ENGLISH LAMB producers should be able to bolster their postion as Europe‘s largest sheepmeat suppliers, despite the disadvantages of CAP reform, according to the English Beef and Lamb Executive.

England is dropping the CAP‘s special premiums and switching over to the area-based subsidy payment before many of its European competitors.

France, Spain and Greece will not implement the reform until 2006. And even then, they will continue paying producers 50% of the ewe premium.

EBLEX reports that the “progressive decline” of its competitors will not be reversed by the delay or by the payments.

The small size of holdings in some EU countries will not survive without the full headage payments, it adds.

The hope is that earlier exposure to full market forces in England will give domestic producers an advantage over European competitors that are slower to adjust.