07 January 1999
World farming in over-production crisis

FARMING is in crisis throughout the world, reports the Financial Times in a detailed roundup of the problems besetting the sector.

The crisis is of such a degree of severity that all the major economies have offered subsidies to tide farmers over the difficult period.

But these subsidies have raised concerns in some quarters about creeping protectionism.

The Cairns Group of agricultural free-traders is alarmed about how far the US and the European Union will be prepared to go in a new round of farm liberalisation talks, due to start next year.

The countries, which include Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Brazil, claim that subsidies distort trade. It wants farm export subsidies to be scrapped in the next free trade round.

Farmers are less impressed with the arguments for free trade.

  • Financial Times 07/01/99 page 23