Brian Gardner's Blog

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

Much official attention and taxpayers money has recently been devoted to the perceived ‘problem’ in the European Union’s dairy farming sector. Incomes are chronically low, it is claimed, and therefore measures must be taken to prop up markets and therefore incomes The real problem is however probably insoluble: the inevitably low incomes of too many… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

The belief of the European Commission and a majority of EU member governments that income support is the main objective of the Union’s agriculture policy is a major obstacle to the constructive reform of the CAP. Despite the continuing claims of the farm unions to the contrary, modern European agriculture no longer needs taxpayer support.… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

Once upon a time farm lobbies argued for a common agricultural policy as a guarantee of food security; now it is justified on the grounds of environmental projection. In neither case can a policy based on massive subvention from the taxpayer be justified. Europe’s food supply was never seriously threatened by lack of support for… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

Whether or not organic farming can feed the future world is one of the big questions of agricultural and environmental politics. It is of major importance to the future development of European and developed world agriculture and of even greater importance for the food-short less developed countries. The question of how the agriculture industries of… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

To those unfamiliar with the arcane workings of the CAP it may seem strange that the French government supports its farm organisations in favouring the reduction of guaranteed income subsidies – even as a quid pro quo for greater market support and protection. Surely a substantial dab in the hand for doing nothing is worth… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

A majority of the European Union’s agriculture ministers is clearly determined on modification of the Union’s basic market legislation in what is likely to be a vain attempt to bolster farm incomes. This is the major conclusion to be drawn from a paper from the Spanish Presidency issued in the wake of last week’s farm… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

World meat production is not the major contributor to green house gas emissions claimed by certain sectors of the green and vegetarian movements . Experts at The UN food and Agriculture Organisation have conceded that earlier accusations of an 18 per cent share of total AGHG were considerably inaccurate. Writers of the FAO’s famous –… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner