Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Richard Wright: Government goal to out-green the EU

Vibrant yellow crop of canola grown as a healthy cooking oil or conversion to biodiesel as an alternative to fossil fuels.; Shutterstock ID 135735242; Job: Farming; 66b9d754-fb76-48a0-86b9-8da00c503a70
Vibrant yellow crop of canola grown as a healthy cooking oil or conversion to biodiesel as an alternative to fossil fuels.; Shutterstock ID 135735242; Job: Farming; 66b9d754-fb76-48a0-86b9-8da00c503a70

The Queen’s Speech at Westminster, setting out the government’s legislative plans, confirmed its determination to match or even out-green the EU.

Plans include a ban on live exports and a new link between animal welfare and farm support payments.  However the government failed to respond to calls for parallel standards to be imposed on food imports, suggesting it deems cheap food and trade deals more important.

Meanwhile the European Commission has confirmed that it wants to embrace new plans to make agriculture a zero net contributor to water, soil and air pollution by 2050.  This adds weight to a sense that in both the UK and EU, the pursuit of green headlines has eclipsed the concept of a globally competitive, productive farming industry that guarantees food security.

CAP funding

A report by the European Commission on the 2014/2020 round of CAP funding has  concluded that direct payments and aid for areas of natural constraint played a key role in stabilising farm incomes. It also claims limited price support helped stem market collapses.

The report says there is room for improvement, particularly where coupled support has been maintained.  It also suggests there is a need for better targeting of measures by member states and a need for better tools to stabilise markets.

Across the EU CAP payments in various forms, including rural development, accounted for 36% of farm incomes, while direct payments accounted for 26%.  External convergence – reducing differences in CAP payments between member states – is deemed effective but “degressivity”, to limit payments within member states, has been less effective.

The report hands the Commission a sound case for maintaining most of the structures of the CAP. Brussels is due to publish a new long-term vision for rural areas in late June.

Food prices

Global demand and some commodity shortages helped drive food prices in April to their highest level since 2014.

This is measured by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) food price index and April marked the eleventh consecutive month of rising prices.

The increase from March to April averaged 1.7 per cent.  While sugar was the star performer, there were welcome rises for meat and dairy products, confirming a recovery of normal demand patterns as Covid retreats in key markets.

Meat prices rose and in April were five per cent higher than the same month in 2020.  This reflected better demand and reduced supplies as culling gives way to herds are rebuilt.

Poultry markets and prices were deemed stable.  Dairy prices rose 1.2 per cent from March to April, led by growing demand in in key Asian markets. Dairy prices are now 24% ahead of where they were in the same months in 2020, on the back of rising demand and tight southern hemisphere supplies.

Richard Wright: Whisky, cheese and chocolate exports plunge

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]