07 August 1997
UK farm-price drop among biggest in EU

By Amanda Cheesley in Brussels

FARM prices for UK farmers fell by 3.9% in 1996, compared with falls of 2.7% for the rest of Europe, according to latest figures released by the EU Commissions statistics office.

The Eurostat figures should give the National Farmers Union additional ammunition in its quest to get the UK Government to seek green pound compensation for its farmers.

A number of EU member states have successfully applied and received EU compensation in the past for their farmers who have suffered from currency movements.

The statistics reveal that UK farm prices dropped in real terms by 3.9%, while Irish farm prices decline by a massive 6.5%. French farm prices only fell by 2.3% compared to the EU-wide average drop of 2.7%.

Eurostat also said that the EUs agricultural terms of trade, which is the net effect of changes in output and input prices, fell by just 3.8% throughout Europe.

But once again a number of countries fared particularly badly including the UK which dropped by 6.7%, with Ireland falling by 7.6%. The UKs major competitors, Germany and France, were close to the EU average, falling 3.5% and 3.9% respectively.