11 January 1999
Government farm summit starts in London
By FWi staff
FARMERS leaders will today (Monday) tell the Government that they want compensation for any subsidy cuts when the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is reformed later this year.
The call for compensation will be made directly to Government ministers by the National Farmers Union (NFU) at a “farm summit” in London.
The summit, announced a week ago by Agriculture Minister Nick Brown, is bringing together farmers, consumers and environmental groups to discuss the way ahead for British agriculture.
The European Union (EU) is well on the way to reforming the CAP as part of its Agenda 2000 plan to expand the EU to include central and eastern European countries.
The reforms are also necessary for the EU to meet World Trade Organisation obligations to reduce its subsidies and liberalise trade on world markets.
But many farmers are worried the reforms will mean they will suffer a loss of income.
A delegation of farmers leaders, headed by NFU deputy president Tony Pexton, will urge Mr Brown to offset any future loss of subsidies.
“In general terms, the NFU believes farmers should receive adequate compensation for any price cuts and that an effective fall-back intervention system should be kept in place,” says an NFU document received by FWi.
Other groups attending the conference will discuss a “greener” policy for farmers to cut food prices for consumers and encourage a broader-based, viable rural economy.
Mr Brown is expected to tell delegates that British farmers must be more competitive on world markets and must embrace non-farm business enterprises and improve the rural environment.