics published by the Food Ethics Council has devoted its latest issue to this theme. You can read excerpts online here. There are a lot of issues related to increasing meat consumption: climate change; health issues; water scarcity and biodiversity loss from clearing forests to make way for pasture and feed production; [...]
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 [...]