Agricultural co-operatives and farming organisations from across Europe are worried about the state of the agricultural sector, which, they believe, is in a critical state. Copa-Cogeca, a body that represents European farmers and agri-co-operatives, is urging the EU Commission to step up efforts to re-open the Russian market to EU agricultural exports.
Speaking after a meeting with the Dutch Presidency, Copa vice-president Henri Brichard said: “Pork prices are less than they were 11 years ago and milk prices over 40% below last years’ levels. This is unacceptable. A priority for the EU must be to re-open this market. Member states also need to ensure that aid from the package agreed last September is paid out as little has reached farmers until now. Some farmers have also still not received the full amount of direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy and have to fill the next form for 2016.”
In a separate statement, Cogeca president Thomas Magnusson said that the European Investment Bank needed to start delivering to develop the right financial instruments to help farmers invest in their businesses and improve competitiveness. “Agri-co-operatives can help farmers get a better price for their produce and can assist them on new innovative techniques but they need the support to ensure this. Immediate solutions from the EU must be found to tackle this unprecedented crisis, which has been hitting farmers and agri-co-operatives for years. They are vital not only to solve hunger and malnutrition but also to maintain attractive rural areas and biodiversity,” he said.