POULTRY producers can look forward to further cuts in cereal prices over several years if the next stage of CAP reform goes according to MAFFs plan.
Last month the food and farming minister, Lord Donoughue, confirmed the UKs backing for the current proposals from Brussels – known as Agenda 2000 – and suggested the measures should go further in some areas.
“CAP reform has been given priority during our six month Presidency of the European Union. These proposals are urgently needed,” he told the biennial international millers congress in London.
“If we are to avoid a massive build-up of surplus cereal stocks, by the year 2005, the EU must reduce its support prices in line with world markets.” Lord Donoughue continued: “The proposed 20% cut in the intervention price for the arable sector is a start, and should enable the EU to trade at world market prices for wheat.”
However, the position was less clear on barley, maize and other grains, but a cut would greatly reduce the EU/world price gap on these too, he believed.
The current Common Agricultural Policy was not sustainable. There had been a large increase in EU spending on arable aids, which now took over 40% of the CAP budget.
“This is not acceptable and we are pushing for change,” he declared.
“We must also be prepared for the next round of WTO talks. It is clear that our WTO partners will be calling for significant further reductions in agricultural support and protection.”