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Call for Better Market Management

26 September 2012, at 8:55am

EU - Copa-Cogeca has called on EU Farm Ministers to step up EU measures to manage the market under the future Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), in order to ensure a balanced market situation for agriculture commodities. In a high-level meeting with new President-in-Office Mr Sofoclis, Cypriot Farm Minister, Copa-Cogeca also warned against the EU Commission proposals on the review of Less Favoured Areas (LFAs).

The move came as Ministers discussed the EU Commission proposals on the future CAP in Brussels. Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen insisted: “Farmers are being confronted with more and more challenges and are being hit hard by high p0roduction costs. It is vital that market management measures enable producers to cope during periods of low market prices and/or rapid increases in costs.

"Copa-Cogeca calls for safety nets and measures to manage the market to be reinforced and updated under the Commission proposals. For example, the EU intervention price for butter and skimmed milk powder and the reference price for activating private storage aid for olive oil must be updated to take account of the higher production costs farmers face.”

He continued: “EU markets are also becoming increasingly linked to the world market rather than to the period of EU production. That is why Copa-Cogeca is calling for the intervention period for milk to be extended all year round and for private storage aid to be extended to products like cheese, hemp, hops, dried fodder. In the wine sector, planting rights must be kept to ensure a balanced wine market. This has been supported already by 15 Member States and MEPs.”

Mr Pesonen also shared Ministers concerns about the difficult dairy market situation in many member states, and called for action to be taken. EU Commission Plans to impose a limit on the use of crop-based biofuels also put at risk EU protein crop production for feed to animals. This is because only part of the oilseed, cereals and sugar beet crop used to produce biofuels are actually converted into energy. The majority stays in the feed sector, with protein-rich by-products from biofuel production helping the EU to reduce its heavy dependence on imported animal feed.

He went on to express his major concerns about the review of Less Favoured Areas (LFA) whereby much of the previous LFAs would lose their status and others would gain.

“We hope Ministers and MEPs will agree on a delimitation of LFAs which is comprehensible and takes in account the real difficulties in land management”, Mr Pesonen said.

Copa-Cogeca nevertheless welcomes many aspects of EU Commission proposals on Rural Development Policy under the future CAP. But Copa-Cogeca called for a new specific measure to allow green growth in order to ensure both environmental and productivity gains. Copa and Cogeca Presidents approved a new position paper on this on Friday, setting out detailed measures to ensure green growth in the future: measures which benefit the environment at the same time as maintaining production capacity, efficiency and employment. Copa-Cogeca argues that the Commission proposal will not achieve this.