MEPs have their say on trade with the US

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A position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be voted on by the European Parliament’s agriculture committee this week.

Agriculture MEPs are taking a keen interest in ensuring that any trade agreement does not jeopardise ‘the current quality standards of European agricultural products while preserving the European agricultural model and ensuring its economic and social viability’.

Although just one of a number of committees that will feed into the parliament’s overall position, proposed amendments include warnings that agriculture must not be used ‘as a bargaining chip in efforts to secure access to the US market for other sectors’.

One amendment calls for the commission to more clearly outline what impact a TTIP agreement could have on EU agriculture by conducting a sector by sector study as soon as possible.

World cereal supply


The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has published their latest forecasts for the 2015 cereal production year.

Global wheat production is expected to reach 722 million tonnes in 2015, 2 million tonnes higher than the FAO’s first production forecast in March 2015.

Improved weather conditions have raised the prospects of increased plantings in China, India and Pakistan. Anticipated increases in growing costs in Russia and the Ukraine could result in a reduction of both plantings and yield.

In the United States the forecast is set to rise by 2% and in Canada where spring planting is still yet to take place there is expected to be a 3% increase in production.

On the demand side, forecasts for world cereal utilization in 2014/15 are now 2493 million tonnes. Predictions of increased demand in China and India are largely responsible for this increased figure.

Food focus for World Health Day

The safety of food in Europe was the focus of World Health Day last week, a joint initiative between the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

EFSA is the EU scientific body which provides risk assessments for policymakers on the safety of food and feed.

The work of EFSA is important from a farming perspective, most notably because of their work on plant protection products but also because of the wide range of scientific issues which affect farming and the food supply chain.

Bernhard Url, EFSA’s Executive Director noted that “the role of EFSA is to ensure food safety for 500 million European consumers and we can only do that in partnership with other organisations. By pooling these resources we can make sure that food in Europe is safe”.