23 November 1999
Quin warns of further arable reform

By FWi staff

FURTHER reform of the arable sector will be needed if imbalance between EU and world prices continues, agriculture minister Joyce Quin today (Tuesday) told industry delegates.

Speaking at the Crops Conference in Cambridge, Ms Quin said Common Agriculture Policy reform had been a major step forward.

But she said reviews in 2002 will see if further change is needed in the cereals regime and the European Commissions management of the agriculture budget.

She told delegates: “If market circumstances prove adverse, these reviews could be the occasion for further steps in the reform process.

“Our policy will be to push for such further reform if an imbalance remains between the EU and world market prices.”

She added that European Union enlargement and World Trade Organisation negotiations will be sources for further change.

She believed WTO negotiations, which start in Seattle next week, will increase pressure to move CAP away from production-related support to “more targeted measures”.

Arable farmers have been warning their industry is on the brink of crisis due to worldwide overproduction and low prices.

These have been compounded by difficulties facing the livestock industry, which is a huge buyer of grain, and bureaucracy.

Lincolnshire farmer Martin Jenkins, who chairs todays conference, told the BBC : “We must have things on a level playing field.

“Its very difficult with the currency situation and all the other red tape and bureaucracy that were tied up with.”