Commission “all ears” on Sheep EID
A delegation of UK farming unions joined counterparts from across Europe to press the difficulties of implementing the individual sheep identification regulation (21/2004) to the Commission at a Copa meeting this week.
Farming unions from Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Spain and France all stated that sheep farmers were facing increasing levels of cross compliance breaches and that the regulation was not fit for purpose. The Commission referred to an unpublished Food and Veterinary Office report which highlights that the regulation is working in Spain and Italy. They believe much work can be done in improving tag quality and readability but are not likely to reopen the regulation.
Ministers split over CAP risk management tools
The future of risk management in the Common Agricultural Policy was a divisive subject for EU farm ministers at this week’s Agriculture Council meeting in Brussels. Member states did not agree on whether it was the farmers’ own responsibility to look to the market place to manage risks, or whether public money should fund insurance and mutual funds. The concept of a European income stabilisation tool was also highly controversial, ie a mutual fund to support farmers who have incurred a loss greater than 30% of their income. UK minister Jim Paice stated that “this should not be part of risk management package in any form” as it would involve increased bureaucracy and cost at farm level. He went on to quote the Commission’s own impact assessment figure of €7 billion per year if all Member States used it. “Exceptional support measures” in the single market regulation was the final agriculture item on the agenda and prompted the more liberal Member States such as the UK, Denmark and Sweden to emphasise the need for such measures to be market orientated and used only in genuine crisis situations.
Global food prices remain high
Food commodity prices are anticipated to remain high for the next decade underpinned by firm demand and despite a slowing growth in global production, according to the latest Agricultural Outlook from the OECD and the FAO. The two international bodies have highlighted that agricultural output by traditional exporting developed countries has been slow to respond to higher prices in the last decade and called for “increased productivity” to improve global food security. The outlook anticipates that agricultural output growth will slow to an average of 1.7% annually over the next 10 years, down from a trend rate of over 2% per year in recent decades. Higher input costs, increasing resource constraints, growing environmental pressures and the impacts of climate change will all serve to dampen supply response, says the report.
Commission urges national
climate adaptation plans
As Defra makes progress towards a National Adaptation Programme on climate change for 2013, the European Commission has suggested that a deadline be put in place for other member states to take similar action. Speaking to EU environment ministers, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that the advantages of climate adaptation strategies would be the exchange of knowledge and to avoid the financial impacts of climate damage. At present roughly half of Member States currently have such plans, including the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, as well as the Scandinavian and Benelux countries. The Commission is currently consulting the public on an EU climate adaptation strategy, deadlines for responses is August 20.
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Weather for Belfast
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 8 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west