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Welcome for uplift in farm incomes

by 5m Editor
2 February 2007, at 9:37am

UK - Farmers' leaders have welcomed new figures which reveal rising UK farm incomes for 2006-07 following a “tough and prolonged period” of low returns.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs yesterday released provisional estimates which showed total income from farming rose to £2.75billion, or 7% in real terms compared to the previous year.

It was a welcome boost for the industry, which saw incomes drop to an all-time low in 2000, followed by a slight recovery, then a further dip in 2005.

Higher costs were more than offset by increases in the value of produce, particularly cereals, potatoes and cattle. Notable exceptions to this, however, were sugar and milk.

Nicola Currie, Country Land and Business Association eastern regional director, pointed out that much of the increase in the value of output was due to higher prices for cereals, largely due to poor harvests and drought elsewhere in the world.

“The demand created by the US biofuels programme has underwritten the world market for cereals,” she said. “It would be interesting to speculate how much greater this impact would be if this country were to create a similar initiative.

“There were also welcome increases in the value of output in most other sectors, especially beef and potatoes, but with notable exceptions in fruit, milk and sugar.

“However, after a really tough and prolonged period it is good to pick up that there is a sense of cautious optimism again from our members.”

National Farmers' Union East Anglia regional director Pamela Forbes said the improved farm income figures were “good news” for most farmers in our region, although they were still less in real terms than farmers received in 1986.

“There are short-term problems to tackle to ensure the improvement continues, particularly for our dairy, pig and poultry farmers. But we have started the year with a genuine sense of optimism that the tide is starting to turn,” she said.

Source: EADT24

5m Editor