26 May 1995

Cereals regime lunacy

THE EU cereals regime is "economic lunacy", warned chairman of the British Poultry Meat Federation and Yorkshire farmer Raymond Twiddle.

Speaking at the federations annual meeting, Mr Twiddle said it was madness to continue the regime, which spends billions of pounds of taxpayers money to deny users cereals at reasonable prices.

"When prices are so high for UK cereals, and they are in short supply throughout the EU, how can you justify paying refunds to encourage cereals exports?" he asked junior farm minister Angela Browning.

The UK poultry industry wanted price supports and production constraints on cereal output to be dismantled, he said.

"It could be replaced by properly targeted direct income supports in regions if considered necessary."

The UK poultry industry takes about 18% of the total UK cereals crop and is the biggest single user of UK cereals, said Mr Twiddle. "We have a major stake in the cereals industry. It is time the policy-makers recognised the fact," he said.

Gap widening

"With each devaluation in the green £, the supports lavished on UK cereal growers go up, and so do our costs. The gap with world prices is widening, not closing. This must not be allowed to continue" said Mr Twiddle.

Mrs Browning accepted that cereal prices were too high. But to reduce prices she needed more support from other EU members, she said.

Michael Gaisford