Copa & Cogeca welcome new EU Commission report showing a 5.7% rise in EU agricultural exports

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Copa & Cogeca have welcomed a new EU Commission report showing a 5.7% rise in EU agricultural exports in 2015, but warned that EU farmers’ incomes are critical and they should be benefiting more from this gain.

According to the 2015 EU agri-food trade report, EU agricultural exports were up 5.7% in 2015, compared to the previous year, reaching 129 billion euros.

“Farmers are not reaping the benefits of this gain. Farmers’ incomes are only on average half the level of average earnings in the EU and they fell again last year, being hit by low prices and high input costs.”

Pekka Pesonen, Copa & Cogeca Secretary-General

This secured the EU’s position as first world agri-food exporter with a net trade surplus of 16 billion euros.

Together, farmers and agri-cooperatives and the food and drink industry account for 7.5% of jobs in the EU, injecting a much needed boost to the economy.

But Copa & Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen warned: “Farmers are not reaping the benefits of this gain. Farmers’ incomes are only on average half the level of average earnings in the EU and they fell again last year, being hit by low prices and high input costs.

“Their incomes are constantly being squeezed by processors and retailers. This has to stop. We need a fair, transparent and functioning food supply chain. Farmers must get a better share of the consumer euro. The price the consumer pays is sufficient to ensure that a fair margin goes back to the farmer.

“To improve their positioning in the food chain we also need written contracts between producers, processors and retailers that are enforced to ensure farmers are given a fair price for their produce and are paid on time.

“We need statutory legislation at EU level so that operators are fined when they break the law. We also need to encourage producers to join forces in agri-cooperatives to enable them to better market their produce,” Pesonen said.