15 August 1997

UK farm products slip

FARM product prices fell by more in the UK than elsewhere in the EU last year, reveals latest figures from Eurostat.

After taking inflation into account, the UK saw a 3.9% drop, compared with an EU-wide average of 2.7%

In the crop sector, EU prices fell by 3.9%, following the sharp fall in potato prices which pushed root values down by over a quarter.

For livestock, the decline was 1.5%, as decreases of about 15% in calf and cattle values were offset by rises in pig and lamb prices as consumers switched to these products.

Following the publication of Agenda 2000, containing CAP reform plans, the EU has released a detailed arable report, dubbing the existing regime over-complicated.

The report also claims farmers have been over-compensated to the tune of £6.1bn over the past four years, due to higher-than-expected cereal prices.

Cereal stocks could reach 58m tonnes by 2005 if the present system remains unchanged. But the current regime has cut intervention stocks from 32m tonnes to 2.4m tonnes over the four years from 1992/93, maintains the commission.n