Brian Gardner's Blog

Archives for Food & Consumers

It is becoming ever clearer that there is no real intention on the part of the European Union’s agriculture ministers to agree any effective reforms of the EU agriculture policy. The Council of Agriculture ministers meeting at the beginning of this month indicated only too clearly that the final agreement for the 2014-20 MFF will… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

NO PRESSURE FOR CAP REFORM

So, predictably, the EU budget wrangle drags on. Equally predictably, spending on the cash-guzzling agricultural budget is at the heart of the argument. However the negotiations end up the annual spending on agriculture policy will still remain close to 40 per cent of the Union’s total spending. It doesn’t really matter whose version of the… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

The European Commission’s proposals to cut back on the biofuels section of its renewable energy policy is a wise move. In an atmosphere of undoubtedly increasing tension over global food security such policies operated without flexibility are inevitably going to be a political liability. To the politically simple-minded converting food and feed grains into motor… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

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 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