Monday, June 11, 2018

Macron is president of cities says French farm leader

Just as England's NFU has a woman leader for the first time, so does France's leading farm lobby, the FNSEA. Christiane Lambert, a 56-year old pig farmer, does not hold back in giving it large to President Macron. She says that his image is as a president of the cities who had no idea how farmers lived and worked.

She thinks that French farmers stand to lose €5bn over the next budgetary period if cuts in the CAP budget are confirmed. She thinks that Macron is dithering over the issue. Last year the number of farm bankruptcies in France rose by seven per cent.

More competitive countries such as Germany and the Netherlands have pushed down the prices of beef. dairy and pork products and gained market share abroad. Ms Lambert thinks that labour intensive farming activities have suffered from distorted competition from German producers who employ cheap labour from Bulgaria and Romania.

French farmers are resorting to their usual direct action tactics, planning to block 13 oil refineries tomorrow. The farmers are protesting against imports of palm oil to make biofuels.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Committee report criticises Defra

The House of Commons Defra Committee has produced a report in response to the Government's consultation on the future of agriculture: Report

It states, 'The evidence from a range of agricultural businesses indicates that their sectors will face significant impacts from the proposed withdrawal of Direct Payments. The level of impact will vary by sector as the economics of each are so different. There are likely to be particularly damaging effects on grazing livestock, cereal and mixed farms and the withdrawal of support and any subsequent closures of businesses could have wide reaching impacts on the rural economy and its communities. As in our Brexit: Trade in Food report, we were disappointed that these impacts have not been thoroughly assessed by Defra on a sector-by-sector basis, to then inform future agricultural policy.'

The report notes, 'The consultation paper lacks discussion of wider food policy and has failed to link agricultural policy to wider public health goals and reducing diet-related diseases. Healthy food makes a wider contribution to public health, which is in the public good and we recommend it should be supported as such under the new model of awarding payments to farmers.'

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