Calls for intervention as cereal prices plummet
EUROPEAN farming leaders have called on the European Commission to take drastic action to halt the decline in cereal prices following a 54 per cent drop in prices over the past year.
Farmers’ organisation Copa-Cogeca warned farmers and growers were being put in an ‘untenable economic situation’ as a result of the increasingly volatile cereals market.
Speaking in Brussels today (Friday, December 11) Paul Temple, chairman of the Copa-Cogeca working group on cereals said: “The cereals sector has been hit hard by the economic crisis, with a sharp drop in grain demand seen.
“EU cereal exports are lower than in the past year. Wheat prices have declined by as much as 54 per cent over the period January 2008 to November 2009. Whilst costs of production are rising significantly and access to credit is becoming an issue.
“Food security has become a priority and yet as farmers we rely on production failures to provide an economic return. This puts EU grain farmers in an untenable economical situation.”
He warned with a 5 per cent drop in the EU planting area this year, prices were likely to shoot up with potentially ‘catastrophic’ consequences for livestock farmers.
He said: “The extreme price volatility on the cereals market poses a major problem for EU grain producers and threatens the competitivity of the EU livestock sector.
“The functioning of the food chain must consequently be improved, and provide an economic return. Global reserves relative to consumption are still low and a fall in production increases the EU’s exposure to any kind of weather event or natural disaster.”