Last month, the European Commission published statistical and economic information on agriculture in the European Union (EU) for 20111.
The first observation made by the Commission is that of a 3.7% increase in farm incomes in 2011, due to an increase in both production volume and prices.
This positive development should however not obscure the significant challenges facing European farmers.
First, this increase in revenues is far from being homogeneous within the EU. Eight countries, including France, have seen their farmers’ average annual income decrease between 2010 and 2011. Moreover, producer incomes varied considerably from one farm to another. Therefore, in France for example, the average annual income2 of milk producers reached 30 000 Euros in 2011, while that of beef producers did not exceed 14 000 Euros, less than 90% of the annual minimum wage.
Next, the overall increase in farm incomes in the EU should not lead us to forget that they are extremely volatile: in 2009 they dropped by 13% at the European level and by over 40% in France.
As we have already stated3, this high instability in farm incomes is extremely worrying. The key players in our food security are seeing their incomes vary considerably from one year to the next, or even, for certain products or certain years, fall below the minimum wage. Under these conditions how can they continue to invest in order to maintain their competitiveness?
Therefore, as part of the ongoing reform of the CAP, it is essential to reflect on the implementation of effective mechanisms to reduce the excessive volatility of agricultural prices and thus stabilize farmers’ incomes.
Momagri’s proposal “Another CAP is possible,” presented at the Agricultural Show, clearly demonstrates that such a goal can be achieved, and this, without increasing budget spending for the CAP.
2 current result before taxes
3 Please see momagri’s article “For French farmers, incomes can vary by over one- third from one year to the next!”, http://momagri.fr/UK/agriculture-s-key-figures/For-French-farmers-incomes-can-vary-by-over-one-third-from-one-year-to-the-next-_1065.html