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SUGAR: THE UNFINISHED REFORM

The recently published Court of Auditors critique of the European Union’s reform of the sugar market regime, enlightening in many ways, failed to emphasise the most important lacuna in the Council’s 2005 reform agreement – the failure to deal with the implicit plot against the consumer inherent in the EU’s sugar production quota system. The… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

CAP reform or mere trimming?

The European Commission’s proposals for so-called ‘reform’ of the common agricultural policy are nothing of sort. They are basically a justification for continuing the present policy into the post-2013 budget phase largely unchanged, As farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos has had to admit, the policy is currently suffering a ‘crisis of legitimacy’. Though he may be… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

With world food commodity prices rising again on the prospect of poor harvests in some of the major grain producing areas of the world, it is inevitable that the price of food in the shops will rise. What is also inevitable is that if and when supplies improve and bulk commodity prices fall again retail… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

The regular ritual verbal punch-up over the disposition of the European Union’s budget is once again in the offing. Opening salvoes have already been fired from the two traditionally entrenched sides of the Channel. The European Commission, in its hopefully impartial role, has called for a completely new approach, rising above the inevitable squabble over… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

Despite the existence of much information to the contrary, the myth of the poor European farmer persists. In most western countries of the European Union farms run as businesses make a good living – as good if not better than in other sectors of the economy. Real income data, rather than global averages, proves the… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

For farmer’s organisations and a majority of European Union member state governments radical change of the common agricultural policy is unthinkable. Any moves towards a more rational payment of income subsidies, let alone their phasing out, would inevitably mean a tectonic shift in the balance of payments to particular groups of farmers and in the… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

The European Commission has now clearly given up on any further attempt to apply a rational, scientifically-based policy to the regulation of the development and commercial use of genetically modified crops. Its announcement that it is proposing to grant individual member states the right to decide for themselves whether to allow their farmers to grow… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

Speculators and speculation were generally regarded as one of the dark forces driving up prices during the recent ‘food price crisis’. According to some consumer and farm groups, speculation, especially by index traders, was responsible for making an already bad situation worse. As drought and depleted stocks drove up the world market in the 2006-08… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

Recent publication of projections of world food production by the OECD and FAO gave rise to a spate of predictable doom-laden headlines. Unsurprisingly, the tenuous lkinkage between biofuels and hunger figured large in most – as in: “EU biofuels target could starve millions of people”. Closer reading of the following stories however revealed that this… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

US HOLDS KEY TO DOHA

The Doha Round of trade liberalisation negotiations is well and truly stalled. No one is in any doubt about that. What there is doubt about however is: why? Developing country demands for greater farm subsidy reductions by the European Union and other developed countries, lack of access for European goods and services, US demands for… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner