This group blog on European food and farming policy began in 2008 during the ‘health check’ or policy review of the CAP and could be found at the URL caphealthcheck.eu. The ‘health check’ is now well in the past and it’s time to rename this blog to keep up with the times and to introduce a new design. We hope you like it. The entire archive has been transferred to the new domain at capreform.eu and hopefully all the subscriptions (email and RSS) should continue to work. If there are any problems, use the contact form to get in touch. … Read the rest
Britain’s National Farmers’ Union is noted for its strategic, long-term view of agricultural issues. Its officials have a sophsiticated, well informed view of developments and it was therefore interesting to read an interview in the latest edition of Farmers Weekly with the NFU’s head of economics and international affairs, Tom Hind. He was at one time acting head of the NFU’s office in Brussels.
Not surprisingly, he takes the NFU line that farmers need to continue to receive the single farm payment (SFP) to give them a degree of income stability, especially faced with volatile markets. A basic tenet of agricultural economics is that markets for farm commodities are relatively unstable: to put it at its simplest, even with modern agronomy, the weather remains a factor which can disrupt such markets.… Read the rest
Sugar did not experience the massive price spike in 2007-08 of other commodities, but has been making up for this with a tremendous increase in prices in 2009, driven by poor harvests in Brazil (the world’s largest producer) and strong import demand in India (the world’s largest importer). Raw sugar prices have risen from around 10 USc/lb in May 2008 to over 27 USc/lb currently, and market analysts expect further increases in the coming months.
The increase in world prices means that world prices are now above the (much reduced after the recent sugar reform) EU reference price. Recent price trends are shown in the following figure, reproduced from the SugarTraders website
Despite the very tight global market, EU sugar beet supplies have moved in the opposite direction.… Read the rest
The EU dairy market is now recovering from the severe drop in milk prices in 2009. Perhaps the clearest sign of this recovery is the setting of export refunds on dairy products to zero since mid-November, as world market prices for dairy products have strengthened in recent months.
It is thus an opportune time to evaluate the EU’s response to the crisis, and to see what lessons might be drawn for how the Union can address similar problems in other farm sectors in the future. My view is that there is a lot to be learned from the dairy crisis, and that the outgoing Commissioner deserves credit for the way she handled it.… Read the rest