27 March 1998

UK leads downturn

UK agriculture led a general downturn in EU farming incomes in 1997, according to latest figures from the Brussels statistical nerve centre, Eurostat.

Using real incomes per unit of labour employed, the report shows the UK way in front, with an income drop of 22%, reflecting the particular problems of the strong £. The next worst performer was Portugal, down 13%, due in particular to poor weather and bad crop quality.

The Netherlands was the main gainer in 1997, principally due to the substantial aid given after classical swine fever outbreaks.

Overall, the EU of 15 saw a 2.8% drop in farm incomes, stemming mainly from 5% lower crop values (extra plantings, poor quality, oversupplied world market) and 3% lower livestock prices. &#42