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Crisis as farm earnings crash

by 5m Editor
17 April 2007, at 10:10am

UK - A huge drop in farm incomes during 2006 is revealed in the first estimates for the year from the National Assembly Government.

Welsh aggregate agricultural output and income figures for the year, published on the Welsh Assembly Government website, shows total income from Welsh farming fell by around £44m - 29% - down to £107.9m compared with £152.1m in 2005.

The figures contradict those published by Defra in January that showed a 7% rise in incomes across the UK as a whole.

Farm union leaders said the figures spelled out the depth of the crisis in the industry.

NFU Cymru president Dai Davies said total income from farming in Wales in 2006 was 11% lower than five years ago.

'This state of affairs where costs are escalating and market returns are failing to keep pace simply cannot continue,' he said.

And Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan called for 'social responsibility' from politicians and supermarkets 'before the damage being done to our rural communities and our food industry becomes irreversible'.

The alarming crash in incomes occurred as gross output fell by 2%, mainly because of reductions in the dairy, sheep and poultry sectors.

The value of milk and dairy products fell by £23.9m to £266.7m, fat sheep and lamb dropped by £8.3m to £180.3m and poultry by £7m to £47m. There were also reductions in the value of eggs - down £2.5m to £18.3m - and clip wool, which is now worth only £4.6m.

Source: Icwales.co.uk

5m Editor