Confidence among farmers in the EU is at all-time low, according to the latest Copa & Cogeca survey of 8000 producers across 11 member states.
“Our agricultural barometer confirms that European farmers are really feeling the pressure,” said Copa & Cogeca secretary-general, Pekka Pesonen. “Producers are being squeezed by low farm gate prices and high input costs with prices for most agricultural commodities having fallen over the past year.”
Noting that there is still “no significant” price recovery in sight, he said the highly volatile marketplace, the Russian ban on EU farm exports and the collapse in oil prices had all applied a “downward pressure” to commodity prices. At the same time, the unpredictability of Chinese demand was leading to further volatility, leaving farmers to remain pessimistic about both their short-term and long-term prospects.
Farmers in nine of the member states covered during the survey (Belgium – Flanders, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom) registered a decline in confidence. In addition to pricing issues, farmers in these countries voiced concerns about the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy, while also complaining that red tape was causing “many difficulties”.
Only in the other two member states (Denmark and Sweden) were producers “more optimistic” about the current and future situation.
“I consequently urge the European Commission (EC) and EU Farm Ministers to take action when they meet at the end of June,” said Mr Pesonen. “Additional support is crucial and new markets for our quality produce must be found.”
He also challenged negotiators to find ways to establish normal political and trading relations with Russia when EC president Juncker and Russian president Putin meet at the St Petersburg economic forum, which is taking place this week (June 16-18).
The survey, which was carried out in the first quarter of 2016, is a twice-a-year regular from Copa & Cogeca.