Copa-Cogeca, the European farmers federation, warned of a new EU Commission report on medium-term prospects for agricultural markets which shows a sharp decline in EU market shares in the meat sector, partly as a result of costly EU regulations.
Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said, the Commission’s latest report on medium-term prospects for agricultural markets revealed that the EU will lose market shares and competitiveness by 2020, due to a strengthening of the euro and costly EU regulations. Meat exports would decline even further by almost 23% by 2020. Whilst imports, which do not have to meet the same high standards as those in the EU, are predicted to increase by as much as 14%.
In particular, meat imports will rise from the Latin American Trade bloc Mercosur which uses growth promoters in its production which are not used in the EU and has poor animal traceability. The report also warns that EU output will remain under its full potential in all sectors as farmers will continue to be squeezed by high production costs which will limit the profitability of production. This was totally unacceptable, Pekka Pesonen went on.
The EU agriculture sector played a vital role in providing jobs in rural areas, with an estimated one in six jobs dependent upon agricultural production in the EU, Pesonen added. But production was falling sharply in many sectors, especially the meat sector, and employment had declined by as much as 25% between 2000 and 2009, Pesonen said.
The Copa-Cogeca Secretary demanded, that greater weight should be put under the CAP to strengthening the economic production role of EU farmers, in a way that maintains employment and the economic viability of rural areas. Costs could not be raised further or EU farmers would lose more and more market shares. A competitive agri-food sector was crucial in the future to ensure food security and to meet the projected doubling in world food demand, Pesonen concluded.