Archive for the ‘European agriculture’ Category

European Meat Sector issues dire warning about impact of hard Brexit

December 5, 2017

The European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV), the body that represents producers, consumers and distributors of meat, has commissioned a report entitled The EU Meat Industry in a hard Brexit scenario – CRISIS. The major finding of the report concludes the impact of a hard Brexit would be a catastrophic disaster for both UK and Europe because of the reversion to WTO tariff arrangements. (more…)

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Brexit problems proliferate while negotiators procrastinate

October 27, 2017

An Agri Brigade piece in the latest Private Eye, that marvellous example of good old-fashioned investigative journalism, made me acutely aware of the law of unintended consequences that inevitably applies to trade agreements. With less than 18 months until Brexit, UK negotiators don’t appear to have made any tangible progress towards a workable agreement with their EU counterparts. (more…)

Irish Farmers seek government intervention

August 30, 2017

Just in case we thought European agriculture had changed its spots, there is some news out of the Republic of Ireland which has caught my attention. The President of the Irish Farmers Association has beseeched the Irish Minister of Agriculture to prevent cuts to the prices being paid for beef by the processors. To this point I have seen no reaction from the Minister, although it’s difficult to imagine he can do very much without contravening the EU’s common agricultural policy which of course will involve farmer subsidies of some sort. (more…)

EU – Japan trade deal ups the ante

July 13, 2017

The FTA announced just before the G20 meeting in Hamburg is touted to bring substantial benefits to EU agricultural producers. It will put EU exporters on a level playing field with countries like Australia which already have an agreement, but notably it will put New Zealand at an even greater disadvantage until our trade negotiators can achieve a similar outcome. (more…)

British agricultural report sees NZ as model for the future

May 16, 2017

A recently published report entitled The Future is Another Country by British consulting firm, Ferguson Cardo, attempts to describe a positive picture of post Brexit Britain, using the example of New Zealand in the 1980s as proof of what is possible. The authors base their hypothesis on certain key events, including the removal of subsidies, dismantling the producer boards’ funding model and compulsory acquisition rights, and a refocus away from the UK towards Asia. (more…)

UK farming looks doomed

May 13, 2017

Two contrasting publications have each given a pretty damning picture of the state of farming and food production in pre-Brexit UK; and despite the conclusions of the Ferguson Cardo report into the future of British agriculture, it is hard to see how this situation will change for the better without a huge amount of pain on the way. But equally it is almost impossible to imagine a continuation of the status quo within the EU, where in 2015 70% of UK farm income came from direct and environmental subsidies. (more…)

NZ sheep and beef farmers more profitable than Northern Hemisphere counterparts

January 19, 2017

When sheep and beef farmers in New Zealand grumpily ponder their forecast returns for 2016-17, they may be able to take some comfort from the precarious state of farmers in Europe, particularly the UK where they are facing even more uncertainty of income. (more…)

Sicily a melting pot for food production

October 11, 2016

Sicily has been taken over by the Saracens, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans,  Swabia, Austro-Hungary and Spain, before Garibaldi led the rebellion that led to the unification of Italy under one monarch, Vittorio Emanuele I, in 1861. Each of the occupying powers has brought something different to the food and agricultural produce of this unique island. (more…)

UK referendum opens can of worms and some opportunities

July 6, 2016

The referendum on EU membership produced a result nobody really expected and nearly half the voters didn’t want, but now everyone has to plan for an uncertain future. There have even been suggestions the exit might not happen, unless the Westminster Parliament passes the required motion to activate the start of the exit process. It’s not worth thinking about the implications for British democracy, if that were to happen. (more…)

Polish meat industry delegation in New Zealand

June 26, 2016

On Friday I attended a seminar, officially named a Congress, presented by a Polish delegation which was in New Zealand as part of a series of five exhibition events to promote ‘the taste of quality and tradition directly from Europe.’ A somewhat bizarre coincidence meant the event took place at exactly the same time as the votes were being counted in the British referendum which culminated in the decision to leave the EU. (more…)