18 November 1998
There’s money in spaghetti — for British farmers

BRITISH farmers are making money out of “spaghetti farming” under new rules on agricultural subsidies, according to the European Court of Auditors.

East Anglia has been declared a “non-traditional” area for growing durum wheat – the basic ingredient of Italian pasta.

As a result, East Anglian farmers are sharing in the explosion of European aid for durum wheat which allows growers to receive a higher income from subsidies than they can get from selling their crops.

The Court of Auditors estimates that £3 billion of the European Unions £30bn agriculture budget is lost through fraud.

The auditors claim that aid for producing durum wheat is costing European taxpayers £500m a year.

Claims for producing the crop are increased by farmers exaggeration of the amount of land they have under cultivation – though to be up to 20%.

  • Financial Times 18/11/98 page 3
  • The Guardian 18/11/98 page 18
  • The Daily Telegraph 18/11/98 page 13
  • The Herald 18/11/98 page 6