EU prospects good for dairy and arable

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THE long term prospects for EU milk and dairy products look good due to the continuing expansion of world demand. According to European Commission predictions for 2012-2022, EU milk production is projected to reach 159.3 million tonnes in 2022, accounting for a cumulative increase of 5% since 2011. Cheese output is expected to grow by almost 7% on aggregate from 2011 to 2022.

There was also a positive outlook for arable crop prices driven largely by the biofuel market, as EU feed and food demand are expected to show only a marginal increase. Based on a number of assumptions the Commission said the production and use of biofuels would increase by about two-thirds, reaching an 8.5% share by 2022 according to the report.

The outlook is not so strong on meat production which is estimated to stagnate between now and 2022 due to the economic downturn and high levels of unemployment in Europe. Pig meat is expected to remain the preferred meat in the EU with 40.8kg/capita consumption in 2022, compared to 24.1kg for poultry, 15.7kg for beef and less than 2.0kg for sheep and goat meat.

Agricultural income per worker is set to shoot up by 55% in the EU’s newest 12 member states by 2022. The Commission said much of the increase would be down to an estimated 30% reduction in the workforce. Meanwhile income per worker in the EU’s oldest 15 member states, including the UK, is expected to be unchanged in 2022 compared to the base year as the newest member states continue to converge towards the EU average.

Final preparations for CAP vote

MEPs on the agriculture committee are making their final preparations ahead of a vote on their suggested CAP reform amendments. In total the MEPs submitted nearly 7,500 amendments to the European Commission’s controversial CAP reform proposals. The votes could take up to nine hours which would smash the record for the longest vote ever held in the parliament.

The vote will set the course for the European Parliament’s negotiating position on all the big issues including greening, capping and the coupling of payments.

Organic consultation launched

The European Commission has launched a public consultation into future standards for organic farming. The consultation seeks to better understand the values that draw consumers to organic produce, to see if consumers fully understand the current requirements for organic food and to see how receptive consumers would be to the inclusion of new standards such as on GM, as well as looking at the issues of control and international trade. The consultation will run until April 15 2013.