Courtesy of his ‘2015 Michael Dillon Address’ EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan told Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ members that the future for farming and food in the EU remains very positive.
“The context continues to be favourable: world demand for agricultural products will keep increasing, albeit with the usual temporary market ups and downs,” he said.
“At least 150 million people will be entering the global middle class every single year until 2030. This massive growth in disposable income will result in significant changes to dietary patterns.
“The EU is currently the biggest exporter of agricultural products on the planet and, with the high quality and diversity of our products, we can do much more.
“The Russian embargo underlined the necessity to diversify our export outlets. But it also highlighted the great things we can achieve when we aggressively pursue new markets.
“These are the facts: we lost €5.2 billion in exports because of the Russia ban in the 12 months up to Summer 2015, but we gained €6.8 billion in exports elsewhere.”
Mr Hogan added that securing access to new markets for EU food products is his key priority.
“The Commission is ambitiously pursuing new trade agreements with Japan, Mexico and Vietnam, to name but a few. I also remain confident that we will secure a balanced and ambitious agreement with the US, though a clear timeline for this remains uncertain.
“And we are now seeing the real results of these endeavours. Recent days have seen the reopening of the Canadian market for beef. I believe there will be a number of other positive developments along this line in the coming months.
“In tandem with this, a new promotion policy will come into effect on December 1st. As well as increasing the budget significantly from €80 million to €110 million, we have simplified the system for operators to draw down the available funds. This should make a real difference. I will mount a diplomatic offensive in 2016, leading trade missions to Mexico and Colombia, China, Japan as well as visiting the US, Singapore and Vietnam.”